Category Archives: 2016

MA HCT Seminar: Niloofar Kakhi (Image: Tehran, 2014. Courtesy of Fazel Khakbaz)

MA HCT Programme
Date: 07/12/2016
Time: 10:00 a.m
Venue: T.B.C. (Organised and hosted by the MA History and Critical Thinking Programme)

Niloo Khakhi“History from Below.”
‘New History is history written in deliberate reaction against the traditional paradigm’ and changes the focal point of the historical enquiry; from the national and international, to local, from the narrative to its underlying structure, from objective to subjective, and from the above to the below.
Just as general histories, the history of architecture is mostly a selective collection of what is often known as the ‘the main architects’, ‘the main buildings’, and ‘the main styles’, ‘the canon’. The question is, does such an approach truly encompass the limits of our knowledge of architecture’s past? And, how new perspectives of history can inform our understanding of the past, and its communication as architectural historians? As one of the least practiced methods of writing history of architecture, this session investigates the possibility of the use of History from Below for architectural discipline. By reviewing some examples, this session will look at its advantages and disadvantages.

The readings are:
1)  Sharpe, J 1991, ‘HISTORY FROM BELOW’. in P Burke (ed.), New Perspectives in Historical Writing. Polity Press, Oxford, pp. 24-41.

2)  P Deamer (ed.), The architect as worker: Immaterial labour, the creative class, and the politics of design. Bloomsbury Academic, London. (Introduction)

3) Thomas, L, K & Amhoff, T 2015, Writing work: Changing practices of architectural specification’. in P Deamer (ed.), The architect as worker: Immaterial labour, the creative class, and the politics of design. Bloomsbury Academic, London, pp. 121-144.

4) Grandison, K, I, 2001, ‘Negotiated space: the black college campus as a cultural record of postbellum America’. in Barton, C, E (ed.), Sites of memory: Perspectives on architecture and race. Princeton Architectural Press, New York, pp. 55-97.

 

 

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MA HCT / PhD Seminar: Anthony Vidler

MA HCT / PhD Programme
Date: 01/12/2016
Time: 1 p.m
Venue: 32 First Floor Back (Organised and hosted by the MA History and Critical Thinking Programme)

Anthony Vidler“The [New] Brutalism: Theory or Style?”

In the wake of the serious revival of love for the reinforced concrete buildings of the 60s and 70s, called more or less randomly “Brutalist” and in the light of Reyner Banham’s two essays – “The New Brutalism” (1955) and “Brutalism: Ethic or Aesthetic?” (1967), the seminar will examine the theoretical supports  of a “movement” that never became a Movement, and the ways in which journalism transformed raw concrete into a style to be hated.  The post-war of shortages, de-mobilisation, coupled with the rise of class cultural identity (“Room at the Top,” “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner,” “Lucky Jim”) produced more than the rather wistful plea of Banham’s “New Brutalism,” while the theoretical developments stemming from the culture of “as found” were more far -reaching than have been recognized, and are still remarkably prescient with respect to today’s over-the-top star-building and under-funded social habitat. Our future will need more “as found” and less “buy and sell.”

Readings:
Reyner Banham, “The New Brutalism” Architectural Review 1955, On Line
Reyner Banham, The New Brutalism: Ethic or Aesthetic? 1967
Steve Parnell, “Ethics VS Aesthetics Architectural Design 1965-1972,” www.field-journal.org vol.4(1)
Owen Hatherley, “Strange, Angry Objects,” London Review of BooksVol. 38, No. 22 (17 November 2016), pp.11-16.
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Design by words

Workshop on reading and writing with Fabrizio Gallanti and Marina Lathouri
In this intensive workshop, writing is considered as practice of thinking and a tool to communicate ideas in a clear and direct way, moving away from the complexities of architectural jargon and academic writing.

The objective is to introduce the students to formats and techniques of writing, with particular emphasis on the strategies to advance and develop ideas at an early stage of work. For such purpose, three readings are suggested, and three exercises (evaluated and discussed on a daily basis) will be developed over the course of a week, with early morning and late afternoons sessions (to guarantee time in between for the act of writing).

We have published some examples of the work produced by the MA HCT students in the 2014/15 and 2015/16 editions of the Design by Words workshop.

