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Architecture Itself and Other Postmodernist Myths (2019)


    The exhibition Architecture Itself and Other Postmodernist Myths presents many ignored and inconvenient contingencies of postmodernist architectural practice. Traces of these external forces are often left in forgotten documents, the salvage of ordinary processes, and assembling them together disturbs the smooth maintenance of the myths of architectural autonomy. Looking beyond North America, the series Meanwhile, in… considers the role of changed contexts in shaping postmodernisms elsewhere, by assembling case studies from other countries, with other cultural concerns and other contingencies.


    • Sylvia Lavin – Architecture Itself and Other Postmodernist Myths
    • André Bideau – Meanwhile, in Frankfur
    • Léa-Catherine Szacka – Meanwhile, in London
    • Kuba Snopek – Meanwhile, in Warsaw

    Symposium on Architecture: How to See Architecture: Bruno Zevi (MArch ’42) (2018)


      One hundred years after his birth, the prolific work of Roman architect Bruno Zevi continues to engage current problems in theory and criticism, and deserves to be revisited. From the publication of Towards an Organic Architecture, in 1945, to his monograph on Erik Gunnar Asplund published the very year of his death in 2000, many of his books have had an electrifying effect on architects and historians. Active as educator and as political activist, he was an engaged, charismatic contributor to the public discussion through his weekly chronicle in L’Espresso. Beyond Italy, Zevi has had a determining presence in Latin America and other parts of the world.

      Held at a school where his passage between 1940 and 1942 was far from uneventful, this symposium addresses issues relative to Zevi’s life, to his writings and to his brave fights for his ideas. His position in Italian politics and in the historical interpretation of architecture will be questioned, as well as the theoretical, narrative and rhetorical strategies at work in his engaged texts.

      Lab Cult: An unorthodox history of interchanges between science and architecture (2018)


        Today, after many decades of questioning science’s capacity to provide answers to architecture’s social mandate, architects and designers are once again enchanted with the concept of the laboratory. Originally conceived as the physical space for the practice of alchemy and crystalized in its modern form during the Enlightenment, the laboratory has become an omnipresent term in architectural education, practice and theory. Architecture schools, corporate firms and governmental think tanks are once again saturated with “design labs,” all of which promise to provide objective and precise solutions to contemporary design challenges. In its ubiquity as metaphor, physical space, and visual aesthetic, the laboratory has become an unquestioned dogma. At a moment when science and the production of scientific knowledge are once again undergoing an attack, architecture’s reinvigorated faith in the infallibility of science paradoxically resembles the blind devotion of a religious cult.

        Instead of reinforcing any preconceived hierarchies between these two fields, Lab Cult explores a more symmetrical narrative. Through an eclectic juxtaposition of case studies from science and architecture, this exhibition suggests a history of close-knit relationships and mutual exchanges. Architects are often accused of borrowing, transforming or even misappropriating scientific ideas, tools and working protocols in their attempt to systematize the intuitive aspects of the creative process. At the same time, though, scientists strongly rely on architectural concepts, representations and material means to stage and communicate sophisticated set-ups of rigorous investigation.

        The exhibition is organized under six themes: “Designing Instruments, “Measuring Movement,” “Visualizing Forces,” “Testing Animals,” “Building Models,” and “Observing Behaviour.” Each of these themes is presented by pairing one historical case study from science with one from architecture. Ranging from the late 19th century to the early 1980s, these case studies identify the ways in which working concepts, methods and protocols have been exchanged across different time periods between scientists and architects of diverse disciplinary backgrounds, such as architecture, psychology, engineering, physiology, mathematics, industrial design, computer science and others.

        Encounters with Arakawa and Madeline Gins (2018)


          A half-day conference on the occasion of the opening of the Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery exhibition Arakawa and Madeline Gins: Eternal Gradient. The event convenes architects, artists, historians and writers to offer fresh interpretations of Arakawa and Gins’ work and theories in the context of contemporary practices and scholarship.


