KENT KLEINMAN: As I mentioned yesterday, this is surely the largest gathering of Cornell students, faculty, alums, and guests in the history of the college, and therefore, I think, in the history of history. And it's wonderful to have you here. It's a great, great pleasure.
Yesterday, I had the chance to thank some of my predecessors and the major donors who made this building possible last night. Since the day session is dedicated to the making of the actual building itself, I want to start off by thanking some of the people, a small number of the many people who actually helped make this building a reality. First and foremost, absolutely essential to the realization of this project was the college's advisory council. The council is a group of dedicated alums who banded together many times in common cause to advocate and to support this often controversial project. I want to ask the members of the AAP advisory council, past and present, if they would please stand so we could give them a round of applause.
The council was deep in the trenches, but even deeper in other trenches were contractors, project managers, sanity providers, and others who definitely deserve your recognition and have my thanks. Let me name just a small number of the many of them. Project manager Gary Wilhelm from Cornell-- AAP's eyes and ears, John McCowen-- the project foreman from Welliver, Spike Fisk, who I don't think is here today, which is probably just as well.
Also not here today-- he avoids me recently. Also not here today, but definitely deserving of recognition is Jim Bash of Kendall/Heaton Associates. These were the architects of record. And from OMA I especially want to recognize project architect Ziad Shehab from OMA, sitting in the front. Uncompromising standards and a very, very nice way of saying no to the dean.
Let me just give you a few logistical notes before I go into the body of the introduction. First, on the seating logistics of the auditorium, we have tickets for the events, and according to the numbers and the number of tickets, this will be a sold out day each and every session. If you hold a ticket to an event, we would ask that you take your seat about five minutes before the scheduled time of the beginning. If there are empty seats at that point, we'll simply open up the floodgates and let alums have a seat so they can be part of the auditorium space itself. So if you have a ticket for an event, please take your seat about five minutes before the actual event.
Another few notes of logistics. After this session is a lunch. There will be boxed lunches for what we believe is about 750 individuals. Half of them will be here in the dome of Milstein Hall. The other half will be up in the dome of Sibley Hall. You can eat pretty much where you like. I ask you to be careful about the studio space, the work that's in progress-- please try to keep food out of there. And there's no food in the auditorium and drink, as well. So anywhere else is pretty much fair game, and you'll know those places. And I would add the Green Dragon is one of them. You might want to have lunch there.
Also on the logistical notes I want to say that the session after lunch starts at 1:00 PM, and we'll try to start promptly. The session after that is 3:00 PM. Again, we'll try to start promptly. And a slight change to the program-- the performance of Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time in Rand Hall first floor is now 5:00 to 8:00 PM tonight. So you have three hours to catch their performance. The performance-- and I'll say this again this afternoon. It's an ongoing piece. You can come and go as you wish, so there's no need to be there at 5:00 and leave at 8:00 if you're imagining sitting for three hours. And it's wonderful. You have to see it.
And then last on the logistical notes, remember, the people with red badges are staff. They actually know what they're talking about. Everybody else may be faculty. So if you have a question, I recommend that you find the staff.
And now I want to take just a few minutes for this session and for the ones this afternoon to do the same to just talk very briefly about some of the initiatives that we're undertaking in the college generally to give you a larger picture of what's going on here. Since this morning, we are focused on the physical plant. I will say a few words about not just the new building, but I really want to say some words about the old one.
Let me highlight three ongoing projects. Most obvious to those of you who have looked around this morning is that we have relocated the Fine Arts Library. It used to be on the second and third floor of Sibley and under the Sibley Dome. The old Fine Arts Library was not that dissimilar to the old Berlin Wall, which was very successful in keeping east from west. In our case, those were the planners and the architects. And we actually managed to keep the artists away from everybody entirely.
Like the Berlin Wall, we have moved the Fine Arts Library, but we have not taken it away. The Fine Arts Library of the immediate future will be on two floors of Rand Hall, which is an actually much better building for that kind of load. We now have one floor on the third floor. That's provisional. Eventually we'll be able to have all 275,000 volumes in circulation available to students and faculty on two floors of Rand Hall.
When that's done, and even now, you can now promenade from the far west side of Sibley all the way to the far east side of Rand on the second floor without engaging the snow. You may also notice that the entire first floor of Rand Hall has been abated and gutted and is being prepared for a future shop expansion. That expansion will be about five-- no, it's going to be four times the size of the old shop. The precise program is not known. It is still under development, but I'd like you to imagine that in the future the shop will be not just a fabrication place, but also a place for our faculty and students to conduct material research. With some luck, both in funding and programming, we will start that project this summer.
Lastly, if you are wondering what happened to the faculty architecture offices, they still exist, but no longer on the first floor of Rand. They are now in East Sibley, and they will remain in East Sibley second and third floors into the future. There will be a combination of offices and studios on Sibley East 2 and Sibley East 3. That third floor project will commence this summer. We have plans and approvals in place. So if you come back in the fall, you will see wonderful studios on the third floor under the skylights of East Sibley Hall.
We are taking these adjustments of our space in large part because this building has changed the relational logic of our campus. It has done this in ways that I believe a standalone building would never have done. As I mentioned yesterday, Milstein is a transformative structure in both academic and architectural ways, and I mean this along many dimensions and particularly in the sense that it has clarified for us as an institution how we should be best organized not just now, but in the immediate future to serve our academic mission.