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Design by words 2015/16

Workshop on reading and writing with Fabrizio Gallanti and Marina Lathouri held between 4-6 of May.
In this intensive workshop, writing is considered as practice of thinking and a tool to communicate ideas in a clear and direct way, moving away from the complexities of architectural jargon and academic writing.

The objective is to introduce the students to formats and techniques of writing, with particular emphasis on the strategies to advance and develop ideas at an early stage of work. For such purpose, three readings are suggested, and three exercises (evaluated and discussed on a daily basis) will be developed over the course of a week, with early morning and late afternoons sessions (to guarantee time in between for the act of writing).

 

Day 1

Constanza Larach – Book cover: Manufacturing Global Memory

Cecilia Larrea Mijares – Book cover

 

 

Ushma Thakrar – Book cover: The Custodial Subject

 

Federico Ortiz – Book cover: Co-operative Pedagogies

 

 

Evonne Jiawei Yuan – Book cover: The Art-Architecture Complex of Instant Garden

 

Silvia Mundula – Book Cover: The non-architectural Perception of Space

 

 

 

Day 2

Constanza Larach – Tweets

 

Cecilia Larrea Mijares – Tweets

 

 

Ushma Thakrar – Tweets

 

Federico Ortiz – Tweets

 

 

Silvia Mundula – Tweets

 

Day 3 Constanza Larach – Book cover: Manufacturing Global Memory

 

 

Cecilia Larrea Mijares – Book cover

 

Silvia Mundula – Book Cover: The non-architectural Perception of Space

 

 

Ushma Thakrar – Book cover: The Custodial Subject

 

Federico Ortiz – Book cover: Co-operative Pedagogies

 

 

Evonne Jiawei Yuan – Book cover: The Art-Architecture Complex of Instant Garden

 

Silvia Mundula – Book Cover: The non-architectural Perception of Space

 

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HCT Debates: Nadir Lahiji

Hans_Holbein_Younger_German_Renaissance

Organised and hosted by Marina Lathouri

Series: HCT Debates: Dis-locutions, the architectural and the political
Date: 18/3/2016
Time: 14:00:00
Venue: New Soft Room

HCT Debates: Dis-locutions, the architectural and the political

The HCT Debates provide a venue for exchange of ideas and arguments. External speakers are invited every week to present and engage with tutors and students. The aim is to position the multiple voices making possible a process of thinking in common, by definition a pedagogical practice different from the seminar or the lecture. The sessions are open to the public.

 

Nadir Lahiji: Architecture, Philosophy, and the Subject of the Baroque

The return of the Baroque in contemporary theory is apparent in the way various academic disciplines are attempting to re-engage with it at a philosophical level. Contemporary architecture, in particular, is notable for an almost obsessive concern with the Baroque and for importing many related concepts from French philosophy into its discourse. Unfortunately, however, to the price of such borrowings has been a massive simplification and reduction of the radical critical core of this remarkable body of work. In this seminar, I examine architecture’s misadventures with the Baroque and submit them to a rigorous critique.

Readings:

Christine Buci-Glucksmann, The Madness of Vision, On Baroque Aesthetics, trans., Dorothy Z. Baker (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2013)

Gilles Deleuze’s, The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque, Chapter 3.

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PhD / MA HCT Programme: Sven-Olov Wallenstein

Cover Site Journal published by S.O. Wallenstein / 33.2013

Cover ‘Site’ Journal published by S.O. Wallenstein / 33.2013

PhD / MA HCT Programme
Date: 14/3/2016
Time: 18:00:00
Venue: New Soft Room (Organised and hosted by Marina Lathouri)

 

Sven-Olov Wallenstein: Architecture and the Possibility of Critical Theory

The talk explores the possibility of developing a critical theory of architecture that takes into account the critique of dialectics that has been a commonplace in recent philosophy. The ideas of mimesis, negativity, and contradiction, as they were once formulated by Adorno need to be revisited in the light of current developments, both theoretical and practical, and yet, I will propose, they have bearings on the present, precisely because they hold on to the idea of subjectivity and experience as a form of resistance, at a moment when these concepts are being refashioned in terms of the projective and the instrumental.

