Sima’s Emerging Manifesto

Sima's emerging vision.

Sima’s teaching philosophy, drawn from the Bauhaus.

Sima Rouholamin delivered an energetic, thoughtful, and inspirational lecture at the DIT School of Architecture last night.  One of the culminating speakers for this semester’s Schools of Thought lecture series, Sima discussed her dissertation work. A facet of her literature review involves the Bauhaus — a natal fit with the theme of the lecture series (Schools of Thought).

Sima brings such energy and vibrancy to everything she does. She’s so very engaged and engaging.

Alongside her dissertation, she’s developing a vision for what DIT’s School of Architecture is and what it can become. Last night’s event provided a way for her to get some feedback on that vision from the community here, and that community replied with keen interest and resounding support.

Regarding the Bauhaus, Sima discussed the emphasis on making and craft — and the connection between play and design. She’ll soon be conducting phenomenographical interview designed to identify the various different ways architects conceptualize design. I hope to help her collect data for the study this spring.

Brushes with Great Museums

Meeting with Brian Bowe and Gavin Duffy at the Beatty Library’s cafe.

The cafe at the Chester Beatty Library serves up a fine selection of Middle Eastern, North African, Mediterranean, and vegetarian entrees and gluten-free desserts.  We met there for lunch Tuesday since it’s halfway between Gavin’s base on Kevin Street and ours on Bolton Street.

Mom and her neighbors (Tim and Mary) spoke highly of this “Silk Road Cafe.”  The Dean had heard its praises sung as well.  Unfortunately, he was called to a more urgent meeting and couldn’t join us after all.

The Beatty Library’s sun-filled, glass-covered courtyard was a lovely setting for our discussion of student-centered learning, research, and publication strategy.

Shockingly, neither of my colleague had ever been to this incredible museum before!  Yet it houses one of the world’s most astounding collections of religious artifacts.  It represents all the world’s major religions and was donated by the American collector Chester Beatty.  And, amazingly, admission is completely free! (Lunch, however, is not.)

Although I didn’t get Gavin and Brian into the actual exhibit halls, at least they got to experience the covered courtyard and the stunning “Castle garden.” It’s surrounded by a high wall and feels very much like a secret garden. During my childhood, I dearly loved the book The Secret Garden.

Castel Garden, behind Dublin Castle. (Photo borrowed from W&L travel log.)

A few hours after our lunch, I had another brush with great museums when Seán Rainbird lectured at the DIT School of Architecture.  He’s the new director of the National Gallery of Ireland. He has also worked at the Tate in London and the Stattsgallerie in Stuttgart (designed by James Stirling’s office).

Seán Rainbird talked about Joseph Beuys’ fascination with all things Celtic when he spoke at the DIT School of Architecture.

Can you imaging that I delivered a lecture in the same “Schools of Thought” lecture series with such an accomplished person?  Wow!

Seán talked about Joseph Beuys and the Celtic World, the topic of a book he wrote.  He said he had just three weeks to write it!  Can you imagine being so knowledgeable about a topic that you could produce a press-worthy document in just three weeks?  Truly amazing.

They say everyone wants to “be like Mike.”  I’d rather “be like Seán” myself!

Jettisoned into Architecture

View eastward on the Liffey, looking toward the Ha’penny Bridge. Taken walking to my 10 am meeting….

Everything started peacefully enough.  I arrived to my research meeting with a few minutes to spare and stopped in to see the church ruins located beside my office in the electrical engineering department.  Up until now, I’ve been working almost exclusively with engineers here at the DIT.  During this morning’s meeting with an engineer and a physicist, Sima called and asked me to lunch….

And then, quite suddenly, everything sprang forward into warped speed. The day melted into a slew of events and activity — lunch with Sima at the Hungarian place, rapid discussion of construction and philosophy with newfound colleagues, a new place to work (a second office, located in the architecture building).  I got slurped into the excitement of it all.
I wound up, midday, at the opening meeting of the whole School of Architecture at the Dublin Institute of Technology.  I was formally introduced at the very first all-school meeting they have ever held!  I asked them to wave “hi” to you, which caught them completely off guard.

This School is part of the College of Engineering and the Built Environment. It offers degrees in architecture, architecture technology, and construction.  It has, in Architecture alone, 457 students.  That’s huge.  And there are another 200+ architecture students at the nearby University College Dublin.

View towards Four Courts (the round dome to the right), which is Ireland’s version of the US Supreme Court.

This School just got its own newly renovated building (mostly complete), called Linenhall. They are using all of this as an opportunity to redefine themselves.

My office in the electrical engineering department is just north of the church. The building is referred to as “Church Street” and now I know why! The desk man at Ireland’s Higher Education Administration (HEA) office, where the Fulbright staff work, told me to look for the church in the park….

As such, they are discussing issues of social relevance, identity of the building professions, and the purpose of education. So, I ended up attending a lecture tonight that was part of their “Schools of Thought” lecture series on “critical practices.”
The speaker, from the arts program at DIT, shared a global perspective on trends in education and knowledge-making world-wide. It’s so interesting to look at the events of the world from a perspective where Ireland is at the center, and we’re looking over at the US, observing what is going on there, and comparing that to other places in the world.  I’m so used to looking “out” at the world from a point of view centered in the USA.  It was fascinating and I’ll definitely be back for next week’s lecture.
I came home, finally spun up the juicer, and reflected on the day’s events.
It feels great to be alive!  And, my mom arrives in the morning!

The DIT School of Architecture says “Hi!”