Category Archives: news

HCT/PhD joint seminar on History

Organised and hosted by Marina Lathouri

Series: HCT / PhD Seminar
Date: 01/12/2017
Time: 10:00am
Venue: 4 Morwell street, 1st Floor

On Friday 1st of December at 10:00am, seven PhD students will be presenting to the MA History and Critical Thinking students aspects of the work of seven historians, or better, seven modes of approaching and writing history. The emphasis will be put on the ways in which these have been significant in their own doctoral research, construction of evidence and of the main set of questions.

This day will also be a good introduction to the joint seminar PhD/HCT Open Debates on the broader theme of History and Language which will start in Term 2 on Friday morning. More detailed brief along with dates and names of visiting speakers will follow.

 

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‘Drawing Matter’ seminar with Tina di Carlo

This three-day workshop will draw on the collection of Drawing Matter to use drawing as a pedagogical tool, to reveal a historiography and a critical approach and method. Drawings, their collection and exhibition, will be considered as modes of thinking, in the materiality, as they convey information, techniques, ideas and attitudes about architecture and the limits of representation.

The first seminar will present a broad overview of the collection, focusing on 1952-1988 when drawing went through a series of reinventions and the limits architecture were questioned though the language of drawing. The second session will feature a discussion with curators Ellis Woodman and Manuel Montenegro on the James Gowan and Alvaro Siza exhibition, currently on view at the AA. It will consider the juxtaposition of four social housing complexes to consider different modes of drawing. The third seminar will present an in-depth consideration and reading of sketchbooks. Underpinning each session will be considerations of exhibition and display.

Rooms are to be confirmed.

Monday 20 March, 11:00 – 1:00

MA History and Critical Thinking Drawing Matter Seminar with Tina di Carlo

Tuesday 21 March, 5:00 – 7:00

MA History and Critical Thinking Drawing Matter Open Seminar

Tina di Carlo in conversation with curators Ellis Woodman and Manuel Montenegro on the James Gowan and Alvaro Siza exhibition, currently on view at the AA

Wednesday 22 March, 11:00 – 1:00

MA History and Critical Thinking Drawing Matter Seminar with Tina di Carlo

 

Readings

Forty, Adrian. Words and Buildings: A Vocabulary of Modern Architecture, London: Thames & Hudson, 2014, in particular “Language and Drawing,” 28-41. “Context,”132-135 “Flexibility,”142-48 “Form,”149-72 

Evans, Robin. “Translations from Drawing to Building,” AA Files 12, pp. 3-18

Seigert, Bernard. Cultural Techniques: Grids, Filters, Doors and Other Articulations of the Real, (rans. Geoffrey Winthrop-Young), New York: Fordham University Press, 2015, in particular, “Introduction: Cultural Techniques, or, The End of the Intellectual Postwar in German Media Theory,” pp. 1-17

Stanisweski, Staniszewski, Mary Anne. The Power of Display: A History of Exhibition Installations at the Museum of Modern Art. Cambridge, Mass: The M.I.T. Press, 1998 (pages to be assigned).

 

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1960s: ‘Avant-Garde’ Roots, Function. A Terminological Approach

Organised and hosted by Marina Lathouri

Series: HCT / PhD Debates
Date: 17/3/2017
Time: 14:00
Venue: 37 FFF

HCT/PHD Debates

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.

 

1960s: ‘Avant-Garde’ Roots, Function. A Terminological Approach

From the early twentieth century the avant-garde forms an important cultural and interdisciplinary sub-system with a strong impact on architecture. However, it is only in the sixties that the term ‘avant-garde’ starts describing architects, groups, and material and immaterial productions of the latter – associated, but also not, with the wide cultural avant-garde circles of their time. The sixties mark the period when the term enters into architectural history books and writings of theory and criticism. A disciplinary consciousness of the avant-garde is now manifest along with avant-garde’s appropriation as endogenous architectural quality. A terminological approach to the avant-garde of the sixties provides tools for detecting patterns of formation and ideological constructions, and for uncovering how these may even shape avant-garde’s understanding up to the present.

 

Texts

1.Bürger, Peter, Theorie der Avantgarde (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1974) English translation: Bürger, Peter, Theory of the Avant-Garde (Manchester; Minneapolis: Manchester University Press; University of Minnesota Press, 1984).