 

Sven-Olov Wallenstein is Professor of Philosophy at Södertörn University, Stockholm, and editor-in-chief of Site. He is the translator of works by Baumgarten, Winckelmann, Lessing, Kant, Hegel, Frege, Husserl, Heidegger, Levinas, Derrida, Deleuze, Foucault, Rancière and Agamben, as well as the author of numerous books on philosophy, contemporary art, and architecture. Recent publications include Biopolitics and the Emergence of Modern Architecture (2009), Swedish Modernism: Architecture, Consumption and the Welfare State (ed. with Helena Mattsson, 2010), Nihilism, Art, Technology (2011), Translating Hegel: The Phenomenology of Spirit and Modern Philosophy (ed. with Brian Manning Delaney, 2012), Foucault, Biopolitics, and Governmentality (ed. with Jakob Nilsson, 2013), and Madness, Religion, and the Limits of Reason (ed. with Jonna Bornemark) Forthcoming in 2016: Architecture, Critique, Ideology: Essays on Architecture and Theory.

 

 

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HCT Debates: Nina Power

The_collective_political_subject

 

 

Organised and hosted by Marina Lathouri

Series: HCT Debates: Dis-locutions, the architectural and the political
Date: 11/3/2016
Time: 14:00:00
Venue: New Soft Room

HCT Debates: Dis-locutions, the architectural and the political

The HCT Debates provide a venue for exchange of ideas and arguments. External speakers are invited every week to present and engage with tutors and students. The aim is to position the multiple voices making possible a process of thinking in common, by definition a pedagogical practice different from the seminar or the lecture. The sessions are open to the public.

 

Nina Power: The Collective Political Subject: Some Contemporary Ideas

This seminar will look at various recent attempts to conceptualise mass or group subjects in the wake of the supposed disappearance of the working class. It will look at the ideas of Hardt & Negri, Badiou and others, and the concept of work in particular as the site for thinking about what collectives might emerge today.

Nina Power teaches Philosophy at the University of Roehampton and Critical Writing in Art & Design at the Royal College of Art.

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HCT Debates: Jorella Andrews

Robert Smithson, installation view, Cayuga Salt Mine Project exhibited at Cornell University, 1969

Robert Smithson, installation view, Cayuga Salt Mine Project
exhibited at Cornell University, 1969

Organised and hosted by Marina Lathouri, John Palmesino and Douglas Spencer

Series: HCT Debates: Dis-locutions, the architectural and the political
Date: 04/3/2016
Time: 11:00:00
Venue: New Soft Room

HCT Debates: Dis-locutions, the architectural and the political

The HCT Debates provide a venue for exchange of ideas and arguments. External speakers are invited every week to present and engage with tutors and students. The aim is to position the multiple voices making possible a process of thinking in common, by definition a pedagogical practice different from the seminar or the lecture. The sessions are open to the public.

 

Jorella Andrews: Where is called Thinking?

In this seminar – the title of which plays with Heidegger’s classic 1951/52 lecture ‘What is Called Thinking?’ – we will consider practices of thinking, and hence learning, from an inter-corporeal perspective. More specifically, we will think about material structures and infrastructures, and specific situated material performances, that may be seen variously to gather or provoke or redirect thought, thus reconfiguring more conventional ideas we might have as to its nature, location and trajectories.

Our case-studies – which will hopefully also enable us to ask broad questions about how our own contemporary institutional contexts and processes of learning could be reimagined and remade – will include portions of Heidegger’s above-named text: his discussions of the withdrawal of that which must be thought, for instance, and of thought as ‘recollection’. We will also consider insights drawn from Gary Shapiro’s chapter ‘Uncanny Materiality’ (Earthwards: Robert Smithson and Art after Babel, 1995) in which he reflects on the methods and implications of Robert Smithson’s material thought and the questions he raises about the location of art. Visual case studies will range from Smithson’s Cayuga Salt Mine Project, exhibited at Cornell University, 1969, to documentation of students and faculty constructing the Studies Building, Black Mountain College in Fall 1940 to, further back in time, the intricacies and agencies of Saint Jerome’s desk in Antonello da Messina 1475 painting Saint Jerome in His Study (National Gallery, London).

Readings:

  • Extracts from: Martin Heidegger, What is Called Thinking? Perennial, 1976 (PDF attached).
  • Gary Shapiro, “Uncanny Materiality: Decentering Art and Vision” in Earthwards: Robert Smithson and Art after Babel, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, University of California Press, 1995, pp. 59 -112, plus notes 245-250.