          1:00pm Introduction

          Irene Sunwoo, Director of Exhibitions, Columbia GSAPP

          1:15pm Practice for Living

          Miwako Tezuka, Consulting Curator at Reversible Destiny Foundation/Estate of Madeline Gins

          Momoyo Homma, Director of Arakawa + Gins Tokyo Office (Coordinologist, Inc.)

          Moderated by Julian Rose, Co-Founder, formlessfinder, and Adjunct Assistant Professor, Columbia GSAPP

          2:30pm Eternal Gradient

          Carrie Norman, Co-Founder, Norman Kelley, and exhibition designers, Arakawa and Madeline Gins: Eternal Gradient in conversation with Irene Sunwoo and Tiffany Lambert, Columbia GSAPP Exhibitions

          3:10pm Politics of the Page

          Lucy Ives, poet and editor of a forthcoming collection of Madeline Gins’ writing

          Léopold Lambert, architect and editor of The Funambulist


          4:30pm Architectural Bodies

          Spyros Papapetros, Associate Professor, History and Theory of Architecture, Princeton University

          Adrienne Hart, Artistic Director / Choreographer, Neon Dance

          Moderated by Andrés Jaque, Founder, Office for Political Innovation, and Adjunct Associate Professor, Columbia GSAPP

          5:45pm Endings/Beginnings

          Troy Conrad Therrien, Curator, Architecture and Digital Initiatives, Guggenheim Museum Jenna Sutela, Visual Artist

          Ed Keller, Associate Professor of Design Strategies & Director of the Center for Transformative Media, Parsons The New School for Design

          AA XX 100: AA Women and Architecture in Context 1917-2017


            An international conference convened by the Architectural Association and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art with a rich programme of presentations, panel discussions, distinguished keynotes, and an open jury to celebrate the centenary of women at the AA.


            Fitch Colloquium Ex-Situ (2017)


              The act of moving historical buildings to new locations has been part and parcel of modern preservation practice since its origins in the early 19th century, when fragments of some of the great monuments of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt were relocated to Europe. Although the practice never quite stopped, 20th century preservationists demoted it to a preservation solution of last resort. Today, various external pressures, from rising sea levels to economic pressure, are making preservationists reconsider the practice of ex-situ preservation.

              As a result, a new critical engagement with preservation’s colonial history is emerging. Core concepts, such as the primacy of context, are being reconsidered. Fundamental practices such as the archiving of architectural fragments are being redefined. And new technologies are being developed. The 2017 Fitch Colloquium examines these and other emerging philosophical, social, technical and environmental questions raised by moving buildings.


              Panel 1: Urban Moves

              • Tony Mazzo, Urban Foundation/Engineering, LLC
              • Krister Lindstedt, White Arkitekter
              • Amanda Schachter and Alexander Levi, SLO Architecture
              • Mary Ellen Carroll, MEC, studios
              • Moderated by Erica Avrami, Columbia GSAPP

              Panel 2: Political Moves

              • Constance S. Silver, Preservart, Inc.
              • Dean Sully, University College London, Institute of Archaeology
              • Mabel O. Wilson, Columbia GSAPP
              • Ryan Mendoza, Artist
              • Moderated by Jorge Otero-Pailos, Columbia GSAPP

              Panel 3: Archival Moves

              • Janet Parks, Columbia University
              • Maite Borjabad López-Pastor, The Art Institute of Chicago
              • Can Bilsel, University of San Diego
              • Mari Lending, The Oslo School of Architecture and Design
              • Moderated by Andrew Dolkart, Columbia GSAPP


              Besides, History: Go Hasegawa, Kersten Geers, David Van Severen (2017)


                What role can history play in contemporary architecture practice?

                Rather than adopting a postmodern attitude or evoking past discussions and historical architectural forms, Go Hasegawa, Kersten Geers, and David Van Severen address contemporary issues in their work while remaining in dialogue with history. Even with distinct pasts and contexts, affinities emerge in shared concerns and approaches.

                In this exhibition, the architects reread, redraw, translate, and appropriate from the past and from each other in order to construct relationships and meaning out of a constellation of references. History becomes something that can be used rather than just studied.

