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  • American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program
Topographic map of Cornell University Arts Quad

The Department of Architecture at Cornell was first established in 1871 by university co-founder, A.D. White within the purview of the institution's founding mission to provide a place where "any person can find instruction in any study." Marking the occasion of the department's 150-year anniversary this academic year, architecture chair and associate professor Caroline O'Donnell invites leading scholars and practitioners to AAP for a series of discussions that fall under the theme: Breaking Ground(s), Toward the 22nd Century. Three sessions: "Groundwork," "Formwork," and "Schoolwork," foregrounded by a keynote lecture by Timothy Ingold, are meant to prompt timely questions and an array of perspectives on "the fundamental interconnectedness of the discipline with global ecologies and culture, alongside the consideration of future trajectories for the practice and pedagogy of architecture."

On the imperative to reflect and expound on the history and future of the department and discipline at this significant milestone, O'Donnell shares, "While the anniversary and traditions of the department call for celebration, we are also provided — as a department and a community of people with interrelated interests and backgrounds — with an opportunity to ask and answer important questions. The discipline of architecture is at a pivotal moment with regard to our critical engagement with our histories and foundations, the evolution of design practice and its concerns, and approaches to pedagogy that guide emerging generations of architects. Our community is ready to disrupt and advance our thinking about possible worlds that are more sustainable, equitable, smart, and meaningful in the future."

Co-organizer and architecture teaching associate Wendolin Gonzalez, elaborates, "Breaking Ground(s) is about building something new, but the title also refers quite literally to the ground beneath everything we've already built. Engaging deeply and looking forward, these conversations will help us rethink our design and building practices in relation to notions of interconnectedness found in kinship from indigenous culture and from contemporary ecological theory."

Session I: Groundwork

The first of three sessions will take place Thursday, March 10, and will situate architecture deep within the context of land and the natural environment. Artist Sachem Sam George will give a welcome address titled, Words Before All Else

Moderated by Jolene Rickard, associate professor, Department of Art and Department of History of Art and Visual Studies, and Sean Anderson, associate professor of architecture and director of the B.Arch. program, visiting discussants include:

  • Amber Adams, Editor, Native American Community Services
  • Meredith Palmer, Cornell Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow, Science and Technology Studies
  • Sébastien Marot, Professor of Environmental History, École d’Architecture de la Ville et des Territoires in Paris-Est


All events are free and can be attended virtually with registration. In-person sessions will take place as permitted in the Abby and Howard Milstein Auditorium in Milstein Hall. Please visit AAP's spring 2022 Preston Thomas Memorial Symposium event page for up-to-date information. More information on the Department of Architecture's anniversary events to come.

To view the full programming of our anniversaries click here.

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Date & Time

March 10, 2022
5:15 pm - 7:30 pm

More information about this event.

Contact Information


American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program

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