The Menokin Ghost Structure: Memoria and Kairos – Day Two
Day One ended with peg manufacturing in full swing (need 80 total), the grade beams of the structure assembled and the chiseling of the mortise and tenon joints well underway.
By lunchtime on Day Two, the floorboards were cut and laid. Preparations for the framing of the walls began in anticipation of the vertical beam raising to take place on Day Three. And let’s not forget the fashion show of the Fab Four students voguing their Menokin hats.
Take a virtual stroll through the pictures and imagine the scent of fresh-cut pine perfuming the air; hear the scrape of draw blades shaping pegs; feel the delicious spring combination of warm sun and cool breeze on your skin and get floored by the progress being made on our newest interpretive tool at Menokin.
MAKE SOMETHING WITH YOUR HANDS
This structure will be 15ft x 25ft. The enclosed wall surfaces will be transparent and developed in the future for educational interpretation. Participants are spending the week learning wood working and joinery techniques that were used in the 18th century.
Based on information derived from archaeological excavations, we will be recreating the framework of a dwelling that would have been lived in by Menokin’s field slaves.
DAY ONE: The Work Begins
MAKE SOMETHING WITH YOUR MIND
THE MENOKIN GHOST STRUCTURE serves as a physical metaphor to foster discourse and assist people in forming and participating in conversations about slavery as it relates to the Menokin site, the history of America and current events.
MEMORIA is a Latin term, and can be translated as “memory.” Memoria was the discipline of recalling the arguments of a discourse in classical rhetoric. Creating outline structures of the major arguments of a discourse would also aid memory.
KAIROS dictates that what is said must be said at the right time. In addition to timeliness, kairos considers appropriateness. The term also implies being knowledgeable of and involved in the environment where the situation is taking place in order to benefit fully from seizing the opportune moment.
True to our unique vision, we are not creating a reproduction of a slave dwelling, but instead a constructed form that will generate dialog about our past, with the flexibility to garner new knowledge, awareness and understanding. Once completed, this structure will be used as an educational classroom, and will serve as the centerpiece in telling the African American story – both past and present – in Richmond County, Virginia and beyond.
COPIED IN FULL FROM THE AIA.
Search “Harvard Graduate School of Design” on Menokin’s blog for more posts about their collaboration with The Menokin Glass House project.
Jorge Silvetti, Int’l Assoc. AIA
Born in Argentina, Jorge Silvetti has taught at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design since 1975, serving as a gifted professor and mentor, and with Rodolfo Machado has worked as a design leader in Boston since 1974. While his influence at GSD was most strongly felt from 1995–2002, when he served as chair of the architecture program, he has propagated a distinct school of thought among the design professionals who have graduated in the past 42 years.
“This is not a stylization of architecture that is visually and immediately identifiable, but a way of thinking about history, precedent, and the contextual complexities of architectural production that has inspired generations of architects and educators such as myself,” wrote Christian Dagg, AIA, head of the Auburn University School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, in a letter nominating Silvetti for the AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion.
Currently the Nelson Robinson, Jr. Professor of Architecture at Harvard, Silvetti leads design studios and delivers regular lectures on history, contemporary theory, and criticism. His groundbreaking 1977 essay “The Beauty of Shadows” provided a compelling argument for how a profession caught between postmodernism and deconstruction should proceed. Later works co-authored with Machado that expanded upon his arguments have greatly influenced his students as well as other schools of design nationwide. The list of deans and department chairs who were former students, colleagues, or employees of Silvetti is long and impressive.
“As chair of the architecture program at Harvard, his emphasis on design as a form of research, coupled with his expansion of the field of architecture to include other design practices, had a profound effect on the discipline at large—an influence that can still be felt today,” Mónica Ponce de León, dean and professor at Princeton University’s School of Architecture, wrote in a letter supporting Silvetti’s nomination. “Through conferences, symposia, and exhibitions, Silvetti brought allied disciplines in conversation with architecture—long before interdisciplinary became a catchphrase in academia.”