                These videos offer a look at the rooms that make up the 2017 exhibition “Besides, History: Go Hasegawa, Kersten Geers, David Van Severen.” Curator Giovanna Borasi, Kersten Geers, Stefano Graziani, Go Hasegawa, and David Van Severen explain how each room helps to establish a three-party conversation, between two architecture practices and history.

                Rethinking Pei: A Centenary Symposium (2017)


                  A two-part symposium examining the work and life of I. M. Pei from multiple vantage points. Organized by the Harvard GSD with M+, Hong Kong, and the Faculty of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong.

                  Ieoh Ming Pei is one of the most celebrated yet under-theorized architects of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Although Pei’s six-decade career is mostly identified with his unwavering interest in cultural synthesis and the power of pure geometrical form, his modes of practice demand further investigation of their intertwinement with the multiple historical and discursive moments of modern architecture.

                  The two-day symposium will include panel discussions and scholarly presentations that showcase new research on Pei’s manifold contributions to the built environment. Notable alumni from Pei’s office will discuss the emergence of a new kind of architectural practice in the postwar era. Among the topics to be addressed in the paper sessions are technological innovations with concrete, the glass curtain wall, and structural designs; Pei’s longstanding affinities for China’s landscape and vernacular traditions; his legacy on major urban spaces in Boston and other cities around the world; and the increasingly global and transnational conditions of architectural production that Pei successfully navigated.

                  Organized with M+, the new museum for visual culture being built in Hong Kong, this symposium is part of a yearlong celebration of the 100th birthday of Ieoh Ming (I. M.) Pei MArch ’46. Both I. M. and his wife, Eileen Pei GSD ’44, studied at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, as did their sons Chien Chung (Didi) Pei, AB ’68, MArch ’72, and Li Chung (Sandi) Pei, AB ’72, MArch ’76. Pei was also an assistant professor of architecture at the GSD. In March the GSD held a panel discussion, led by Harry Cobb AB ’47, MArch ’49, which focused on the formative years of I. M. Pei’s career as well as some of his special friendships, influences, and projects.

                  GSD at the Chicago Architecture Biennial: New Materialisms (2017)


                    “New Materialisms: Histories Make Practice | Practices Make History” brings together historians, critics, and practitioners to discuss the complex ways in which architecture is imagined, made, and interpreted. Whereas in the current intellectual climate, accounts of architecture’s materiality by historians often pivot on a fealty to the influence of contexts and networks, new materialist histories must account for the very particular inscription of architectural affects and their peculiar ability to resonate across shifting contexts and times. And while some design practices too often reduce material to the mere stuff of building (however sophisticated that stuff may be), new materialist practices have begun to explore deeply human drives and desires that construct architectural experience as performative, indeterminate, and multiple. Key in these discussions will be the potential reciprocities between history and practice, and hence the unraveling of the traces of the one within the other.

                    The symposium will be divided into halves:

                    Panel 1. Practices Make History Mohsen Mostafavi Sharon Johnston Antoine Picon Tatiana Bilbao Emanuel Christ Frank Barkow Francis Kéré

                    Panel 2 Histories Make Practice Michael Hays Mark Lee Antón García-Abril Anna Neimark Sofia von Ellrichshausen “New Materialisms: Histories Make Practice | Practices Make History” will take place on Thursday, September 14 from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. in Chicago Cultural Center’s Claudia Cassidy Theater. The Chicago Architecture Biennial is the largest platform for contemporary architecture in North America. The 2017 Biennial, entitled Make New History, will be free and open to the public between September 16, 2017 and January 6, 2018. The 2017 Biennial is directed by Artistic Directors Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee.

                    Toolkit for Today 2017: Oral History


                      Toolkit invites scholars to reveal their tools and reflect on them in a convivial atmosphere. The 2017 Toolkit for Today seminar on “Oral History” will consider the potential and challenges of oral history as methodology and its use for historians and critics as a source of information or as a way to collect evidence otherwise difficult to grasp or witness.