Chris Ware, Alison Sampson among guests at Graphic Novel/Novel Architecture Symposium 

Alison Sampson

Alison Sampson

Kent State University College of Architecture & Environmental Design has organized a Graphic Novels / Novel Architecture symposium to explore constructive and projective relationships between architecture and comics.

Guests include London-based architect and illustrator Alison Sampson and many others.

Graphic Novels/ Novel Architecture 2016 Banner

Graphic Novels/ Novel Architecture 2016 Banner


Scheduled for the afternoon of 1st April 2016 at the Cleveland Museum of Art, it will provide a provocative forum for conversation among leading architects, scholars and graphic artists.

Although the event is taking place in the US it will also be livestreamed.

The event will examine the burgeoning influence of different types of graphic narrative – including animation, cartoons, comics, illustrations and storyboards – on contemporary architectural design.

Along with Alison, participants include Vera Camden, Diane Davis-Sikora, Wes Jones, Jimenez Lai, Françoise Mouly, Robert Somol, Mélanie van der Hoorn, Chris Ware, Michael Webb and Jon Yoder.

“I’m enormously honoured to be asked to take part,” Alison told downthetubes.

“Mike Webb is also British, and as part of Archigram was responsible for defining the aesthetic we now know as ‘The Sixties’, and to be on the bill with him is just mind-blowing.”

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• LiveStream Link:

Comics Guests

Chris Ware

Chris Ware

Chris Ware is an artist known for his experimental graphic novels and the Acme Novelty Library comic book series. He is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and was the first cartoonist chosen to inaugurate the New York Times Magazine’s experimental comics section. In 2000, he published Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, which received numerous awards and was named one of the “100 Best Books of the Decade” by The Times.

Ware’s most recent book, Building Stories, was a New York Times and Time Magazine Top 10 Book of the Year for 2012 and was chosen as the single best book of the year by Publisher’s Weekly. His illustrations have been widely published and exhibited, and he has had solo shows at the Gävle Konstcentrum in Sweden, the MCA Chicago and The Art Institute of Chicago, which staged an exhibition of his work titled, “The Comic Art and Architecture of Chris Ware,” in 2014.

Alison Sampson is a London-based architect and illustrator who lectures and exhibits internationally on the reciprocal relationships between comics and architecture. For more than two decades she worked on award-winning design projects with some of the UK’s leading architecture firms.

As a graphic artist, she works with publishers including Image Comics, DC Vertigo, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios and IDW. In 2014, Sampson published her creator-owned, best-selling (and first) graphic novel Genesis (with Nathan Edmondson) and won the Emerging Talent award at the British Comic Awards. She also created and manages the online 200+ artist exquisite corpse project, Think of a City.

Jimenez Lai is the founder and leader of Bureau Spectacular. Previously he worked for various international offices, including OMA and Atelier Van Lieshout. Lai is widely exhibited and published around the world, including the MoMA-collected White Elephant. His first manifesto, Citizens of No Place: An Architectural Graphic Novel, was published by Princeton Architectural Press with a grant from the Graham Foundation. Draft II of this book was archived at the New Museum as a part of the show Younger Than Jesus.

Lai has won various awards, including the Architectural League Prize for Young Architects and Debut Award at the Lisbon Triennale. In 2014, he designed the Taiwan Pavilion at the 14th Venice Architectural Biennale. He currently teaches in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at UCLA.

Mélanie van der Hoorn studied Cultural Anthropology at the Universities of Leiden and Amsterdam, where she specialized in Material Culture. In 2009, Berghahn Books published her University of Utrecht doctoral dissertation as Indispensable Eyesores: An Anthropology of Undesired Buildings. Since moving to Vienna in 2007 she has been working as an independent researcher and curator, and since 2013 as an external lecturer at various Austrian universities. Van der Hoorn’s research focuses on the presentation and communication, perception and assessment of architecture.

In 2012, she published the book, Bricks & Balloons: Architecture in Comic-Strip Form, which served as the basis for a major exhibition at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo in 2015.

Françoise Mouly is art editor of The New Yorker where she has been responsible for over 1,000 covers. She is also founder and coeditor (with collaborator and spouse Art Spiegelman) of the groundbreaking comics anthology RAW; the New York Times-bestselling Little Lit series; and The TOON Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics. Mouly’s recent books include Blown Covers: New Yorker Covers You Were Never Meant to See; Postcards from the New Yorker: One Hundred Covers from Ten Decades; and The Best American Comics 2012.

She has won numerous publication awards and lectures and curates exhibitions internationally. The French Ministry of Culture and Communication named her Chevalier in the order of Arts and Letters in 2001 and awarded her the nation’s highest honour, the Legion of Honneur, in 2011. Mouly’s first biography, In Love with Art, was published in 2013.

Michael Webb

Michael Webb

Michael Webb

Michael Webb studied architecture at Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster), where one of his fourth year design projects was selected for MoMA’s “Visionary Architecture” exhibition in 1961. Since then his drawings have been published widely and he has had solo shows at Columbia University, Storefront for Art and Architecture, The Architectural League of New York, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Art Net Gallery in London, and The Cooper Union where he now teaches.

In 1963, Webb joined Archigram, a group of young British architects whose eponymous magazine experimented with pop culture imagery to dynamically transform the social and technological orientations of contemporary architecture.

For the past two decades a large exhibition of the group’s work has been touring internationally. In 2002, Archigram was awarded the Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects.

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