2.Poggioli, Renato, Teoria dell’arte d’avanguardia (Bologna: Società editrice il Mulino, 1962). English translation: Poggioli, Renato, The Theory of the Avant-Garde, trans. by Gerald Fitzgerald (Cambridge, Mass., London: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1968).

3.Weightman, John, The Concept of the Avant-Garde. Exploration in Modernism (London: Alcove Press, 1973)

 

 

 

Lina Stergiou is Associate Professor of Architecture at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China, co-founder and creative director of 4Life Strategies, a non-profit organization for strategically design cross-disciplinary actions for life as agencies for change, and principal of LS/Architecture&Strategies, an award-winning design research lab. Independent Expert for the Mies van der Rohe Award-European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture. A Princeton University Research Fellow and recipient of numerous research grants, her research explores spatial politics and the avant-garde, including her forthcoming book on The Concept of the Avant-Garde in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Architecture.

 

 

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The Politics of Violence as/against/through Architecture

Organised and hosted by Marina Lathouri

Series: HCT / PhD Debates
Date: 10/3/2017
Time: 10:00:00
Venue: 37 FFF

HCT/PHD Debates

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.

 

The Politics of Violence as/against/through Architecture

The past decade has seen a growing body of literature explore the interface of architecture and violence. If this has helped undo such normative dichotomies as war versus peace, destruction versus construction, and barbarism versus civilisation, it has also further complicated the problem of how critical analysis negotiates the dynamics between particularity and universality, description and prescription, and structure and agency. Against this background, this seminar discusses the limitations and possibilities of understanding violence and architecture as intimately entangled with one another. In light of two texts and other relevant cases, we will explore the following questions. How might an architectural history and theory of violence be different from other histories and theories of it? In what ways might an understanding of architecture as a slow or covert mode of violence challenge dominant histories and theories of the built environment? And, ultimately, what are the political stakes involved in considering violence as inherent in architecture, and architecture as a force that institutionalises, legitimises and even produces violence rather than as its other? Eray will introduce the topic in the first third of the seminar, which will be followed by group discussion. Attendees are kindly asked to think of cases from various historical or geographical contexts they find relevant to the material discussed in the readings, and bring to the seminar a short note on and an image of one such case.

Image: Turkey installs the “Modular Border Security System” along its border with Syria (Ömer Ürer, 26.04.2016)

Texts:

Herscher, Andrew (2008) Warchitectural Theory, Journal of Architectural Education 61(3): 35-43

Weizman, Eyal (2007) Urban Warfare, Hollow Land, London: Verso, pp.185-218.

 

Eray Çaylı, PhD (UCL, 2015), works at the interface of architecture and anthropology. He is interested in the ways in which the built environment shapes and is shaped by conflict, disaster, and protest, especially in the contexts of Turkey and London. Eray currently teaches Architectural History and Theory at the Bartlett and at Syracuse University (London programme), and works as a researcher at the LSE’s European Institute. Further information (including publications) is available at www.eraycayli.com

 

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Flat White: incipient Modernist architecture in late Wilhelmine Germany

Organised and hosted by Marina Lathouri

Series: HCT / PhD Debates
Date: 3/3/2017
Time: 11:00:00
Venue: 33 FFF

HCT/PHD Debates

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.

 

Flat White: incipient Modernist architecture in late Wilhelmine Germany

Image: Heinrich Tessenow, Alexander von Salzmann, Festspielhaus, Dresden-Hellerau, Germany. Views of interior of the Festival Hall, looking towards the stage (north) and towards the audience (south), (1913). Source: ‘Das junge Hellerau’, in Bildunsanstalt Jaques-Dalcroze (ed.) Der Rhythmus. Ein Jahrbuch (Jena, 1913).

