Marleen Newman’s work as a teacher, architect, and researcher spans the interrelated fields of history, architecture and social theory. She will bring her expertise to “Foundations and Futures” this fall to highlight the confluence of these subjects in Columbus. Newman is participating in the Modern Art & Life session, chaired by Michelangelo Sabatino.
Newman is the associate director of the Indiana University College of Art and Design (IUCA+D) in Columbus. She has served on the faculty at Indiana University Bloomington since 2003. Previously, Newman taught at Roger Williams University, Wentworth University of Technology, and the Boston Architectural Center. Newman earned a master of architecture degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She is also an architect who has worked at a number of prominent architectural firms in Boston, such as Benjamin Thompson and Associates, Moshe Safdie and Associates and Perry Dean Rogers and Partners. As a teacher and a practicing architect, Newman’s work emphasizes sustainability, adaptive reuse, and historic preservation.
In 2014, Newman co-organized “Creative Syncretism: The Early Architectural Work of Harry Weese,” a workshop at IUCA+D in Columbus where she also presented on the topic of regional modernism. Newman will share further work on Harry Weese during the Modern Art & Life session with a talk titled “Forgotten Architecture: Harry Weese and the Social Agenda of Modernism.” Chicago-based architect Harry Weese contributed many of the significant modern buildings that defined mid-century Columbus. His beautiful, functional buildings bring people together for many aspects of modern life: education (Lillian C. Schmitt Elementary School, 1957 and Northside Junior High School, 1961), recreation (Lincoln Center Ice Skating Rink, 1958 and Otter Creek Clubhouse 1965), work (Eastbrook Branch Bank, 1961 and the Cummins Tech Center, 1968), and worship (First Baptist Church,1965). Weese’s designs always focus on the people who will live, work, learn and play there, and on how people relate to each other in that space. Newman explains, “Weese’s architecture has a social agenda that reflects the agenda of Modernism as a whole.” Columbus is an ideal setting for reflection upon Weese’s architecture and Modernism, since the legacy of the town is closely linked to both. Additionally, the civic initiatives set in motion by the Miller family directly shaped the social legacy of Columbus. It is intuitive that the architecture of Columbus would resonate with its socially progressive character. Newman’s expertise in architectural history and experience in the field will provide insight to the intersections of architecture and social change in Columbus.
Newman’s participation in “Foundations and Futures” will demonstrate why the social agenda set forth through Modernism and present in Weese’s work is relevant to modern art and life. Newman said, “Weese’s work dealt with the built environment, but underlying social processes of the time permeated everything he designed.” Like Weese, Newman’s work examines both the built and the social environment.