Examining New Ideas in Architecture
BY CLAIRE LUI ’00
306090: A Journal of Emergent Architecture + Design
Jonathan Solomon ’00 saw a void in the architectural
press: Academic journals and consumer publications weren’t
addressing the issues that he and other young architects were discussing.
So with a group of fellow young architects, Solomon created a new
journal, 306090: A Journal of Emergent Architecture + Design,
to highlight the projects and ideas that were being ignored in the
existing architectural press.
A third-generation architect, Solomon grew up thinking about design
and its impact and speaking the language of architecture and design.
“I’ve known pretty much since age 6 or so that architecture
was something I wanted to do,” he says. “It’s
like when you grow up in a household that speaks a second language.
I’ve known forever that architecture is the language that
I wanted to speak.” After receiving his degree in urban studies
with a focus in architecture at Columbia, Solomon continued his
studies at Princeton, earning a master’s in architecture.
During Solomon’s second year in his master’s program,
he and classmate Jenny Ferng came up with the plan to start a journal
that published student work. They wanted it to be more than a house
organ for the architecture school, instead conceiving of something
that could challenge and criticize the architectural establishment,
including their own education. The first issue included the work
of several young designers and a conversation with architectural
critic Philip Nobel. After Ferng graduated, Solomon took 306090
to New York and incorporated it, bringing on new staff members,
including architecture major Emily Abruzzo ’00. Partially
funded with grants from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and the
Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, 306090
has a circulation of 2,000.
The first issue was launched with a simultaneous show at the Storefront
for Art and Architecture, named “eMeRGenT” as a nod
to the journal’s subtitle. A number of subsequent issues also
have had a concurrent “eMeRGenT” show, designed as a
way for contributors and readers to meet and to see the objects
in the journal. The events have given 306090 more exposure and brought
new and established designers together.
Jonathan Solomon ‘00
(right) and Emily Abruzzo ‘00 hope to fill a void with
PHOTO: GERALD BODZIAC
Solomon, Abruzzo and the other editors strive to create a mix of
the new and old, finding fresh ways to look at traditional topics.
Architect Michael Sorkin wrote about the possibility of an Olympics
in the Bronx, which was followed by the work of five students who
had developed models and proposals to put the plan into action.
Another article explored Nathaniel Kahn’s documentary, My
Architect, about his struggle to understand his father, Louis Kahn.
Abruzzo says the editors would like to see more student work, maybe
publishing “the very, very good competition entries that get
lost when they don’t win.” Solomon is interested in
working with “young people who are practicing in offices that
nurture and appreciate their work, and also people whose offices
are suppressing their work but are doing interesting work on the
The theme for the third issue was “Collectives and Manifestoes.”
Solomon wants to open a dialogue for architects and designers and
exhorts his colleagues to join in. He jokes that his Columbia years
were a great preparation, as “the best students are the troublemakers”
and the Columbia education “can instill a very strong belief
in making waves.” It was this belief in challenging the status
quo, combined with his four years of editorial experience at Spectator,
that led to the forming of 306090.
Distributed nationally through the Princeton Architectural Press,
306090 is available from bookstores, online booksellers,
and from its Web
Claire Lui ’00 is a freelance writer and research editor
living in Queens. Her articles have appeared in Women’s Wear
Daily and Martha Stewart Weddings.