The early years of the twentieth century witnessed remarkable advances in architecture emanating from Germany in matters technical, aesthetic and functional. The hiatus of the First World War interrupted this flowering of the art of building, which nonetheless resumed during the years of ferment of the Weimar Republic. On the northern outskirts of Dresden a settlement was founded, taking inspiration from English Arts and Crafts endeavours in Reform design and living culture, but with a pronounced Nietzschean ‘will to form’ all-encompassing in its reach. Here was a garden city with real industry at its heart (the progressive furniture factory of the Deutsche Werkstätten) and a magnificent performance space at its periphery, to which the great and the good of European society would come on pilgrimage.
The spare, unadorned houses designed by the quiet Mecklenburg architect Heinrich Tessenow (1876-1950) gave way to the spiritual and artistic centre of the settlement, his great festival theatre and School of Eurhythmy. A building which at first glance seems a correct and prim exercise in understated Neoclassicism turns out to be nothing short of revolutionary in its concision of internal planning, purity and simplicity of surface, and manipulation of light. It is an inspiring example of a building as product of a variety of artistic and social impulses, orchestrated by the tactful skill of its young architect, one which presages the collaborative work of the Bauhaus in Dessau some 15 years later. Its main performance space has qualities that would not make it unusual to find in the twenty-first century: its surfaces are smooth and pale, and emit light, shimmering like a reversed lampshade.
Between the economy of sachlich, functional terraced and paired houses and the stately Festspielhaus, designed to accommodate and give shape to emerging Reform ideas of pedagogy, dance and music (such as the eurhythmy dabbled in by D. H. Lawrence’s heroines), key traits of Modernist aesthetics were born, uniting the various arts and paving the way for the prevailing look of the twentieth century, one that is arguably still with us in the twenty-first: flat white.

 

Texts

Gerald Adler, ‘The German Reform Theatre: Heinrich Tessenow and Eurhythmic Performance Space at Dresden-Hellerau’, in Alistair Fair (ed.), Setting the Scene: perspectives on twentieth-century theatre architecture (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015), pp. 35-59

Kathleen James-Chakraborty, ‘Spectacle’, in Kathleen James-Chakraborty, German Architecture for a Mass Audience (London: Routledge, 2000), pp. 70-94

Heinrich Tessenow, Hausbau und dergleichen (Berlin, 1916). Extracts from House-building and such Things in Richard Burdett and Wilfried Wang (eds), On Rigour (London: 9H, 1990), ‘Order’, pp17-19; ‘Ornament, pp. 27-30

Gerald Adler runs the Masters in Architecture and Urban Design programme at the University of Kent, where he is Deputy Head of School. His practice experience has been with Kammerer and Belz in Stuttgart, Georg Heinrichs in Berlin, Burkard Meyer Steiger in Baden, Switzerland, Hampshire County Architects in Winchester, Koichi Nagashima in Tokyo, and Ted Cullinan in London. His PhD was on the early twentieth-century German architect Heinrich Tessenow, and his monograph on the mid-twentieth-century British architectural practice Maguire & Murray was published in 2012.  He has written on the ‘Bauhaus bioconstructivist’ Siegfried Ebeling and co-edited the AHRA (Architectural Humanities Research Association) book Scale: imagination, perception and practice in architecture (2012). His chapter ‘The German Reform Theatre: Heinrich Tessenow and Eurhythmic Performance Space at Dresden-Hellerau’ was published in Alistair Fair (ed.), Setting the Scene: Perspectives on Twentieth-Century Theatre Architecture (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2015). Most recently, he has published ‘Pragmatics: towards a theory of things’ in This Thing Called Theory (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016) and is working on an account of the Berlin architect Myra Warhaftig for the AHRA Architecture and Feminisms book.

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Alberti’s Media Lab

Organised and hosted by Marina Lathouri

Series: HCT / PhD Debates
Date: 17/2/2017
Time: 11:00:00
Venue: 33 FFB

HCT Debates

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.

Alberti’s Media Lab

Please join us for the second MA HCT/PhD seminar. Our guest will be Mario Carpo who will speak about drawings, models, and architectural notations in Alberti’s theory.

 

 

 

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MA HCT/Projective Cities/Media Practicies Seminar

 

Organised and hosted by Marina Lathouri

Series: HCT Debates
Date: 10/2/2017
Time: 10:00:00
Venue: 32 First Floor Back, Architectural Association London

HCT Debates

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.

Interior Urbanism: Charles Rice

Please join us for a seminar with Charles Rice this Friday. It is a joint event with the Projective Cities and Media Practices and will take place at 10:00 in 32 FFB.

The presentation and the following dialogue with the audience will be based on Rice’s new book ‘Interior Urbanism: Architecture, John Portman and Downtown America,’ which he discussed a few weeks ago during his evening lecture at the Architectural Association.

