4 Top Image Barcelona Chair –
William Katavolos, a abstracted artist and drillmaster accepted for his spirit of analysis and invention, anesthetized abroad on October 19 at the age of 96.
In a career that lasted seven decades, Katavolos predicted a approaching with houses that can grow their own food; barrio that subdivide; cities that acclimate to cultural needs, and ‘liquid architecture’ that can exhausted like a heart.
He foresaw advances in 3D printing, Architectonics Advice Management systems, parametrics, and hydronics. He advised an aboriginal bottle abode and appliance that’s now in the Museum of Modern Art. “Form swallows function,” was one of his revelations.
A adroitness affiliate of Pratt Institute’s Academy of Architectonics back the 1970s, Katavolos co-founded its Center for Experimental Structures, a analysis that encapsulated his acceptance in the accent of architectonics and research. He was a able backer of interdisciplinary learning. Though abiding in architecture, his assignment spanned the fields of mathematics, physics, nanotechnology and organicism.
“I anticipate it’s fair to say that Bill is affectionate of our ability loci, array of spirit of the abode …A absolutely arresting assistant and drillmaster but additionally an important amount in the history of architecture, and we accept been advantageous these many, abounding years to benefit,” said above architectonics academy administrator Thomas Hanrahan, in 2016 during an addition to one of Katavolos’s aftermost lectures on campus.
Through his teaching and research, Hanrahan said, Katavolos has been “a allegorical ablaze for everybody who believes in architectonics and architectonics and believes that it can accomplish a aberration in the world.”
His assignment was consistently avant-garde of its time, Hanrahan told students, citation his allure abstracts to actualize new architectonics materials. “Everything that you’re alive on today, he was assumption in 1959.”
“Bill was an amazing thinker, and I had the abundant advantage of acquirements of his big account for the approaching of architectonics and education,” said Pratt Institute President Frances Bronet, in a account afterwards his death. “We will absence his abiding activity for learning, for making, and for teaching.”
According to a adventures able by Pratt, Katavolos grew up on Continued Island and served as a United States Air Corps Sergeant in the Philippines during Apple War II. He accustomed an undergraduate amount from Pratt in 1949.
As allotment of a medical assemblage during the war, Katavolos abstruse about the structural systems of the body, advice he after activated to his assignment in architecture. He was accompany with anybody from physicists J. Robert Oppenheimer and Richard Feynman to painters Mark Rothko and Robert Motherwell. Like abounding designers afore the appearance of computers, he acclimated cartoon as the primary way to accurate his account about anatomy and space.
“Katavolos can’t explain annihilation important after a pen and a allotment of paper,” biographer David Berreby acclaimed in a 1994 commodity about him for Discover magazine. “Any affectionate of cardboard will do: yellow, white, or lined, anthology or scrap. As he draws, he talks: of amusing movements, all-inclusive planned communities, surprises and revolutions.”
From the backward 1940s to the aboriginal 1950s, Katavolos collaborated with adolescent Pratt alumni Ross Littell and Douglas Kelley to aftermath a appliance band for Laverne International alleged “The New Furniture.” One of his pieces, the 1952 “T” chair, is now in the collections of both the Louvre Museum and MoMA.
Sometimes compared to the 1929 Barcelona armchair by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich, Katavolos’s armchair was adroit in its use of automated and accustomed materials, with three metal legs acknowledging a covering bung seat. He after formed on allotment systems for the Time-Life and Owens Corning barrio as able-bodied as with George Nelson Associates on a abeyance arena arrangement for the 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Katavolos angry his absorption to “chemical architecture,” exploring means that discoveries in allure could advance to avant-garde architectonics forms fabricated with new materials. Featured in a 1960 MoMA exhibition called Visionary Architecture, his assignment was advised clear-sighted because it advancing account such as barrio that could abound in admeasurement through nanotechnology, an breadth of analysis and addition conducted on the calibration of atoms and molecules.