Since 1986 Silvetti has overseen a number of research programs, including an examination of Sicily’s urbanism and architecture that won a Progressive Architecture award. Other projects have explored the future of public space in the shifting metropolis of Buenos Aires and the future development of previously industrial Bilbao, Spain. He is a recipient of the Rome Prize, and since 1996 has served as a Pritzker Architecture Prize juror. In 2000, he was a juror for the former Mies van der Rohe Prize for Latin American Architecture.
Beyond academia, Silvetti’s work in association with Rodolfo Machado since 1974 and under different professional firms that they founded and led (presently MACHADO SILVETTI), has been widely celebrated. Run like a studio where all employees contribute ideas and everyone shares in the learning experience, the firm’s notable projects include work at many major Universities and Colleges in the U.S., (among them Dartmouth and Bowdoin Colleges, Princeton, Harvard, Rice, and Arizona State universities), abroad at the American University in Beirut and the Vietnamese and German University in Vietnam, as well as notable cultural and educational institutions such as the Getty Trust in the U.S. The firm received the First Award in Architecture from the American University of Arts and Letters in 1991 and numerous design awards and citations from AIA.
“After teaching for many years and participating in many conversations, he stands among a select group of peers,” wrote Machado in a letter supporting his partner’s nomination. “In fact there are only a few still fully engaged in teaching, who have witnessed and indeed participated in the wild swings of academic pedagogy—from the post-modern to the parametric to the current heterotopic panorama. Throughout all of it, Jorge has been committed to teaching the core canons of architecture while simultaneously supporting those innovating people and emerging projects that benefit the core and expand the reach of architecture.”
Chere R. LeClair, AIA, Chair, LeClair Architects, Bozeman, Montana
Don Keshika De Saram, Assoc. AIA, AIAS President, Washington DC
Donna Kacmar, FAIA, University of Houston, Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, Houston
Toshiko Mori, FAIA, Toshiko Mori Architect, PLLC, New York City
Nader Tehrani, Dean, The Cooper Union, Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, New York City
Have you watched this video? It doesn’t take long. Saving Menokin is important. This video tells you why. (Here’s a hint: there’s something in it for all of us.)
BY: ALICE FRENCH
On June 13th, Mrs. Smith’s 11th Grade Advanced Placement History class from Richmond County High School visited Menokin as guinea pigs to test out a new tour style being developed here: a Smashing Glass Tour!
The students participated in a dynamic tour which integrated the use of smart phone technology, social media, and physical activity. They learned about Francis Lightfoot Lee and the history of Menokin, architecture and building trades.
For an activity, we practiced some of the things we discussed about architecture by first working in teams to build structures with blocks. And then…oh yes, body building- making architectural forms out of humans.
Of course, after all the fun, we still had time to take a selfie with Frank.
The Menokin Visitor’s Center has new Hours of Operation, which now include scheduled times for guided tours.
Wed | Thurs | Fri: 10 am – 4 pm
Sat: May – September: 12 pm – 4 pm
Sun | Mon | Tues
PAID TOUR HOURS
Wed: 11 am and 2 pm
Thurs: 2 pm and 6 pm
Fri: 11 am and 2 pm
(Paid tours available by appointment; some restrictions apply.)
Email Alice to schedule a special Smashing Glass Tour.
BY: ALICE FRENCH
Earlier in June, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders from Aylett Country
Day School came to Menokin with their teachers, Mrs. Katona and Ms. Brooks. While here they hiked down to Cat Point Creek and learned about the wildlife which lives in the Rappahannock River Valley Watershed.
After the trail hike we went and visited the house and talked about how buildings are made and what Menokin looked like before it fell down.
Then we ran across the fields back to the Visitor Center, (because, well, that’s how these kids travel) and took a lunch break.
After lunch, the group went into the barn to learn a little about how buildings get made. We talked about the different professions involved in building and what architects do. Building with blocks is a great way for students of all ages to use critical thinking skills, cooperatively make design choices, learn to take turns, and build a structure through teamwork.
Great day of learning with a great group of kids!