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Book Talk: Niche Tactics: Generative Relationships Between Architecture and Site

Monday, September 28, 2015 at 5:00pm

Milstein Hall, L.P. Kwee Studios, 2nd floor
943 University Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

Niche Tactics (Routledge, 2015), the first book by Edgar A. Tafel Assistant Professor Caroline O'Donnell, explores architecture's relationship with site and its ecological analogue: the relationship between an organism and its environment. 

The language of evolution has been creeping into architecture—words like species, brood, and mutation have become commonplace. But there is one aspect that is often left behind: site. This book goes back to the basics of evolution theory and considers how we might think and design differently if we no longer neglect the role of the environment in the translation from evolution to architecture. Niche Tactics provides a series of case studies that investigate historical moments when relationships between architecture and site were productively intertwined, but also zooms out to look at the role of context in ecology, film, language, jokes, and teratology.

O'Donnell is the director of the professional Master of Architecture program in the Department of Architecture, the faculty editor of the Cornell Journal of Architecture, and principal of the design studio CODA.

The book talk will replicate the order of the book itself, with experts responding to particular chapters: Catherine Ingraham will represent the Introduction (which she wrote), Greg Keeffe will respond to Chapter 1: Niche Tactics, Val Warke will respond to Chapter 6: All Dressed Up,  Mark Morris will respond to Chapter 9: Duck Jokes, and Caroline O’Donnell will conclude with the CODA. In addition, an array of mixed meats and eggs will represent Chapter 11: Hopeful Monsters.

Books available for purchase and signing, and refreshments served.

This event is cosponsored by the Fine Arts Library, part of Cornell University Library’s Chats in the Stacks series, and the College of AAP.

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Event Type

Author Appearance


Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, Cornell University Library, Architecture, Fine Arts Library


cascal, pawprint, environment, Cornell University Library, CUL, Design, architecture, book talk, ecology, O’Donnell



Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Lindsay Levine or Lynn Bertoia

Contact Phone

(607) 255-7324/ (607) 255-4813


Caroline O'Donnell

Speaker Affiliation

Architecture, Art, and Planning

Open To

Free and open to all

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