Image: John Portman and Associates, Hyatt Regency, San Francisco, 1974. Diagram showing outline of atrium space with interior elements: trellis structures, sculpture, conversation pit and elevator shafts. Drawing by Alina McConnochie.

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MA HCT/PhD Seminar with Thanos Zartaloudis

Organised and hosted by Marina Lathouri

Series: HCT / PhD Debates
Date: 1/2/20
Time: 14:00:00
Venue: 37 FFF

HCT Debates

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.

Making Time: on Agamben’s Time and History

In this seminar we shall discuss the chapter titled Time and History extracted from the Italian philosopher’s Giorgio Agamben early book titled Infancy and History (pp.87-105). What is time? (and in this we shall ask, too, what is the Architect’s time?) This is a relatively obvious question that we however rarely encounter, yet occasionally think of. If asked in this manner the question will lead, each time, to a particular type of an answer (which can take various forms, while it remains essentially the same as we shall perhaps discover in our discussion). How is time? This may be a better question, and we shall see what that kind of raising of the question may mean for the way in which we think of time. In doing so and in following the reading closely we shall particularly interrogate the so-called Western understanding of time in order to locate its problem. What is the problem, if it is one, that ‘time’ is invented to solve? How to think of time? What happens if we venture outside of this logic or structure of problem-solution? Let’s find out.

Please read the set text prior to the seminar and bring with you notes and questions. This will essentially be a reading discussion with a very short presentation during the last third of the session.

Image: Max Ernst, Rêve d’une Petite Fille qui Voulut Entrer au Carmel, 1930. Collage.

 

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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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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.

Posted in 2016, news | Leave a comment

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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Crisis and economies of living (Kent Law School) – Marina Lathouri

Marina Lathouri

(Architectural Association, London, School of Architecture & University of Cambridge, School of Architecture)

Crisis and economies of living

Symposium: Crisis: Knowledge, History, Law
Date: 29/1/2016
Time: All day
Venue: University of Kent, Kent Law School

Website: http://www.kent.ac.uk/law/socril/events/2016/crisis.html

Reinhart Koselleck argues in Critique and Crisis that crisis is a philosophical construct, which came to signify “a permanent concept of ‘history’,” “a historically immanent transitional phase.” This reading of the idea of crisis suggests the present as possible moment of rupture and dis-continuity, as well as, a locus within which, new directions of thought may emerge. However, when being in crisis becomes a state of mind, the norm rather than its resolution (the latter thought of as essentially eschatological concept and temporal beginning), the concept of crisis loses its programmatic aspect and projective potential. Jacques Derrida in his Economies de la crise describes this loss (the crisis of the idea of crisis) as “the symptom of,” and at the same time, “the jostling attempt to save a world (kosmos) which we no longer inhabit”, where “there is no longer oiko-nomia, oiko-logia, inhabitable place in which we feel ‘at home’.”

In light of a new geography of movement – economic and social, of shifting forms of political authority and jurisdiction, what are the terms in which modes of inhabitation can be re-framed? How would invariants and everyday rituals of living stripped from embedded meanings and symbols be reinstated to produce forms of co-living and collective consciousness? At this point, Jean Luc Nancy’s idea of exchange developed in La Communaute affrontee and registered in the preposition ‘with’/’avec’ provides an exact and effective locus. “Neither communion nor atomisation, solely the partaking in a place” the ‘with’ (“L’ ‘avec’ est sec et neutre: ni communion ni atomisation, seulement le partage d’un lieu, tout au plus un contact: un etre ensemble sans assemblage,”) outlines multiple micro-economies of living, within which the intimate, both in the sense of proximity and the absolute interiority, is interwoven with the collective and the global. The boundaries of the personal, the political, the territorial and the constitutional often remain ambiguous, yet the singular is ceaselessly reconfigured within the inside of this indistinct (as for its boundaries) system of planning. This understanding unavoidably expands the signification of the material (and architectural) object.

The question thus to be raised is whether and to what extent these material and spatial micro-inventions alone can potentially claim political action, not in the sense of strategic planning and specific propositions, but by demarcating and offering a figure to the locus of exchange.

