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Origins and Influences: Traditional Japanese Art as a Means Toward Organic Architecture

Speaker: Kevin Nute, professor of architecture at the University of Oregon.

From the opening of the twentieth century through to the present day, the relationship between the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and the traditional architecture of Japan has been a recurring source of discussion, and no little puzzlement. One of the principal factors in maintaining this interest has been the fact that whilst Wright freely acknowledged an important philosophical debt to Japanese art, and to the wood block print in particular, he consistently rejected suggestions that Japanese architecture had any direct impact on his work. Wright maintained that he found in Japanese culture not the inspiration which many suspected, but merely confirmation of many of his own ‘organic’ design principles. In his lecture, Kevin Nute examines Wright's interest in traditional Japanese pictorial art in the context of his philosophy of 'organic' architecture, and how the former contributed directly to its formal expression.

Kevin Nute is a professor of architecture at the University of Oregon. He earned his doctorate at the Martin Centre for Architectural and Urban Studies at Cambridge University. His thesis was published as Frank Lloyd Wright and Japan (Van Nostrand, 1993) and received the 1994 International Architectural Monograph Award from the American Institute of Architects.

Professor Nute taught part-time at Cambridge until 1995, when he accepted a Japan Foundation Research Fellowship at the University of Tokyo. In 1996 he was appointed associate professor of architecture at another Japanese national university, where he directed a research laboratory for five years before joining the University of Oregon in October 2000.

His research focuses on visual qualities of built environments that resonate directly with building users. He is the author of Place, Time and Being in Japanese Architecture (Routledge, 2004), and is about to publish his first electronic book, Vital: Using the Sun, Wind and Rain to Bring Buildings and Sustainability to Life, which illustrates how the natural movements of the weather can be harnessed to improve the habitability of indoor spaces and increase the visibility of sustainable practices in buildings.

Date: 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Time: 

6 pm

Location: 

Pritzker Auditorium (Monroe Building), 104 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603

Admission: 

Free, reservations required