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New Magazine at Columbia Thinking Inside the Box

Initially, the regions the magazine has launched in -- the United States, Europe and Asia -- will receive the same version, but region-specific editions are in the works.

The Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) has strengthened its reputation as a proving ground for fresh ideas with the launch of a new publication, Volume, a collaboration between existing magazine Archis and Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas' firm, the Office for Metropolitan Architecture.

The bimonthly publication will feature content from the Columbia Laboratory for Architectural Broadcasting, a research unit within GSAPP, and the research wing of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, known as AMO (the reverse initials of Koolhaas' firm).

What it won't feature is typical newsstand fare. "Issues" of Volume will be presented in a transparent box housing a different product each issue -- some months it will be a magazine, other months it may be a DVD or CD. The box, which is roughly the same width and height as a piece of paper, was created by Michael Rock of the design firm 2 X 4. The hope is that each issue will become a collector's item.

"The idea is that people will be subscribing to a surprise," said Mark Wigley, GSAPP dean. "Each volume will be as experimental with its design as its content."

Volume will launch this spring in the United States, Europe and Asia, with the first issue expected to land in April. The first of three launch events was held Feb. 28 at Columbia to present the concept of the publication. The second will be in The Hague to show the first issue, and the third event will be at Tsinghua University in Beijing to gauge the initial response of the architectural community.

The research units of GSAPP and AMO will provide contributions to Volume, though the publication will continue to be produced and edited in the Netherlands. It is a loose collaboration that will eventually reach out to additional partners in the academic and professional world, said Wigley.

Volume will be dedicated to experimentation and to exploring the limits of architecture in hopes of pushing it beyond its current borders.

"We want to use Volume as a way to increase the level of architectural intelligence in our community," Wigley said, adding that one aim of the publication is "to create a new network to exchange more experimental information between schools, architectural firms and design publications."

Koolhaas, whose work has been described as the search for a link between technology and humanity, said that in the transition to a global market economy there exists a "worldwide audience of enormous numbers, a greater audience than architecture has ever known."

Koolhaas believes that the sky is the limit for contemporary architects. He likens their potential to that of a supernova. "I want to explore how the current definition of the architect's office can be exploded, and why it should be exploded," said Koolhaas.

The first issue will be similar to a magazine and will feature an 80-page supplement highlighting some of Koolhaas' projects for the European Union. The theme will be how to move "beyond magazine, office and school." Eleven GSAPP faculty members, including Adjunct Associate Professor of Architecture Karl Chu, Associate Professor Michael Bell and Assistant Professor Yolande Daniels, have written short articles in the inaugural issue, each discussing their views on how the field of architecture can change and grow.

Future issues will address variations of the concept of transitioning from individual work to group projects and moving beyond politics.

To subscribe to Volume, click here. Although the subscription price is still undecided, students will be offered a special discount.

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Published: Apr 06, 2005
Last modified: Apr 06, 2005

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