Marina Lathouri studied architecture and philosophy of art and aesthetics. She directs the Graduate Programme in History and Critical Thinking at the AA and lectures at Cambridge University. Lathouri’s current research interests lie in the conjunction of architectural history, the

city and political philosophy. She co-authored Intimate Metropolis: Urban Subjects in the Modern City, London: Routledge, 2008; and City Cultures: Contemporary Positions on the City, London: AA Publications, 2010. Lathouri has recently directed the Research project at the AA entitled City Cultures.

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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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Le Corbusier (1920-1935): style, the Zeitgeist and Nature – Tim Benton

The first lecture held by prof. Tim Benton on the work of Le Corbusier as part of the History and Critical Thinking Programme.

Thursday, 15 October, 2015, 10:00 AM

37 First Floor Front

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Panel

Pedro Alonso

Panel

Series: MA History and Critical Thinking Lecture Series
Date: 26/2/2015
Time: 12:00:00
Venue: 32 First Floor Back

Organised and hosted by Marina Lathouri

Although largely marginal within official accounts of modern architecture, during the second half of the twentieth century the development of large concrete panel systems was central to debates about architecture’s modernisation and industrialisation. Through this development, not only was construction transferred from the building site to the factory floor, and manual labour succeeded by automated mass production, but political, aesthetic and ideological debates began to inscribe themselves onto the panel itself, a symbol for a whole new set of architectural values. Distributed and adapted to many different cultural, geographical and political contexts, these systems went beyond national borders in producing more than 170 million apartments worldwide.

Pedro Alonso is an architect, holds an MSc in architecture from the Universidad Católica de Chile, and completed his PhD at the Architectural Association in London. He is currently Associate Professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Together with Hugo Palmarola he received a Research Trust Award from the Royal Institute of British Architects and has been authors of Panel (Architectural Association, 2014) and Monolith Controversies (Hatje Cantz, 2014). They won a Silver Lion for their participation in the 14th Venice Architecture Biennial. Alonso is also author of Deserta: Ecology and Industry in the Atacama Desert (ARQ, 2012).

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HCT Debate

Adrian Lahoud

Scale

Series: MA History and Critical Thinking Debates: Dis-Locutions: Architecture and the Political Organised
Date: 27/2/2015
Time: 14:00:00
Venue: New Soft Room

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

Modernity is a story about how forms of calculation grew across the world allowing more things to be measured, exchanged, and to circulate. It is a story about how certain value systems came to colonize and finally rule over others. It is also a story about changes in the kinds of things we can calculate – since they are not even ‘things’ anymore – calculation applies to attention, to knowledge, certainly to our very future – perhaps even to our souls.

Crucially, with every expansion in these systems of value and the circulations they allow, more aspects of human life become linked to seemingly distant and uncontrollable transformations, for example in our climate, our economies, and our cities. These systems are evidence of a new and special kind of power characterized by actions at a distance. We are summoned by events with no origin that are dispersed in time and in space – the so-called ‘complexity’ of modern life.

This presentation will argue that today this ‘complexity’ is the very medium for contemporary forms of power. In response we must rescue an important if under theorized architectural term and give it a new life. This term is scale, and it is the key that will allow us to recompose a new political relation to our present order of indirect violence.

Adrian Lahoud is an architect and researcher. Currently he leads the Urban Design Masters at The Bartlett School of Architecture and teaches in the Projective Cities MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design at the Architectural Association.

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7 March 2014 – HCT Debates / Architecture Politics: Massimiliano Mollona


MA History and Critical Thinking Debates / Architecture Politics

Term 2: Friday 1:00 / 36 Bedford Square, New Soft Room

Massimiliano Mollona
Friday 7 March

Massimiliano Mollona, an anthropologist with his PhD from LSE, sees in the city a magic soil for anthropological studies. Beginning his research of the industrial city at Sheffield, Mollona soon found himself following the obsolete machines on their voyage to Brazil where they were to be used to create a new industrialized city. Traditionally, industrialization has been linked with the notion of moral improvement, with the creation and development of a new economic system that establishes a foundation for societal growth. However, there is always an ambiguity within the concepts, practices and implementation of this economic system. Mollona, using Hannah Arendt’s distinctions between labor and work, draws on parallels between economic value of production and social status. This division is further exasperated by the fact that the industrialization of Brazil was achieved primarily through the utilization of discarded equipment from de-industrialized sites, highlighting the inequity of technological advancements or advantages in the, now, post-industrial era. In fact, industrialization is no longer a simple process of total transformation. The post-industrial economic city now resists the loss of its rural economy, its identity, and instead creates a mixed, informal economy. This new economy has as a by-product created the insecure condition of the flexible worker; the worker that must always redefine their skills, their goals, and reassess the direction that they wish to be moving in. Forming a dual reality that influences over 50% of the population that allows for a degree of freedom through competition, yet never allows for stability or complete fulfilment of life. The question then becomes how you can generate a space of belonging in a society of ephemerality.

