Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation has opened an outpost in Rio de Janeiro, a step in the direction of the South American global center the University has said it hopes to open.
According to a March 8 press release from the GSAPP, the outpost, Studio-X Rio, is intended to be a “global network of advanced research laboratories for exploring the future of cities.”
Called Studio-X Rio, the project was championed by GSAPP Dean Mark Wigley. In Rio de Janeiro, it will be directed by Brazilian architect Pedro Rivera, while Malwina Ły-Dobradin, the director of global network programming at GSAPP, wrote in an email that the opening events last week proceeded smoothly.
“Studio-X Rio was transformed into a platform for conversation, research and debate about future of cities that welcomed a broad cross-section of people interested in thinking about our shared urban future,” she said.
The Rio de Janeiro center joins a network of similar outposts in Mumbai, Beijing, Amman, Moscow, and New York.
According to Ły-Dobradin, “currently on exhibit are selected works from throughout the Studio-X Global Network and GSAPP studio and workshop students' projects led in Brazil by professors Keith Kaseman and Raul Correa-Smith, Galia Solomonoff, Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner, Andrew Dolkart and George Wheeler, Jorge Otero-Pailos and Craig Konyk.”
Kaseman, an associate professor at GSAPP and one of the architects behind the Pentagon Memorial, said that Studio-X will provide architects with opportunities to engage in a cultural exchange of ideas.
“We’ve been looking at Rio for a few years. We feel like it’s very serendipitous,” Kaseman said of the outpost’s launch.
GSAPP students said they are excited about the venture.
“Basically, I think it’s important for this school to integrate itself within the larger context of this field. In order to be at the cutting edge, you have to be ... [able to be] anywhere,” George Valdes, GSAPP, said, calling Studio-X a “great resource after graduation—it’s also open to alumni.”
A group of 12 GSAPP students attended the opening of Studio-X two weeks ago on the William Kinney Memorial Fellowship awarded by the school.
“The whole idea is to exchange ideas,” Michi Ushio, GSAPP and one of the 12 students to attend the opening, said of Studio-X, calling it primarily an “event space.”
Dalia Hamati, GSAPP, also went with Kaseman’s studio.
“We were initially really skeptical—there’s been a lot of chat about how it [StudioX] doesn’t affect us [students]—but we were pleasantly surprised,” she said.
Hamati remarked that the ambiguity of Studio-X is one of its defining attributes. “The whole premise ... is that they don’t know what it’ll turn into. That’s why it’s called ‘X’,” she said.