Plan the Planet – Part 1



Lecture date: 2015-03-20

Speakers: Ellen Shoshkes, Keller Easterling, Gediminas & Nomeda Urbonas, Irit Rogoff, John Palmesino, Ann-Sofi Rönnskog

AA Think Tank conference

Organised with the support of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts

The conference will celebrate and inquire into the career of one the AA’s first female students. It aims at re-establishing the legacy of the largely unknown Jaqueline Tyrwhitt (1905-1983), a key figure in the development of 20th century modern architecture and planning, with collaborations ranging from Sigfried Giedion, Constantinos Doxiadis to Buckminster Fuller and Marshall McLuhan, and at re-invigorating the debate on contemporary forms of planning and international cooperation.

At the centre of a vast series of major modern architectural innovations was a woman largely unacknowledged, whose work has contributed in reshaping the ways we think the world. Jaqueline Tyrwhitt was at the focus of innovative trajectories that linked modern architecture and urbanism to new technologies of vision and integrated spatial planning, international cooperations and new concepts of cohabitation around the entire planet. Tyrwhitt’s work is for the major part invisible: at the side of Sigfried Giedion for his American works, behind the scenes of the CIAM conferences, next to Constantinos Doxiadis for the Delos Symposion and the Ekistics research, she organised, structured, built up and constantly innovated a new way of thinking the ideals of the modern city.

Tyrwhitt was at the heart of the major architectural experiences of the 20th century, playing a key role in setting up, organising and forming a new culture of modern planning, international cooperation and innovative approaches to technology and government, yet Jaqueline Tyrwhitt remains a largely unacknowledged figure. From her studies at the Architectural Association, and her work on Patrick Geddes’ planning principles, to her collaboration with Sigfried Giedion on all his major English books, to the work for CIAM, UNESCO, the United Nations, and the further development of spatial strategies and planning principles; from her work at the side of Constantinos Doxiadis and Buckminster Fuller to her thoughts on integrated spatial analysis and multi-layered cartography, the work of Jaqueline Tyrwhitt was at the forefront of multiple strands of architectural innovation. Yet she was largely invisible, and her experience is rarely mentioned, if not rapidly in bibliographical notes.

The symposium brings together major thinkers and practitioners from the fields that Tyrwhitt has helped to form, investigating not only the heritage of her incredible career, but also re-invigorating some of the debates that marked her life. What does it mean to think of planning today? What are the scales and modes of intervention? How does architecture conceptualise its relation to other form-generating processes? What is it to think about architecture globally?

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