Renowned Architect Juhani Pallasmaa and Neuroscientist Michael A. Arbib of USC on “Hand and Symbol: A Dialogue Between Architecture and the Science of the Brain”

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Discussion to be held Feb. 19, 2014 at San Diego’s NewSchool of Architecture and Design in collaboration with Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture.

NewSchool of Architecture and Design will host a discussion Feb. 19 between Finnish Architect Juhani Pallasmaa and distinguished Neuroscientist Michael A. Arbib of the University of Southern California on “Hand and Symbol: A Dialogue Between Architecture and the Science of the Brain.” The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. at the NSAD auditorium, 1249 F Street in San Diego. This discussion continues their earlier encounters at the symposia on “Minding Design” (Taliesin West, November 2012) and "Architecture and Neuroscience” (Helsinki, June, 2013). The event, organized in collaboration with the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture, will be moderated by Eduardo Macagno, a professor with a specialty in neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Seating priority provided for members of NSAD community and registered guests:

Juhani Pallasmaa is a world-renowned Finnish architect, educator and critic, and the 1999 recipient of the International Union of Architects’ Jean Tschumi Prize for architectural criticism. Pallasmaa has written and lectured extensively throughout the world for more than 40 years on architecture and the visual arts, on environmental psychology, and on cultural philosophy. Since 2008, he has served on the jury for the Pritzker Prize for Architecture. Pallasmaa, whose titles include Architect SAFA, Hon. FAIA, Int FRIBA, Professor Emeritus, was dean and professor of architecture at the School of Architecture, Helsinki University of Technology from 1991-98. He has held visiting chairs of architecture at many institutions in the Americas and Europe, most recently at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture in Taliesin West and at the American Academy in Rome. Pallasmaa is the author and editor of numerous books, including The Eyes of the Skin (1996), which has become a standard text in studios and seminars around the world.

Michael A. Arbib of University of Southern California is Fletcher Jones Professor of Computer Science; Professor of Neuroscience; and Director of the USC Brain Project at USC. Prof. Arbib’s primary research focus is on the coordination of perception and action. This is tackled at two levels: via schema theory, which is applicable both in top-down analyses of brain function and human cognition as well as in studies of machine vision and robotics; and through the detailed analysis of neural networks, working closely with the experimental findings of neuroscientists on humans and monkeys. A new interest is working with architects to better understand the neuroscience of the architectural experience and to develop a new field of neuromorphic architecture, “brains for buildings.” His most recent books are "How the Brain Got Language" (Oxford, 2012) and "Language, Music and the Brain: A Mysterious Relationship" (MIT, 2013).

Moderator Eduardo Macagno is a UCSD Professor in the Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, with a specialty in Neuroscience. After many years on the faculty of Columbia University, he moved to UCSD in 2001 as Founding Dean of the Division of Biological Sciences. He has published over one hundred peer-reviewed research papers and also made contributions as Editor of Developmental Neurobiology and president of the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture, in addition to serving on review committees for the NSF, the NIH, the Life Sciences Research Foundation and the W. M. Keck Foundation.

The event is the latest collaboration between NSAD and the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture, which has long-standing ties to NSAD. One of the Academy’s founders is NSAD Professor and Dean Emeritus Gilbert Cooke. Cooke, who serves on the group’s Board of Directors, teaches classes at NSAD and UCSD with Macagno on the topic of neuroscience and architecture. Professors Arbib and Macagno also both serve on the Board of Directors of the Academy.

This discussion precedes a 6 p.m. lecture at NSAD by Pallasmaa that is also free and open to the public: "Landscapes of Architectural Education: Architecture, Knowledge and Existential Wisdom.” To register for that event, also taking place Feb. 19:

About NewSchool of Architecture and Design
Located in downtown San Diego, NewSchool of Architecture and Design (NSAD) prepares students for career success in design fields through an emphasis on interdisciplinary and global design skills, industry collaborations and real-world projects. The school’s programs include architecture, construction management, product design and interior design. The school also offers programs in digital media arts, game art, game programming and animation. For the past two years, DesignIntelligence has ranked NSAD among the top 10 undergraduate architecture schools in the western United States in its publication “America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools.” The school’s design environment provides inspiration for the school’s students and faculty, recognized for their work regionally and internationally, and NSAD students are prepared to work in a global and diverse work environment through the school’s collaborations with award-winning schools around the world such as Domus Academy in Milan, Italy and Media Design School in Auckland, New Zealand. NSAD is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), a national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, and NSAD’s Bachelor of Architecture, Master of Architecture and Executive Master of Architecture programs are accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).

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