Galen Pardee

BA, Brandeis University. MArch, Columbia University Graduate School of Architure, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP). Pardee directs the design and research studio Drawing Agency, which explores dimensions of architectural advocacy, material economy, adaptive reuse, and expanded practice through writing, exhibitions, and design commissions in New York City, California, and Colorado. Research projects have been funded by The Ohio State University, Columbia University GSAPP, and the Graham Foundation and published in Avery Review, Faktur Journal, Urban Omnibus, and Thresholds, among others. Drawing Agency’s work has been included in solo exhibitions, group shows, and symposia in the United States and abroad, including the Chicago Architectural Biennial and Venice Architecture Biennale. Pardee has taught at Columbia University GSAPP, Barnard University, University of Tennessee, and The Ohio State University, where he was the LeFevre Emerging Practitioner Fellow. SLC, 2022–

Previous Courses

Visual and Studio Arts

100-Year Buildings—Architecture on the Material-Planetary Time Scale

Open, Seminar—Spring

Carl Elefante, 2018 AIA President, is perhaps best known for coining the phrase, “The greenest building is one that is already built.” Inherent in this ethos is an understanding of how much of the stuff of architecture—the steel, concrete, and gypsum detritus that populates global construction sites—lingers on after the final punch list. As architects face the remainder of the 21st century with the knowledge that buildings comprise 36 percept of global energy use and 39 percent of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions annually, Elefante’s proposition takes on renewed urgency. What would it mean for architects to embrace a planetary scale of material and temporal relationships? Which material logics and construction systems might take precedence under these new circumstances? Are there new metrics that we can create which take into account embodied and lifetime costs of our built environment? How can we reshape our discipline to ensure responsible environmental stewardship for our buildings’ present and future clients, as well as for the public at large? The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) estimates that the building sector’s global floor area will double by 2060, representing not only the construction of new buildings but also the destruction of existing structures that may not have reached the end of their lives. For example, reinforced concrete can take up to a century to fully harden and cure; glass and steel can last decades before becoming compromised. Rather than a narrow relationship of client and program and site, this studio understands that each of these relationships are fleeting and changeable relative to the lifetimes of construction assemblies and climate change. Failing to account for life after a particular client’s lease is up or the changes wrought on the site by shifting ecological or political climates may resign a building to demolition and failure. How can architects better design with the material-planetary timescale in mind from the beginning? What scenarios about politics and regulation do we build into our design processes to guide programmatic and material assumptions? What is fixed, and what is flexible—in both our building systems and in our profession? What is the future of architectural practice in a world where wholesale demolition and new construction is climatically irresponsible?


Great Lakes World Game

Open, Concept—Spring

The Great Lakes Compact World Game is a special-topics course focusing on the politics of the Great Lakes Watershed Basin and its implications for public space and the future of the Great Lakes Megalopolis, which stretches from Canada to the United States and holds 80 percent of North America’s fresh-water supply. The Great Lakes Compact (2008) is a binational law that restricts removing water from the Great Lakes to public uses only. The arrival of Foxconn in Wisconsin (2016) challenged this simple formulation and exposed a critical flaw in the Compact—it did not designate what “public” meant. This special-topics course will ask students to design and speculate on the text of the Compact and, through designing tabletop games, generate (in the style of Buckminster Fuller’s “World Game”) several different scenarios for the future of the Great Lakes Compact and its “publics.”



Open, Seminar—Fall

PostConcreteness explores an emergent phenomenon in the built environment; namely, the imperative to move beyond concrete (as a material) and the erosion of conceptual concreteness around the proper role of an architect in the Anthropocene. Rather than focusing on the immediate output of a building, PostConcreteness asks students to consider the longer timescales of building and the larger political and social regimes shaping labor, material extraction, and climate adaptation both for today and for decades into the future. PostConcreteness will explore these questions through individual and collective work—students will investigate the supply chains and embodied costs of specific construction materials, proposing current and future scenarios for their use, while collectively intervening into the studio space itself to create a recyclable display for the studio’s work at 1:1 scale.


Union Carbide Reconstruction

Open, Seminar—Spring

Union Carbide Reconstruction is an architecture studio course exploring the life, demise, and alternate futures of the famed mid-century Union Carbide office tower at 270 Park Avenue in New York City. Recently, the building was the subject of the largest controlled demolition in New York’s history and is in the process of being replaced by a similar design under Norman Foster’s supervision. This course explores the embodied costs and accounting of this decision and uses the demolished tower as a platform for speculation on the paths not taken that could have provided for a less wasteful demolition, a more carbon-friendly present, and more inventive futures for 270 Park Avenue. Students will explore this project through historical research, material economy, and speculative architectural proposals through large-scale model making and drawing.