September 9, 2022

Professor Jeffrey Kipnis Retires

The architecture professor made important contributions to the intellectual life of the Knowlton School and the discipline of architecture.

After 35 years on the faculty at The Ohio State University, Professor of Architecture Jeffrey Kipnis has retired. Kipnis leaves an important legacy as a critic, author, curator, and educator. His writings on art and architecture and his energetic and provocative seminars and studios all made important contributions to the intellectual life of the Knowlton School and the discipline of architecture. 

Throughout his career, Kipnis integrated art with architectural theory, philosophy, classical music, pop culture, and science. “Trained as a physicist, Jeff is a true polymath,” said former Knowlton School Director Robert S. Livesey. “His love of music and all things scientific, art and architecture, his breadth of knowledge, quick wit, and passion are hard to beat…His quest for the new always kept the discourse fresh and energized.”

Kipnis published extensively on art and architecture in myriad journals, from Log and Harvard Design Magazine, to Quaderns2GEl CroquisArtforum, and Assemblage. His books include essays on the collaboration between Peter Eisenman and Jacques Derrida for the Parc de la Villette competition (Chora L Works, 1997), on Steven Holl’s expansion of the Nelson Atkins Museum (Stone and Feather, 2007), on Philip Johnson (The Glass House, 1993), and on the architecture and concepts of OMA, Morphosis, Coop Himmelb(l)au, and Rafael Moneo (A Question of Qualities, 2013).

Kipnis also served as the architecture and design curator for Ohio State’s Wexner Center for the Arts. During his tenure, Kipnis organized the design survey, “Mood River,” and “Suite Fantastique,” a compilation of four exhibitions: Perfect Acts of ArchitectureThe Furniture of Scott BurtonThe Predator (a collaboration between Greg Lynn and Fabian Marcaccio), and Imaginary Forces—Motion Graphics.

Further afield, Kipnis curated the Coop Himmelb(l)au retrospective, Beyond the Blue, for the MAK in Vienna. His film, A Constructive Madness, produced in collaboration with Tom Ball and Brian Neff, examines Frank Gehry’s work on the seminal Peter Lewis house project. The exhibition, A Field of Dreams, curated with Stephen Turk and José Oubrerie, appeared in Eisenman’s Piranesi Variations for the 2012 Venice Biennale. Kipnis’s traveling exhibition, Figure Ground Game, opened at the SCI-Arc Gallery in Los Angeles in January 2014. In 2016, he curated and presented the exhibition By Other Means for the GAA Foundation at the Palazzo Bembo in Venice, Italy.

Kipnis has been a visiting professor at Princeton University, Columbia University, the Southern California Institute of Architecture, Harvard University, and the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London.

Kipnis was awarded an honorary diploma by the Architectural Association in 2006 in recognition of his contributions to the discipline of architecture as a teacher, critic, and theorist. Other honors include the AIA Georgia Chapter Bronze Medal for Service to Architecture (1985), a Professional Development Award from the Architectural Society of Ohio Foundation (1992), and an Ohio State University Distinguished Research Award (2005).

“What made Jeff such a force in the Knowlton School was his interest in broadening the discipline of architecture, his ability to deal with contemporary issues, and his talent in making complex subjects accessible,” reflected Livesey.