Summary by Caitlin Daly and Alvaro Velasco


HCT Debates: Architecture Politics

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

To enable students to pursue questions and problems in public, yet small-scale sessions, the HCT programme holds a debate series with guest designers, writers, artists, scholars and critics. Each week two people are invited to talk and share their work with the group. The presentations are followed by discussion. Although the sessions are open, the MA students are asked to prepare questions and observations based upon preliminary reading. Also each student is expected to conduct an interview with one of the speakers.

The theme of the discussions this year is architecture politics. Every time brings specific conditions to the manner in which the claims on architecture are made. New technologies and modes of design and production have prompted elaborate arguments on economic policies, new organisational models, environmental strategies and sustainable development patterns. There seems to be, however, a lack of reflection on the fundamental question of architecture as a composite form of knowledge, yet with specific traits, and as a distinct set of practices, yet in difficult connections with cultural territories and material configurations.

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28 February 2014 – HCT Debates / Architecture Politics: Francesco Jodice

MA History and Critical Thinking Debates / Architecture Politics
Term 2: Friday 1:00 / 36 Bedford Square, New Soft Room

Francesco Jodice
Friday 28 February

Francesco Jodice, one of the founders of Multiplicity and professor at NABA (Milan), is one of the most prominent Italian visual artists. He graduated from Politecnico di Milano as an urban planner and remains intrigued by concepts such as ‘public space’ and ‘participation’. Convinced that our cultural behaviour is constantly transferred to what he calls ‘the landscape’, his research looks at territories as a projection of people’s desire. Looking at the viewer/artist interface as a project, his work is more concerned with how the art speaks to the public rather than what the art says. Disgruntled by the elitist subtraction of art from the public sphere, he constantly tries to reverse this condition by creating a form of art interface which is accessible to everyone: ‘double-access’. Aware of the difficulties in defining ‘public’ and ‘inside’ in the contemporary cultural environment, he continues to explore the artist interface as a social canvas.

Summary by Marzia Marzorati and Devanshi Shah

HCT Debates: Architecture Politics
Organised and hosted by Marina Lathouri, John Palmesino and Douglas Spencer

To enable students to pursue questions and problems in public, yet small-scale sessions, the HCT programme holds a debate series with guest designers, writers, artists, scholars and critics. Each week two people are invited to talk and share their work with the group. The presentations are followed by discussion. Although the sessions are open, the MA students are asked to prepare questions and observations based upon preliminary reading. Also each student is expected to conduct an interview with one of the speakers.

The theme of the discussions this year is architecture politics. Every time brings specific conditions to the manner in which the claims on architecture are made. New technologies and modes of design and production have prompted elaborate arguments on economic policies, new organisational models, environmental strategies and sustainable development patterns. There seems to be, however, a lack of reflection on the fundamental question of architecture as a composite form of knowledge, yet with specific traits, and as a distinct set of practices, yet in difficult connections with cultural territories and material configurations.

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21 February 2014 – HCT Debates / Architecture Politics: David Knight

MA History and Critical Thinking Debates / Architecture Politics
Term 2: Friday 1:00 / 36 Bedford Square, New Soft Room

David Knight – Planning is Frozen Politics
Friday 21 February

For David Knight, architect and PhD by practice candidate at the Royal College of Art, the essence of planning lies in its definition, “the tool we collectively use to design the future”. The description implies that complex planning legislation needs to become openly accessible to the public and suggests wider participation can open up greater potential for innovative growth. Therefor a large part of his work focuses on demystifying the code used by the planning bureaucracy. An example from Knight’s self-made planning manual shows how slight differentiations in distance from existing structures, width of intervention, and roof types can prevent simple annex projects, yet permit elaborate backyard cinemas. Knight’s latest project, www.buildingrights.org focuses on sustaining this kind of productive misinterpretation. The wiki site aims at growing a community of experts and layman expected to open up discussion and provide resources and advice for planning. Knight is taking on a challenge imbedded deep within the phenomenon of continuously accelerating information and shifting power structures, which has proven tremendously emblematic of our time.

