Chancellor’s Colloquium With Museum Architect Idenburg

Photo: Manetti Shrem Museum exterior, aerial.
The museum's 50,000-square foot Grand Canopy has a patchwork design representing agricultural fields to the south.


WHAT: Chancellor’s Colloquium Distinguished Speaker Series

WHO: Florian Idenburg, principal and co-founder, SO–IL architectural firm, speaking on “Museum-Building in Unpredictable Times”

WHEN: 4-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8 (talk followed by reception)

WHERE: Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts


The Chancellor’s Colloquium Distinguished Speaker Series next week hosts Florian Idenburg, one of the architects of the newly opened Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art.

 Florian Idenburg

Idenburg’s firm, SO–IL, and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson served as associated architects on the museum project, which culminated Nov. 13 with the grand opening. And, as much as the art inside has inspired, so too has the building’s distinctive design with its Grand Canopy.

For his Chancellor’s Colloquium talk, 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, Idenburg will address “Museum-Building in Unpredictable Times.” He and Jing Liu started their New York-based firm in 2008 at the height of the Great Recession, yet they remain committed to building culture and consistently strive for progressive architecture beyond economic constraints. It is this optimistic position that guides SO–IL’s various experiments through a range of media, from temporary installations to large-scale built works — including the Manetti Shrem Museum.

Prior to SO–IL, Idenburg gained experience with Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureates Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (at their firm, SANAA), where he led the design teams for the Glass Pavilion in Toledo, Ohio, and The New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City.

Idenburg recognizes the merit of combining practice with academia to allow cross-pollination to stimulate innovation. He is associate professor in the practice of architecture at Harvard's Graduate School of Design, where he is now leading a three-year research project on transformations in the workplace. He holds a Master of Science degree in architecture from Delft University of Technology (Netherlands).

He is the 2010 recipient of the Charlotte Köhler Prize, from the Prince Bernhard Royal Cultural Fund in the Netherlands, recognizing exceptional talent; and was a 2014 finalist for the Prix de Rome in the Netherlands.

Upcoming in the Chancellor’s Colloquium

  • Laurie Fendrich, writer and abstract painter, and professor emerita of fine arts, Hofstra University — 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18
  • Ken Caldeira, climate scientist, Carnegie Institution for Science, and Stanford University — 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 19

Website: Chancellor’s Colloquium Distinguished Speaker Series

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