 

Writing Project:

  • 100 words of writing in response to the “Where is Called Thinking” theme drawn from personal experience and, if you like, also drawing on some aspect of the reading.

 

Jorella Andrews is a senior lecturer in the department of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London. Her academic work focuses on the relations between philosophical inquiry, the image-world, and art practice, with a particular emphasis on phenomenology (notably the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty). She is also engaged with current debates in the area of material culture. Relevant publications include the essay ‘Critical Materialities’ (2006) and the books Visual Cultures as Objects and Affects (2013) with Simon O’Sullivan and Showing Off! A Philosophy of Image (2014).

 

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HCT Debates: Ines Weizman

Customs House, Photographer Ortrun Bargholz @2014

Customs House, Photographer Ortrun Bargholz @2014

Organised and hosted by Marina Lathouri, John Palmesino and Douglas Spencer

Series: HCT Debates: Dis-locutions, the architectural and the political
Date: 26/2/2016
Time: 14:00:00
Venue: New Soft Room

HCT Debates: Dis-locutions, the architectural and the political

The HCT Debates provide a venue for exchange of ideas and arguments. External speakers are invited every week to present and engage with tutors and students. The aim is to position the multiple voices making possible a process of thinking in common, by definition a pedagogical practice different from the seminar or the lecture. The sessions are open to the public.

 

Ines Weizman: Bauhaus on the Golan – Modernism along the Sykes-Picot Line

This talk will present the story of a customs house in the Golan Heights to which locals refer as ‘Bauhaus’. Beyond being a fascinating case study of early modernism in ‘migration’ this building captures the complex history of transformation in the Middle East which originates from a treaty between British and French Diplomats to draw a dividing line through the Ottoman Empire. We will look at the geopolitical consequences of that border that cut through trans-Arabian infrastructures and at the role of architecture in the colonial history of the Levant.

Ines Weizman is professor of architecture theory at the Bauhaus University Weimar and director of the Bauhaus-Institute of History and Theory of Architecture and Planning and director of the Centre for Documentary Architecture. Her books include Architecture and the Paradox of Dissidence (2014) and Before and After: Documenting the Architecture of Disaster (with Eyal Weizman, 2014). In 2015 she edited a volume of Journal Future Anterior (with Jorge Otero-Pailos). Her writing has been published in books, magazines and journals such as AA Files, ADD METAPHYSICS, ARCH+, Bauhaus Magazine, BEYOND, Displayer, JAE, Harvard Design Magazine, Perspecta, Volume and The Sage Handbook of Architectural Theory. Research and exhibition projects include ‘Celltexts. Books and other works produced in prison’ (with Eyal Weizman) first exhibited at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turino (2008, 2009, 2014, 2014, 2015) http://celltexts.org/ and ‘Repeat Yourself. Loos, Law and the Culture of the Copy’ first presented in the Arsenale at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2012 (part of the Museum of Copies curated by FAT), an installation that has been shown also in Vienna and in New York in 2013.

Recommended reading

 Sharon Roṭbard, White city, black city : architecture and war in Tel Aviv and Jaffa, London 2015

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HCT Debates: Maria Theodorou

Organised and hosted by Marina Lathouri, John Palmesino and Douglas Spencer

Series: HCT Debates: Dis-locutions, the architectural and the political
Date: 19/2/2016
Time: 14:00:00
Venue: New Soft Room

HCT Debates: Dis-locutions, the architectural and the political

The HCT Debates provide a venue for exchange of ideas and arguments. External speakers are invited every week to present and engage with tutors and students. The aim is to position the multiple voices making possible a process of thinking in common, by definition a pedagogical practice different from the seminar or the lecture. The sessions are open to the public.

