Carter Manny Award

  • Alvin Boyarsky's 'Well-Laid Table': Experiments in Architectural Pedagogy
    Irene Sunwoo

Alvin Boyarsky in Chairman's Office, Architectural Association, 1983, London. Photo: Barry Lewis.

Irene Sunwoo, Princeton University, School of Architecture, is the recipient of the 2010 Carter Manny Writing Award.

Alvin Boyarsky's 'Well-Laid Table': Experiments in Architectural Pedagogy focuses on the work of the architectural educator Alvin Boyarsky (1928-1990), known primarily for his chairmanship at the Architectural Association (AA) in London (1971-1990). Tracing the development of his pedagogical theories across different media and institutions during the 1960s and 1970s, Irene Sunwoo's point of departure is Boyarsky's conceptualization of the school of architecture as a "well-laid table": a platform for the display and consumption of an array of contemporary theoretical pursuits. Implementing this model at the AA as a critical response to the professional training of modernist schools of architecture, Boyarsky's transformation of the AA into a laboratory for an international network of architects and theorists reclaimed pedagogy as a medium for architectural experiment. Demonstrating how educational reform was inextricable from avant-garde architectural production, the dissertation seeks to understand the development of a postmodern system of architectural education, locating Boyarsky and the AA as protagonists in its emergence.

Irene Sunwoo is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Princeton University School of Architecture, where she is currently completing a doctoral dissertation on the pedagogical theories and work of Alvin Boyarsky. She studied architectural history and theory at the Architectural Association (London); the history of design at the Bard Graduate Center for Decorative Arts, Design & Culture (New York); and the history of art at New York University. With colleagues at Princeton she co-curated the exhibition Clip / Stamp / Fold: The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines, 196x - 197x, launched in 2006 at Storefront for Art & Architecture in New York and which subsequently traveled to the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Architectural Association, and other international venues. She is a co-editor of Pidgin, the student-run journal of the Princeton University School of Architecture, and a co-organizer of the graduate symposium Teaching Architecture, Practicing Pedagogy (Princeton University, February 2011). Her writing has appeared in AA Files, Grey Room, The Getty Research JournalThresholds, and Domus.