Lecture by Catie Newell

AAC Lecture Series | Catie Newell, "Surface Tension", 19 November 2014.

As cities are strained, once familiar settings become anomalies or strangers to their original intentions; the city’s raw material acquires unfamiliar attributes, occupations and associations that set the stage for questionable legal, cultural and environmental interpretations. This situation brings both opportunity and urgency.

The work of *Alibi Studio embraces this context, choosing to expose and linger in the obscured, unbelievable city. The work highlights an array of contemporary urban circumstances, ranging from spatial and legal definitions to material culture using physical and illumined interventions that act as a form of communication that amplifies and agitates a context. This form of material practices collapses physical intervention with the city itself giving architecture a stake within the daunting hurtles affecting our built and lived environments.

Catie Newell is the founding principal of *Alibi Studio, Detroit, and assistant professor of architecture at the University of Michigan. She has a Masters of Architecture from Rice University and a Bachelor of Science from Georgia Tech. In 2006 she won the SOM Prize for Architecture, Design and Urban Design with her project Weather Permitting.

Before joining the University of Michigan as the Oberdick Fellow in 2009, Newell was a project designer at Office dA in Boston. Her work and research capture spaces and material effects, focusing on the development of atmospheres through the exploration of textures, volumes, and the effects of light or lack thereof. The work often reconfigures existing domestic spaces.

Newell’s creative practice has been widely recognized for exploring design construction and materiality in relationship to location and geography, and cultural contingencies. Newell won the 2011 ArtPrize Best Use of Urban Space Juried Award and the 2011 Architectural League Prize for Young Architects and Designers. She recently exhibited at the 2012 Architecture Venice Biennale.

Newell’s lecture is part of “Spatial Geographies: Surface Practices,” the Fall 2014 ISU Architecture Advisory Council Lecture Series. The Iowa State University Department of Architecture is celebrating its centennial in 2014.