Visiting Scholar Seminar: Tamar Zinguer

The Degree Zero of Architecture
Seminar, in English, Shaughnessy House, 10 July 2014, 6PM

Visiting Scholar Tamar Zinguer presents her research:

When, in 1953, Roland Barthes wrote his first book Le degré zéro de l’écriture (Writing Degree Zero), he intended to show that if writing were dispossessed of any meaning outside itself, it could become radical and revolutionary. As the expression gained currency, “degree zero” was employed in architectural criticism. Reyner Banham spoke of “degree zero” as the “null value” condition of architecture that he saw in the bare industrial buildings of Albert Kahn, while Ignasi de Solà-Morales spoke of the rarified minimalism of Mies’ spaces as the “degree zero” of architectural form.

In Landscape and the Zero Degree of Architectural Language (1997) Bruno Zevi announced that a new “zero degree” in architectural language has arrived and was manifest in values of disorder and imperfection that had been constantly censured in design, ever since the edifices left by the Nuragic civilization in Sardinia three thousand years earlier. Those thousands truncated cones (nuraghi) dotting the land best exemplified an a-stylistic order, lacking refinement—a “degree zero” in landscape planning.

Tamar Zinguer is Associate Professor at the Cooper Union in New York City. She holds a professional degree in architecture from The Cooper Union in 1989, a master’s in architecture from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology in 1998, and a doctorate from Princeton University School of Architecture in 2006. Zinguer has practiced architecture in Israel and the United States, and has taught design, as well as history and theory seminars in architecture schools since 1994.

Tamar Zinguer was a Visiting Scholar at the CCA in 2014.


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