In 1961, Katavolos acquired absorption for an article advantaged “Organics,” which he wrote as a “modern manifesto” on actinic architecture. In the essay, appear in Ulrich Conrads’s affecting book, Programs and Manifestoes on 20th Century Architecture, Katavolos argued that a “new architectonics is accessible through the cast of chemistry. Man charge stop authoritative and manipulating, and instead acquiesce architectonics to happen.”
He envisioned houses that could abound “to assertive sizes, bisect or agglutinate for above functions,” and cities that “at night move like music to added moorings for cultural needs or to aftermath the socio-political patterns that the new activity demands.”
Katavolos accomplished in Pratt’s Automated Architectonics Department in the 1950s and 1960s and became allotment of Pratt’s Undergraduate Architectonics adroitness in 1973, again accustomed administration in the aboriginal 1980s. He retired from his full-time position in 2008 but connected to advise as a visiting professor.
Starting in the ’70s, Katavolos focused on two areas that he pursued for the abutting three decades, atom physics and hydronics architecture. He was decidedly absorbed in exploring the abeyant for change in architectonics through amoebic abstracts and engineering, including ‘liquid architecture’ that operated like a pumping heart. In the mid-1970s, he congenital the aboriginal cartoon of hydronics architecture, a beat assignment in this field.
Liquids played a above role in his abstracts with architectonics abstracts from the 1970s on.
“If you are absorbed in a average such as water, you can see the apparent that separates you from the atmosphere; it is a bewitched atomic band that should not be cut, but assimilation is permissible,” he said in a 2006 account with Pratt assistant Deborah Gans that was appear in BOMB magazine. “Liquid accumulation is a architectonics actual in which anatomy swallows function. It allows us to be congenital rather than captured.”
In a 2010 account for the Pratt Undergraduate Architectonics Agenda Futures Group, Katavolos declared how the Academy of Architectonics adapted over the years through new technologies and “thought leadership” as it confused from addition to a abreast embrace of adroit abstracts and agenda modeling.
In his 2016 address at the Academy of Architecture, Katavolos discussed his explorations application the “liquefaction of mass, gasification of space, and alliance of surface” to actualize walls of amid liquids for forms that could abode both bodies and hydroponic gardens. Architectonics on these ideas, he showed assets for an “autonomous house” that could abound its own food.
One of Katavolos’s best constant contributions to the abstraction of architectonics came in 2000, back he co-founded the Center for Experimental Structures with Haresh Lalvani, assistant of undergraduate architecture, as allotment of Pratt’s Academy of Architecture.
According to Pratt, the Center was created to arch what the advisers saw as a gap amid avant-garde and arising technologies of building, cartoon on the axiological attempt of architectonics in attributes and above to amend the authoritative and abstraction of architectural structures and accouter space.
Over the years, abounding of the structures created aural the Center’s Hydronics and Morphology laboratories accept been amid the aboriginal of their affectionate in the world, including projects involving beheld mathematics, architectural genomics, and hyperspace architecture.
Today, Pratt leaders say, the Center for Experimental Structures is different aural schools of architectonics and architectonics in the United States, and has able links amid academia and industry. Acceptance appear to participate in analysis at the Center through assorted bookish and able routes, and the Undergraduate Architectonics Department now offers a accessory in Morphology.
In 2012, Katavolos accustomed the Rowena Reed Kostellow Award, which annually recognizes Pratt Institute alumni whose assignment advances the attempt of design. Rowena adumbrative Tucker Viemeister said at the time that he was called “because of his continued adherence to multidisciplinary exploration, the adorableness of his work, and because he is absolutely an amazing man.” In 2019, Katavolos was acclaimed with Pratt’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his “distinguished and adorning legacy” in education, architecture, and design.
Katavolos was active on October 23 at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Maspeth, New York. Pratt’s Academy of Architectonics and Academy of Architectonics will authority a basic Memorial account in his account on Tuesday, November 10, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. It can be beheld on the Academy of Architectonics Events YouTube channel. The Academy of Architectonics has additionally accustomed a scholarship armamentarium in anamnesis of Katavolos to advice abutment acceptance absorbed in advancing agnate work.
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