20140221_143237_Richtone(HDR)subplan6

 

HCT Debates: Architecture Politics Organised and hosted by Marina Lathouri, John Palmesino and Douglas Spencer To enable students to pursue questions and problems in public, yet small-scale sessions, the HCT programme holds a debate series with guest designers, writers, artists, scholars and critics. Each week two people are invited to talk and share their work with the group. The presentations are followed by discussion. Although the sessions are open, the MA students are asked to prepare questions and observations based upon preliminary reading. Also each student is expected to conduct an interview with one of the speakers. The theme of the discussions this year is architecture politics. Every time brings specific conditions to the manner in which the claims on architecture are made. New technologies and modes of design and production have prompted elaborate arguments on economic policies, new organisational models, environmental strategies and sustainable development patterns. There seems to be, however, a lack of reflection on the fundamental question of architecture as a composite form of knowledge, yet with specific traits, and as a distinct set of practices, yet in difficult connections with cultural territories and material configurations.

building rights homepagebuilding rights needs yousubplan5

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10-13 February 2014 – Design by Words: Laboratory on Writing

MA History and Critical Thinking Laboratory on Writing with Fabrizio Gallanti and Marina Lathouri

10-13 February, 10:00a.m., 37 FFF

Friday 14 February, 10:00a.m., 33 FFB

In this one-week intensive workshop, writing is considered as a tool to communicate ideas in a clear and direct way, moving away from the complexities of architectural jargon and academic writing. Each day consists of the introduction of a writing example, the discussion of it, and then the writing and reading in public of a short piece. There will be a final presentation at the end of the week.

The two main references are:

Italo Calvino, Six Memos for the Next Millenium, 1988

David Foster Wallace, Authority and the American Usage, in: Consider the Lobster and Other Essays, 2005

The five exercises are:

1. Description I

Example: Restaurant reviews from the New Yorker magazine

Exercise: Write about the physical, sensorial, emotional experience of a specific location (restaurant, bar, club, art gallery, theatre, etc.)

2. Description II

Example: Georges Perec, An attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris

Exercise: Note during a period of 5 hours and then edit the time spent in a public space (the same for all of the students) in London.

3. Cause and effect

Example: Jonathan Massey, Risk Design, 2013

Exercise: Identify a building in London and speculate about the political, socio-economical and technological conditions that informed and possibly determined its design.

4. Translation

Example: Toyo Ito, Tarzans in the Media Forest, 2011

Exercise: Select a brief text in a foreign language and then translate it into English, highlighting the words, themes or concepts which meaning does not properly transfer through translation.

5. Summary

Example: Colm Tóibín; Callil, Carmel (editors), The Modern Library: The Two Hundred Best Novels in English Since 1950, 1999

Exercise: Summarise an assigned architectural essay in 300-500 words

Fabrizio Gallanti is the Associate Director Programs at the Canadian Centre of Architecture in Montreal. He has wide-ranging and international experience in architectural design, education, publication, and exhibitions.

Marina Lathouri is the Director of the MA History and Critical Thinking programme at the AA.

Levinson-PrintPixel-3_525

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31 January 2014 – HCT Debates / Architecture Politics: Orsalia Dimitriou

MA History and Critical Thinking Debates / Architecture Politics
Term 2: Friday 1:00 / 36 Bedford Square, New Soft Room

Orsalia Dimitriou: Common grounds, common practices
Friday 31 January

In the first of this term’s Friday debates, Orsalia Dimitriou introduced an inquiry into the influence of the “commons” in today’s neo-liberalist society. After a brief historical introduction of the practice and the term ‘commons’ in late Middle Ages, she presented it as a threefold phenomenon, consisted in shared resources, the community and the act of ‘commoning’.* She elaborated her take on this concept with reference to three specific case studies: firstly the social processes that encompass the annual influx of temporary residents on the deserted Greek island Gaidouronisi during the summer season. Secondly, the self-organized initiative in the Athens’s quarter of Exarcheia, and their social and spatial implications. Lastly she discussed her first-hand experience in planning, implementing and maintaining a network of commons in the London neighbourhood of New Cross. The subsequent debate made apparent the need to emphasize not the common (as a noun), but to common (as a verb, an active agent). In this sense, Orsalia emphasized that “commons” should not be regarded as end products, but as ongoing processes that act both as references and indices.
* Orsalia handed out the following reading elaborating this: ‘On the Commons: A Public Interview with Massimo de Angelis and Stavros Stavrides.’

