Tamar Zinguer received a B.Arch. from the Cooper Union in 1989, a M.Sc. from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in 1998 and a Ph.D. from Princeton University School of Architecture in 2006. She has practiced architecture in Israel and the United States and before coming to the Cooper Union has taught design, as well as history and theory seminars in architecture schools since 1994 – at the Technion, Cornell University, Columbia University and Princeton. Also, she has been the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships – from the Canadian Center for Architecture, The Smithsonian Institution, The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention, as well as the Center for American Studies at Princeton University. She has received the Whiting fellowship in the Humanities, The Best Young Architect Award in Israel and the America/Israel Keren Sharet Prize in the arts.
Currently her writing focuses on the interrelationships of architecture and play, as she is preparing for publication the manuscript Architecture in Play: Intimations of Modernism in Architectural Toys, 1836–1952. She has lectured extensively on the topic at professional conferences (CAA, SAH) and as an invited speaker (Cornell, Penn, U. of Tennessee, The Smithsonian and more). Parts of this work have appeared in Colomina, Brennan and Kim, eds. Cold War Hothouses, Princeton Architectural Press, 2004, and Azimuts No. 25, June 2005 Issue on Design and Mathematics. Another current area of research concentrates on Architecture and the Aesthetics of Movement. Tamar has organized and chaired a session on that subject at the Society of Architectural Historians Annual Meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 2008, and has participated in a conference on a related subject, "Speed", at The Canadian Center for Architecture, Montreal, in June 2008. Tamar organized the academic conference ARCHITECTURE MOVES that took place at The Cooper Union in October 2009. Scholars were invited to probe the intersections of architecture and the aesthetics of movement. The conference explored temporality and animation in space, displacement of vision, rhythm and spatial relocation – aspects of movement in architecture from the 19th to the 21st centuries.
Projects & Links
Architecture in Play
Architecture in Play: Intimations of Modernism in Architectural Toys explores how in the last two hundred years, architectural toys – blocks and construction sets – have echoed full-scale architectural experimentations. Architectural toys have provided evidence of the social and economic life of their period; have reflected stylistic inclinations and have incorporated technological changes in their ‘systems of construction’. Designed by adults for children, these toys have presented an intersection between generations and a meeting point between pedagogy and means of production. Four construction toys are investigated – dating from 1836 to 1952 and made of wood, stone, metal and paper. With the advent of industrialization, they have indicated changing attitudes towards form, structure and permanence. They have classified and divided the environment, and through play provided tools to recreate its orders.
Froebel’s Gifts designed in1836 included a series of cubes, spheres and cylinders that were gradually broken down to smaller geometrical parts and were introduced to children in the Kindergarten setting; Anchor Stone Building Blocks invented in1877 comprised hundreds shapes of miniature stones that yielded castles, forts and churches; Meccano (1901) and Erector Set (1911) included small metal girders that constructed bridges and skyscrapers mimetic of contemporary steel structures; while The Toy and House of Cards designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1950 and 1952 were lightweight, cardboard kits-of-parts that echoed methods of prefabrication.
Allowing for a large array of assemblies and connections, all case-studies shared the breakdown of contemporary conventions of architecture. A structured dissection of natural formations was followed by the decomposition of known molds of space, to be replaced by light building parts, suggesting prefabrication and mobility gradually questioning the nature of the house. Thus, play with construction sets wavered between getting used to an existing reality while simultaneously performing the destruction of that same reality. The vision offered by the construction toy enacted persistently an image of collapse. Breakdown and collapse, construction and taking apart have positioned architectural toys as tools that appeared to advance – at all times – the constant reevaluation of spatial design. Lightness of building materials, modularity, systematization and greater versatility were parts of an architectural language that the toys exemplified. In the intimacy of the domestic environment, eradicating formal habits and re-conceiving visual orders, architectural toys intimated notions of the modern.
The article "TOY" appeared in Cold War Hothouses, Princeton Architectural Press, 2004.
The Velocity of Play Around 1900
As part of the conference Speed and its Limits, held at the Canadian Center for Architecture in June of 2008, Tamar Zinguer gave the talk The Velocity of Play Around 1900, which discusses the changing faces of play at the turn of the 20th century – how play has been shaped by speed, acceleration, collapse, and fear.
The talk can be heard in its entirety at http://cca.qc.ca/en/education-events/258-speed-and-its-limits
Architecture Moves probes the intersections of architecture and the aesthetics of movement from the 19th to the 21st century, exploring rhythm and spatial relocation, displacement of vision, temporality and animation in space.