Kurt Hunker, graduate architecture program chair at NewSchool of Architecture and Design presented his latest research on the critical literature of tall buildings at several events in Moscow in late March 2014. His presentation, “Programming for Spectacle: The Tall Building’s Next Phase?”, is the latest he has made to an international audience and it builds on more than ten years of his own research into the topic.
Hunker, whose speaking engagements included a presentation at the MARKHI University (Russia-Moscow Institute of Architecture), has received extensive recognition for his research, which he has presented at international conferences such as the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat international conference in London and the International Alvar Aalto Meeting on Modern Architecture in Jyväskylä Finland. His research on the topic has also been published in eVolo: “The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered: Critical Events Since 9/11.”
Hunker evaluates what has been written by architecture critics about tall buildings and their role in society. He explores how critics make connections between architecture in the new global economy and the concept of “spectacle,” or how the architecture of tall buildings reflects cultural values. In his most recent research and presentation, Hunker explores the tall building’s next phase through the concept of “spectacular programming” approaches such as vertical neighborhoods and skateboard parks that have the potential to redefine the concept of “mixed-use.”
Hunker has developed this topic for more than a decade, and at NSAD he challenges students to explore future concepts for tall buildings. NSAD student work has received outside recognition for a number of student projects that explored tall building concepts for the redevelopment of San Diego’s downtown area, as detailed in a news story by the U-T San Diego, “Here’s How Students Would Design San Diego’s Skyline”.