Innovate: Jennifer Bonner, “Close Reading of the Good Ol’ Ordinary”

A standard gable, with a camel-backed hip, combined with a rotated gable, connected by a shed, all populated with multiple dormers, and lastly, a mini-gable bump in the back is what I see. What do you see? 

These are a few of the terms for making a close reading of ordinary rooflines in domesticity. The close reading, otherwise known as formal analysis, is a way of looking at art and architecture’s most prestigious. The talk will present a case for the ordinary and its role in architectural production. At the close of the talk, the presenter requests that the audience make another close reading of the forms presented just moments beforehand. Close readings on close reading.

Born in Alabama, Jennifer Bonner, MArch '09, is the owner of MALL and Assistant Professor at Harvard GSD. She is founder of a Guide to the Dirty South with forthcoming titles in Atlanta and New Orleans. Her research and design work has been published in various journals, including Architectural Review, Architectural Record, Wallpaper, a+t, DAMn, ART PAPERS, PLAT, and MAS Context. Bonner has exhibited at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London, National Building Museum in Washington DC, Association of Architects of Catalonia in Barcelona, WUHO Gallery in Los Angeles, HistoryMIAMI, and most recently at the Istanbul Design Biennial.

Innovation is not only a scientific issue, it demands the architect’s opportunistic gaze and design skills; it happens at multiple scales, frequently crisscrossing disciplinary boundaries and occasionally changing our cities, cultures, and lives. “Innovate” is a mid-day talk series curated by Iñaki Ábalos, chair of the Department of Architecture, featuring a brief presentation followed by a discussion facilitated by faculty and by thesis, PhD, and DDes students.

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the events office at (617) 496-2414 or events@gsd.harvard.edu.