Elia Zhengelis Masterclass in Architecture

Elia Zenghelis, a cofounder of the Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and current principal of Gigantes Zinghelis Architects (GZA), Athens, conducted an architecture master class Jan. 20-28 and presented the Curt F. Dale Guest Lecture in Architecture Wednesday, Jan. 21, at Iowa State University.

Zenghelis shared insights into his body of work at OMA—the international partnership he cofounded in 1975 with Rem Koolhaas, Madelon Vriesendorp and Zoe Zenghelis—and at GZA, as well as his decades teaching at renowned institutions including the Architectural Association, London.

Zenghelis, considered one of the most influential leaders in the transformation of architectural education in the last half-century, devoted much of his Iowa State visit to teaching a master class for 50 third- through fifth-year undergraduate as well as graduate students in spring-semester architecture studio classes taught by associate professor Nadia Anderson, senior lecturer Peter Goche, and lecturer Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco.

The one-week, intensive workshop addressed the topic of “The Public Interior, or The Invention of the Public Condenser.” In the assignment provided by Zenghelis, students designed “a space to accommodate a model of what is referred to as ‘the body politic’—a monumental interior in which representatives of the ‘rulers’ and the ‘ruled’ confront each other and where the conflict between the public and the private is revealed: a politically unique public function, a ‘public condenser.'”

“This is a theoretical type of building that relates to Soviet Constructivism and much of the work that Zenghelis and Koolhaas developed,” said Ross Adams, an ISU assistant professor of architecture who organized Zenghelis’ visit.

Small groups composed of students from across all levels worked together to produce a set of design drawings, visualizations and/or models, displayed below.

“Elia Zenghelis is one of those rare design professionals who has, over the past 40 years, had a profound and visible influence on European architecture,” said Deborah Hauptmann, chair of the ISU architecture department. “Our students are incredibly fortunate to be able to engage intensively with such an iconic architect and educator.”

During the 1980s, Zenghelis was the partner in charge of OMA London and OMA Athens. In 1987 he established Gigantes Zenghelis Architects with Eleni Gigantes in Athens. Since 1991, they also have had a branch office in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Zenghelis is a tenured professor of architecture at the Dusseldorf Academy of Fine Arts and will be a guest professor for the fall 2015 semester at Yale University, New Haven, Conn. He previously taught at the Berlage Center for Advanced Studies in Architecture and Urban Design, Rotterdam, and the Architectural Association for 20 years, and at the Accademia di Architettura in Mendrisio, Switzerland, from 2002 to 2007. He is a professor emeritus at the University of Thessaly in Greece, which recently awarded him an honorary doctorate. He has been a visiting faculty member at numerous universities in the United States, United Kingdom, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland and Uruguay.

Zenghelis has served as an external examiner at the Bartlett School of Architecture, London; the Architectural Association; and the Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland; and seven times as juror on the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award. As an architect, he won the Mies van Der Rohe Award for his work on Checkpoint Charlie (Berlin, 1989), the first project Gigantes Zinghelis Architects produced as an office, and the Eternit Architecture Award for the same building. He has served the Greek Ministry of Culture and the Environment in numerous appointments, including as commissioner for the Greek Architecture Pavilion at the 2000 Venice Biennale.

In 2000, Zenghelis received the RIBA Annie Spink Award for Excellence in Architectual Education from the Royal Institute of British Architects, and in 2002 he was awarded the UIA Jean Tschumi Prize from the International Union of Architects for his international impact on architectural education.

The Curt F. Dale Guest Lecture in Architecture was established in 2003 in memory of 1969 Iowa State architecture alumnus Curt F. Dale, who died in a skiing accident that year. Dale’s family and his firm, Anderson Mason Dale Architects, Denver, Colo., created the endowed fund for the ISU architecture department to bring distinguished practitioners to campus as guest lecturers.