Saturday, September 28, 2013


Professor Paulo Fujioka (photo: J. Quinan)

In order to teach the history of architecture at the university level it is necessary to have a specialty and a PhD but also to be able to teach knowledgeably about the entire history of architecture as well as surveys of periods. This means that one often has to teach buildings known only through images in books, usually an elevation and a first floor plan. Consequently it is particularly exciting after five or ten or more years of teaching to finally visit one of the great monuments of architectural history. Professor Paulo Fujioka has been teaching, among other things, American architecture at the University of San Paulo, Brazil, for seven years and  finally got to tour the U.S. this month to see the work of Frank Lloyd Wright (a favorite among others) in Chicago, Wisconsin, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo. The weather here has been perfect all week. Paolo's reaction to the Darwin Martin House defies description but I enjoyed showing him the house because I have had that first-time experience often at places like the Villa Savoie, the Parthenon, the Glasgow Art School, etc. Suddenly it is there, it is real and palpable. Instead of staring at a page you can experience the building fully, with all your senses. So Paulo's visit was a vicarious thrill for me, and his Brazilian students will be so much better off for his experience. We toured  all the Wright sites and he toured downtown as well but we also had the unique pleasure of joining Sandra Firmin and Tra Bouscaren, co-curators of an exhibition entitled "My Future Ex" (17 local and international artists at eleven sites around Buffalo from Sept 17 through November 23), along with artist Kamau Patton aboard a barge on the Buffalo River where Kamau is preparing a performance "Float My Resident" that will involve numerous UB dancers and a series of sonic compositions by Kamau from signals gathered from antenna processed through a computer and routed through a sound amplification system located on the pontoon and barge. It all happens tonight from River Fest Park to Mutual Riverfront Park and Silo City starting at seven today. Meanwhile Paulo is off to New York city to do some research among Columbia University's newly acquire Frank Lloyd Wright archives.


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