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City Tech Professor Finds Balance Between Ceramics and Architecture
City Tech Professor Lia M. Dikigoropoulou (Architectural Technology) enjoys mud-slinging as much as she does designing buildings.
Dikigoropoulou, a Registered Architect certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, is also a ceramics artist whose work will be on view from June 30 through September 3, in the exhibit titled, “Meditation Through Ceramics,” at the Ursula C. Schwerin Library on the City Tech campus, located at 300 Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn. Dates and times are as follows: June 30 - August 12, Mondays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; August 16 - September 3, Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Architecture was a natural career choice for her, says the Downtown Brooklyn resident and Cyprus émigré. “I always liked to draw and also liked math. When I was deciding what to do with my life, architecture was a good combination of the two.”
As she explains the relationship between her two artistic interests, “Ceramics is a different way of creating three-dimensional objects. Buildings are sculpture, in a way. Pottery is more immediate creating, as compared to architecture, which is a very long process. Both are very rewarding; it’s nice to see something you do actually being made.”
Dikigoropoulou came to the United States to attend architecture school at the University of Minnesota. While there she wanted to take ceramics classes, but with the intensity of the architecture program it was hard to balance art and architecture.
It was not until years later, after she moved to New York, got her master’s degree from Columbia University and was a registered architect, that she fulfilled her dream. While working as an architect, she also began to work with clay, taking ceramics classes at Greenwich House Pottery in Lower Manhattan. “It was quite relaxing and meditative; it got me away from everyday life,” she says.
Originally, Dikigoropoulou joined City Tech as an adjunct, and has been a full-time professor for two years, teaching mostly design classes in architectural technology to third- and fourth-year students. Passionate about travel and its educational value, she has escorted her students to various places like Chicago, Falling Water in Pennsylvania and Greece.
Her interest in “green” architecture and sustainability prompted her to take the College’s Continuing Education class, “Introduction to Green Roofs and Living Walls.” The need for a “green” approach to architecture is obvious to her. “Everyone is asking for what’s sustainable.”
The theme of natural materials also runs through her ceramics. One of Dikigoropoulou’s favorite pieces in the collection on display is “Maple Leaves,” a bowl with exposed raw clay on the outside. The leaf impressions on its inside are of real maple leaves from Washington State, which she inlaid in the clay, then removed later in the process. A bud vase suspended in an upright rectangle she says was harder to make, because of that frame. All the pieces are from the artist’s personal collection. “Usually I give them away,” she says, “but these I keep for sentimental value.”
Dikigoropoulou’s work has been exhibited and sold at the Atlantic Art Walk in Brooklyn and at Greenwich House Pottery; other clients have come to her through word of mouth and at Christmas time last year, when she opened her home to visitors.