Extending conversation of ‘the built environment’

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By Katy Pinke ’10

On Dec. 11, Princeton’s newest undergraduate publication held a launch party and exhibition in the School of Architecture building. ISOMETRIC, Princeton’s first art and architecture magazine, celebrated its launch with a dorm room photo competition, inviting students to submit pictures of their dorm rooms and showcase their interior-design skills.

Architecture major Waqas Jawaid ’10, who gathered with nine fellow seniors in the department to start the magazine, said that his hope was to extend the campus conversation of architecture. “We spend so much time in the architecture building,” Jawaid said. “We wanted to find a way to share all of the work to the campus outside of it, creating an open forum for conversation about this all-encompassing field.”

Fellow editorial board member Pulane Mpotokwame ’10 added, “Every time we as architecture students look at how something is designed, we have to think about its political, cultural, and historical context. We want to encourage the rest of the student body to enter into this mode of thinking as well, no matter from what disciplinary angle: civil and environmental engineering, performing and visual arts, art history, public policy, and so on.”

The publication will feature articles as well as a range of other contributions, including sketches, artwork, and — Mpotokwame imagines — musical scores as well. She explained that the editors “want to publish whatever can be considered a tangible, creative expression of the built environment: however students experience or see it.” The aim is to push students to reconsider their everyday surroundings.

ISOMETRIC’s pilot issue, which is scheduled for distribution in early February, will have a “sketch-book” aesthetic, giving the impression that submissions have been slapped on as if in the brainstorm stages of a project. The publication’s creators want to convey that ISOMETRIC’s pages are accessible and open to all students, regardless of academic interest.