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Library to begin nine-part lecture series on architects

A lectures series on architectural masters kicks off Tuesday with historian Leon Satkowski’s look at the villas of 16th century Italian architect Andrea Palladio. The nine lectures at the Minneapolis Central Library, which run on Tuesday nights through April, offer a rare chance to hear University of Minnesota architecture professors share their expertise.  All lectures are free.

The topics range from Sinan, classical Turkey’s greatest architect, to Frank Gehry, designer of the U’s Weisman Art Museum, among others; from architecture photographer Balthazar Korab’s work to St. Paul architect Cass Gilbert’s seminal designs for cities in the West.

Leslie Van Duzer, who organized the “Working through Architecture” series with colleagues John Comazzi and Ozayr Saloojee, said the series is based on a similar one she helped organize at the Phoenix Central Library.

“Its success in bringing the community and the faculty together far exceeded our expectations,” she said. “And Minneapolis is a much more design-oriented community than Phoenix.”

Rachel Fulkerson, head of the Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library, which is co-sponsoring the series, said they were thrilled to bring the U faculty to the new library. In the past the group has sponsored the Skyline series of talks about upcoming projects in downtown Minneapolis. And the Walker Art Center held the Summer Design Series, but there’s been a dearth of architecture events in recent years.

The lectures run from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall. No registration is necessary. For more information contact the Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library at 612-630-6174 or go here.

Here is the lineup:

Feb. 5: “Andrea Palladio: Architecture and Agritecture.” Professor Leon Satkowski looks at the Italian master’s villas as working farms.

Feb. 19: “Sinan: Tradition in Transformation.” Assistant professor Ozayr Saloojee reviews the work of the prolific 16th century court architect known as the Turkish Michelangelo.

Feb. 26: “Cass Gilbert: Re-imagining the Western Landscape.” Associate professor Kate Solomonson discusses the buildings in the West designed by the architect of the Minnesota State Capitol.

March 4: “Adolf Loss: Readymade.” Associate professor Leslie Van Duzer looks at the enduring work of the Viennese architect famous for his statement that “Ornament is crime.”

March 11: “Balthazar Korab: Architect of Photography.” Assistant professor John Comazzi reviews the work of one of the most important 20th century architectural photographers.

March 25: “Lucien Kroll: Architecture of Empowerment and Ecology.” Professor Julia Robinson reveals how the Belgian architect works with communities to design buildings that meet their needs and reflect their aesthetic desires.

April 1: “Peter Zumthor: Architecture of Being, Building and Dwelling.” Associate professor Gunter Dittmar introduces the philosophically inspired work of the contemporary Swiss architect.

April 8: “Frank Gehry: Modern or Medieval Master?” Associate professor Renee Cheng dissects Gehry’s technological innovations and links them to techniques used by the Gothic master builders.

April 15: “Ralph Rapson: the Playful Modernist.” Thomas Fisher, dean of the College of Design, reviews the work of the architect of the original Guthrie Theater who is truly the dean of Minnesota modernism.

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