Detroit, MI

Frederick Biehle will present his paper, Episodic Urbanisms: Pedagogical Studies and the Lesson of Rome, at the annual national conference of the ACSA during the session In Practice: History as Research. The paper looks at the porosity and interconnectedness of the pedestrian fabric of historical Rome as a principal means of empowering the individual and fulfilling the promise of the urban experience.


Episodic Urbanisms, the publication on the pedagogy and work of the Pratt Institute Rome Program, a program for the past 8 years directed by departmental Chair Erika Hinrichs, and for the previous 20 years coordinated by Frederick Biehle, will be released as a part of the festivities to mark the 40th anniversary of the program at the Palazzo Doria Pamfilj in Rome. Essays by Ryszard Sliwka, Jeffrey Hogrefe, Frederick Biehle and an introduction by Erika Hinrichs.

Rome, Italy

2017 is the 40th year of the Pratt Institute Rome Program, a program that has been directed in its entirety by Richard Piccolo and coordinated for 20 of those years by Frederick Biehle. Pratt Institute will mark the occasion by inviting alumni to Rome to celebrate the significance of this program in the education of its archtiects. The culminating event will be the evening of April 13 at the Palazzo Doria Pamfijl,. The Institute president, Thomas Schutte, as well as he Dean of Architecture, Thomas Hanrahan, will be in attendance.

Brooklyn, NY

Frederick Biehle will be introducing and moderarting a panel at the symposium In Search of African-American Space to be presented at Pratt Institute's School of Architecture, Higgins Hall Auditorium.

The Symposium is being coordinated with the summer studio he is offering called Museum of Conscience: Locating the Underground Railroad.


New York City

Frederick Biehle’s400 level options studio from the Pratt UG Architecture program, called the Reinvention of Public Housing, has work included in an exhibition organized by Mattias Altwicker and Nicolas Bloom of NYIT entitled “Affordable Housing in New York: The People, Places, and Policies That Transformed a City.” Hunter College East Harlem Gallery at Silberman School of Social Work.

The exhibit is coordinated with the release of their book of the same name, and will be at Hunter College’s East Harlem Gallery, in the Silberman School of Social Work on East 119th Street and Third Avenue. 

Michael Rosen and Yuli Huang Project for the Ingersol/Whitman Houses

Michael Rosen and Yuli Huang Project for the Ingersol/Whitman Houses

New York City

Frederick Biehle and viaARCHITECTURE were credited in the New York Times article “What I Love”. Julie Morgenstein, an organization guru and consultant, offered a testament for thinking (and buying) small, how her apartmenthad been renovated to “seem larger than it actually is”.viaARCHITECTURE’s approach- Porosity, Materiality, Interiority – fit perfectly in resolving the client’s needs.

Zoar, Ohio

viaARCHITECTURE has joined the team of designers, historians and curators assembling a series of events to coincide with the 200 year anniversary of the founding of Zoar, Ohio.

Frederick Biehle’s grandfather, August F. Biehle Jr., was one of the principal Cleveland School artists who returned periodically to paint the village.

Zoar was settled in 1817 by a group of 300 “separatists” that had emigrated from Bavaria in southwest Germany. As followers of the teachings of Jacob Boehme they believed that the Lutheran church was hopelessly corrupt, and that they should be permitted to worship God in their own way. This proved to be impossible in Germany.

After emigrating to the new world, their leader, Joseph Bimeler, purchased 5500 acres along the Tuscarawas River in central Ohio on behalf of the colony. They picked a site within it and named the town Zoar, from Genesis, the city where Lot had been permitted refuge during his flight from Sodom. Laying down an organizational grid, they put their European know-how to work constructing the first cabins.

As the colony struggled for economic survival in its first years it voted to create a cooperative system for the maintenance of the group. The Zoar society was organized in 1819 such that all property and income was to be held in common to be managed by the officers elected by the members. The socialist program would thrive by the end of the first generation and crest in the second, but by the end of the third, the lack of leadership and temptations of the world that surrounded it ultimately brought about its dissolution. In 1895 the properties were divided equally among its remaining members.

During its hay day work was held in the highest esteem. Women worked alongside the men per­forming the same tasks. Sundays were devoted to worship, except during the harvest. In 1827 they contracted with the state of Ohio to construct 7 miles of the new Ohio & Erie Canal that would cross their land adjacent to the Tuscarawas River. The canal gave the community access to markets for their agricultural products and manufactured goods, as far away as New York City and St. Louis. By 1834 it was a thriving community.

The most notable feature of the town was its community garden. At the center of the village the garden was laid out as the New Jerusalem revealed in the 21st chapter of Revelations. At its center was a towering Norway spruce tree representing Christ, the tree of life. From this center lead 12 paths representative of the 12 tribes of Israel. The society used the adjacent Tuscarawas River to site and power the various industries that allowed it to remain independent of the outside world. Iron, woolens, woodworking, flour and silk all had mills. There was a tannery, a brewery, a tin shop, a foundry, and within the town were a bakery, a shoe shop and a watch shop.

Three images by A.F.Biehle, Milan Heights, The Mill, and the Apple Tree

Three images by A.F.Biehle, Milan Heights, The Mill, and the Apple Tree

New York City

Open City: Existential Urbanity Symposium, the New Museum, Friday November 20, 2015

A two day symposium marking the official release of Open City: Existential Urbanity, an anthology of student work from the Architecture of the City studio, conducted by Professor Diane Lewis and the faculty at The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. Focusing on work from 2001 to 2014, the book features drawings, models and project descriptions that regard any contemporary intervention into the city as an integral work of architecture, art, and sustainable infrastructure.