 

Maria Theodorou: Housing for Emancipated Wives and Bertrand Russell’s Contemplative Habit of Mind (London 1935 And 2016)

The British philosopher Bertrand Russell advocates for an architecture reform, in his “Architecture and Social Questions” essay; the 1935 text, written in between the two world wars, adds up to our historical knowledge on a particular aspect of the social housing discourse, which Russell centers on the position of woman within the family living and working arrangements. The talk goes beyond the obvious association of Russell’s text with ‘feminism’, and focuses instead on how the discussion of housing is embedded in Russell’s own distinctive conceptual framework. In fact, “Architecture and Social Questions” is one of the 15 essays gathered and published together under the telling title In Praise of idleness which advocates for “a contemplative habit of mind”. Can the revisiting of Russell’s ‘cool reflection’ provide the conceptual tools to approach the current context of London’s maddening housing provision, articulated in terms of ‘density’ and ‘scarcity’? The talk migrates Russell’s 1935 mindset to question the demand for more housing in 2016 London; Can Russell’s ‘contemplative state of mind’ serve us well in understanding a city with a growing population in which the urban impact of conflicting interests is manifested in the rich and poor widening divide but played out in terms of housing?

Maria Theodorou, PhD (AA), architect ARB/RIBA, Fulbright visiting fellow (Princeton, 2005). Maria is the director and founding member of the independent School of Architecture for All (SARCHA) and a senior lecturer at Leeds School of Architecture. Her research, publications and teaching centers on ‘architecture and the political and she is currently organizing the 6th International Conference on Architecture Competitions (ICC 2016).

http://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/staff/dr-maria-theodorou/

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HCT Debates: Marco Ferrari

Organised and hosted by Marina Lathouri, John Palmesino and Douglas Spencer

Series: HCT Debates: Dis-locutions, the architectural and the political
Date: 5/2/2016
Time: 14:00:00
Venue: New Soft Room

HCT Debates: Dis-locutions, the architectural and the political

The HCT Debates provide a venue for exchange of ideas and arguments. External speakers are invited every week to present and engage with tutors and students. The aim is to position the multiple voices making possible a process of thinking in common, by definition a pedagogical practice different from the seminar or the lecture. The sessions are open to the public.

 

Marco Ferrari: Italian Limes—the Politics of Cartography

Italian Limes is an ongoing research project on the movable borders on the Alps. It focuses on the effects of climate change on shrinking glaciers and the consequent shifts of the watershed line that defines the national borders of Italy, Austria, Switzerland and France. The most remote areas of the Alps—so inaccessible that they were regarded, up until the beginning of the last century, as terra incognita—have been the proving ground for a constant advance in the technological means aimed to give spatial certainty to the 20th century nation-state. Investigating the fragile balance of the Alpine ecosystem, along with the history of experimental mapping technologies, Italian Limes shows how natural frontiers are subject to the complexity of continuous ecological processes, depending on the technologies and norms we use to represent it.

 

Marco Ferrari (1981) is an architect and designer based in Milan, Italy. He has been editor at Abitare magazine from 2007 and 2011, and creative director of Domus magazine between 2011 and 2013. He has been one of the founding partners of Salottobuono, an architectural research collective based in Venice and active between 2006 and 2012. In 2012 he co-founded Folder—Agency for visual and spatial research. He teaches Methods and Tools for Representation at ISIA in Urbino, and Information Design at the MA Communication Design at IUAV University in Venice.

 

 

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Lecture / Seminar with Mario Carpo

Alberti’s media technologies: the invention of perspective, of design notations and 3d copies

Friday 5 February / 11:00pm / New Soft Room

 

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Drawing Matter – Tina di Carlo

Thursday, 22 October, 2015

10:00 AM, Architectural Association, London, 37 First Floor Front

The first lecture held by Tina di Carlo, as part of the History and Critical Thinking M.A. Programme at the Architectural Association.

Tina DiCarlo is a Europe-based writer and curator. She is currently a PhD Fellow in Place and Displacement: Exhibiting Architecture, funded by the Noweigian Research Council at the Oslo Center for Critical Architectural Studies, Oslo School of Architecture. From 2000-2007 she was a curator at the Museum of Modern Art, New York where she curated and assisted on numerous exhibitions, including: OMA in Beijing: The China Central Television Headquarters by Rem Koolhaas (2006), Emilio Ambasz: House of Spiritual Retreat (2005), The High Line (2005), Envisioning Architecture (2004), and with Terence Riley, Yoshio Taniguchi: Nine Museum (2004), Tall Buildings (2004) and The Changing of the Avant-Garde (2002). Since then her largest curatorial project to date includes advising on a 200-hectare resort, for a luxury development in Northeast Brazil in collaboration with Winkreative.

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