This morning, we are in great company and have three of the creative minds that made this transformative building possible. I will introduce the panelists to you shortly, but before that, I have something of a surprise. I have the pleasure of welcoming a special guest whose opinions on contemporary architecture and art have, if I may say it this way, some measure of consequence in the world of public architecture-- Lord Peter Palumbo.
Lord Palumbo is perhaps best known to you either as the former landlord of a small glass house by Mies or as the longest serving chair of the Pritzker Prize in architecture. Under Lord Palumbo's stewardship, the Farnsworth House survived and thrived, and under his chairmanship, the Pritzker Prize has become a global mark of architectural excellence, as witnessed by the bold choice of the most recent honoree, the architect Wang Shu.
Lord Palumbo is an indispensable patron and spokesman for the arts and architecture, he has graciously agreed to open this session with a few remarks. Lord Palumbo, please take the podium.
LORD PETER PALUMBO: Wow. Your wonderful dean is full of surprises. A very pleasant one for me, and I hope not too painful a one for you, but I shan't be long. He's asked me to speak about the place of Architecture in society, and when he asked me to do this, of course I said it would be a great pleasure, and an honor, and a privilege in this wonderful new building, but it also brought to mind Frank Lloyd Wright and the dark and rather terrifying days of the Second World War. If you've heard this story, please forgive me, but if you haven't, you might be interested in it.
In 1941, when in Britain we were fighting literally for survival, the Royal Institute of British Architects, RIBA, the R-I-B-A, convened to choose their annual gold medalist, and they chose Frank Lloyd Wright. And this news was relayed to him in Wisconsin. And he was so moved by the fact that a country at war and in terrible danger could still find time to attend to its cultural heritage that he decided to come to London and receive the medal from the president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, which is given on the authority of the queen-- in this case, the king.
And so he made the hazardous journey to London, and it was very hazardous. I mean, a lot of people didn't survive it. There were u-boats in the Atlantic and so on, but he finally got to London, and, of course, news of his arrival in London preceded him by several weeks. And everybody wanted a piece of him. He was going to give a lecture for 60 minutes at the Royal Institute of British Architects, and that was his, and the subject was a place of architecture in society-- the same thing as your dean has asked me to speak about this morning.
And the architectural association wrote to him and asked him whether during his time in London he would speak to them, as well, and he agreed to do that. So he had the royal gold medal ceremony, which went extremely well. And that evening he repaired to the Architectural Association, which is one of our premier schools of architecture, and the place had filled up for hours beforehand. The excitement-- I've spoken to one or two people who were there. The excitement was electric.
Here was the greatest architect in the world coming to London at a very difficult time. The windows were all blacked out so that the German bombers wouldn't see a target, and they were quite convinced, the audience, that what they were going to hear was the gospel-- the true gospel of architecture. And the moment arrived. The diminutive figure was walked down the aisle, cape flying, towards the podium. He reached the podium. The applause was enormous-- cheering, clapping, shouting, yelling.
And he reached the podium, and he put his hands on either side of the podium, and this was going to be the greatest lecture of all time for the people there. And he said, well, boys, what do you want to hear?
That was all he said.
So it turned into a question and answer session, and very wonderful, apparently, it was, too. Well, now, from 1941 to 2012 and this wonderful Milstein Hall, which I've heard so much about, and which we've all heard so much about-- to be here is such a pleasure and such a treat, and it's place, of course, is already secured in the architectural pantheon of fame. I don't think I need to say very much about it. It ticks all the boxes effortlessly.
It also, I think, directs the spirit of architecture-- expresses it and directs it, which is very important. I mean, it's beautiful. It's functional. It's wonderfully well-made, and it sends the sort of signals not just through the United States, but way, way further afield to all four corners of the world. This is going to be a very, very celebrated building, and those beeps, those messages, those signals are already on their way.
I think Stewart Brand got it right when he said, laying down the principles of architecture, and town planning, and urban development, you don't ever finish a building. You start it. And I think that what Rem has given to the university is a building-- it's not it's not an imposition. It's not been imposed on anybody, as I see it. It is rather an invitation to participate with him as the users of this building and through him to the building itself. So you have a conversation with the architect, and through the architect with the building.
And so the stakeholders are the users. So many buildings, I find, have a different personality about them. They can be stern. They can be forbidding. They can be what we call po-faced. I don't know if you use that expression, but this building is a building, to me, that is joyful, and it smiles, and it's welcoming. And that is quite a rare feat nowadays. And I think that it will be-- well, it is obviously a wonderful addition to the university, and as Mr. Milstein said last night, what comes next? Let's get on with something new. Let's get on with the next stage, whatever that may be, and none of us can wait. Thank you.
We've received your request
You will be notified by email when the transcript and captions are available. The process may take up to 5 business days. Please contact email@example.com if you have any questions about this request.
From lectures by Rem Koolhaas, John Reps (M.R.P. '47), and William Forsythe to an exhibition of work by Simon Ungers (B.Arch. '80) to a party unlike any the college has thrown before, Celebrate Milstein Hall energized the AAP community as 500 alumni and guests reconnected with 300 faculty, students, and staff for an exhilarating weekend.