The Bowery: Architect & Continuum Panel
Panel Speakers: Ezegbebe Eribo, Milan & Legos (Opening Reading), Daniel Meridor, Nader Tehrani, Karen Wong, Francois De Menil, Erika Hinrichs, XuanLuo, Devon Moar, Derek Lange, Stephanie Yeung, Tyler Putnam

Erika presented:

It is appropriate to begin the chapter of the book, by addressing the neighborhood of the Copper Union, which is ‘The Bowery’.   A neighborhood, as noted in the chapter,  that was a place where many of our artistic innovators/provocateurs lived had an impact on contemporary culture.  A group of artists searching for how to capture the questions of our world and reflect it back to their audience, which defined a particular view of the world. Then take that map and overlay it onto an area with such a rich and illicit history as the Bowery… I imagine a tension between what is “real”, “known” or accepted challenged by the search for an alternative visionary architecture.   I would like to reference “the Bowery” as described by Luc Sante’s book Low Life- A place where once mansions housed the wealthy barons of a thriving industrial world, to a place overrun by inhabitants providing service for those interested in vice and entertainment, where others visit but do not live- to then an overcrowded den of illegals capturing the attention of a city with its crime and disorder.   All of this making the Bowery a place with its own mythology, a place all about a moment in time, disconnected from the city as a whole.  But perhaps, the projects referenced here in the Book present a potential for new texts that can record the memories of place in our current city and its future.

 As students of architecture, we often begin with what we know.  For me, coming to Cooper in the mid-80’s, I brought with me a personal history of an imbedded “high art” education:  classical ballet, fine art and music.  Once here, the foundation exploded my thinking with new visions, new curiosities, new challenges… a flood of thoughts that you may not know what to do with...

For me early in my education, experiences from multiple disciplinary works impacted my visual vocabulary for architecture and space.  Two such works come to mind which still ground me today-  a dance piece by Twyla Tharp entitled “Fait Accompli” with music by David Van Teighem, 1984, and the chamber/opera “10,000 Airplanes on the Roof” set by David Hwang, music by Philip Glass, 1988. 

Memory 1 - “Fait Accompli” was inspired by the boxing trainer Teddy Atlas. The piece focused on the strength and endurance of the body with its intensity of movement and degree of difficulty in its positions.  This paired with the music of David Van Tieghem which collaged together the sounds of the city and various beats projected into a wall of sound.   A moment in part 2 is one I recall-  a line of male dancers start from the rear wall and begin to move forward moving in strong slow-motion toward the audience, each moving in a theme and variation of choreography between each other slightly aware of its repetition.  A second line of bodies emerges from the rear starting to move forward, and so on until the stage is full with a grid of powerful bodies, a force moving slowly toward the proscenium.    The moving body in slow motion, each becoming a skyscraper as their scale became monumental and with the repetition of movements the shape of void space emerged, between the “body-scrapers”. Being acutely aware of the space in-between.  The dancers turn and retreat.

I get spatial flash-backs of this experience from some of the projects-  the forms within a grid and frame of space in the Theater/Opera, the disassembled/ assembled architectural parts in the ‘Forum of the Spoken Word”, the figuration of spatial volumes in relationship to the grid in the City Hall Gates,   and the discovery of spatial volumes carved between the think pages of space in the Library for New York Authors.

Memory 2 - “10,000 Airplanes on the Roof”, marked a moment when early technological advances came to the theater.  The whole stage, floor to ceiling became a tilted plane to receive a full projected “holographic” image.  During the performance actors moved across the plane which held the projected image seamlessly without reading the infrastructure by which the actors moved.  The projected images were of different scales- views of the city- at one moment the actors are monumental walking over the elevated datum of a skyline and the next moment inverted where the scale is microscopic.  The spatial experience is flat and abstracted.

I see the base tower of the Brooklyn Bridge impact itself onto the streets and building of the Bowery creating new scales of space, the displacement of elements like found archeological artifacts participate in a new spatial field in the Public Theater Library, and a Mural becomes space in plan & section carving into a cities tenement block in the Keith Haring Museum

As a maker and thinker I would state that my own pedagogy is the search for representing the space which captures the absent body.   I see a shared desire in the works presented in this chapter through the challenge of drawing the variable scale between the city, space and body. 

My offering to this symposium comes from an experiential place rather than a philosophical one, in which I reflect and share the inquiry on “how we see” or to “ways of thinking” in our architectural discourse. 

As for The Bowery currently, the place seems like a return to the wealthy real-estate barons cited by Luc Sante in Low Life…  perhaps we can keep the overlay of the architectural question of space and with it the grit of our imaginations will flourish, to provide provocations for future architects which will keep us all on our toes.


Domus/Locus Panel
Panel Speakers: MersihaVeledar, Michael Webb , Merrill Elam, Jonathan Kirschenfeld, Frederick Biehle, Andrew Ferentinos, Dasha Khapalova, Giandomenico Pellizzi


taxonomy of the mark_FCB.jpg

Frederick Biehle discussed:

At the beginning of book five in his Ten Books of Architecture, Vitruvius relates a little story:

The Socratic philosopher Aristippus, being shipwrecked and cast ashore on an unknown coast, despaired, until he observed geometrical figures drawn upon the sand, whereupon he cried out to his companions, “let us be of good cheer, for I see the traces of man”.

For Vitruvius, a composition of lines, because they have been drawn specifically in a relationship to each other, is capable of suggesting not just the presence of another person, the maker of the marks, but an entire culture, a civilization and its accomplishments.  For a student, the kit of parts introduces these same geometric possibilities, from which he or she must learn to reinvent the accomplishments of history, as an evolving ritual of self-knowledge.