Summary by Winston Hampel and Maria Jose Orihuela

HCT Debates: Architecture Politics
Organised and hosted by Marina Lathouri, John Palmesino and Douglas Spencer

To enable students to pursue questions and problems in public, yet small-scale sessions, the HCT programme holds a debate series with guest designers, writers, artists, scholars and critics. Each week two people are invited to talk and share their work with the group. The presentations are followed by discussion. Although the sessions are open, the MA students are asked to prepare questions and observations based upon preliminary reading. Also each student is expected to conduct an interview with one of the speakers.

The theme of the discussions this year is architecture politics. Every time brings specific conditions to the manner in which the claims on architecture are made. New technologies and modes of design and production have prompted elaborate arguments on economic policies, new organisational models, environmental strategies and sustainable development patterns. There seems to be, however, a lack of reflection on the fundamental question of architecture as a composite form of knowledge, yet with specific traits, and as a distinct set of practices, yet in difficult connections with cultural territories and material configurations.

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4-8 November 2013 – Lunch Time Recitals

MA History and Critical Thinking: Lunch Time Recitals
New Soft Room
November 4-8 2013, 13:30-14:00

lunchtime_big

On Voice
Marina Lathouri

“What produces the impact must have soul in it and must be accompanied by an act of imagination, for voice is a sound with a meaning, and is not merely the result of any impact of the breath as in coughing;” (Aristotle 2001, De anima, 420b 28-37)

At a time of a pervasive global intelligence, what are the forms of participation in an economy of knowledge, a highly organised system of authorship, production and distribution, which is not limited to the world of solid, stable objects? How can a credible voice be established?
The voice appears to be the most familiar thing. We are surrounded by voices. Yet, the omnipresent use of the voice in our everyday and social life without any further qualifications hinders the shades and powers of the voice. The voice is not a sound, it carries meaning. It is the vehicle of meaning, the agent of enunciation. In its individual qualities, accent, intonation, timbre, a voice can also be the source of aesthetic interest.
Beyond linguistic features and distinctive traits, however, another way to be aware of the voice is through its very materiality, which, in its particular modulations and inflection, can turn the meaning, transform it into its opposite and ultimately decide the sense of the whole. This voice persistently assumes an intimate link with the very notion of the subject – the author, the orator, the architect, the institution; a subject which becomes a mode of the articulate, and constitutes itself as the community.
The texture of this voice, the words it uses to slice the world into the classes of nameable objects, the forms it produces to make a communicable experience, is what establishes articulations between what is posited and what is meant by it, between the (utterable) sayable and the visible. Or else, a particular discourse, an exchange of signs, sequences, enouncements, even silence, which introduces the listener not only to the material but to a process of thinking, thinking in common.  Is not this close circuit by definition a pedagogical practice, which covers at great length the modalities of architectural practice too?

Recitals 1

On this account, as part of the MA History and Critical Thinking events on books, writing and the voice, the Lunch Time Recitals given by the MA students place emphasis on this particular practice. Words –oral and projected, voices and still images weave into a space of exchange. Ten terms commonly used – thought, fold, truth, perspective(s), context, character, place, transgression, architect and parts – prompted a collection of quotations in which different meanings are to be found and shared.
What such an event evokes is a different entry into the problem of the voice through an old (and historically prevalent) practice of reading, deeply involved in the constitution of the space of the community, i.e. the constitution of the political.  The words, carefully collected are intimately linked with the performative power of the speech. Yet this apparent openness entails a reversal, a space where the outside is not presumed to exist.  The very process of enunciation positions the multiple voices (the author, the reader, the listener, the school) and presents itself essentially as a dispute over their proper locus making effective a public space which cannot be found anywhere in the statement, written or oral.

1         Recital  A telling in detail and due order of the particulars of anything, as of a law, an adventure, or a series of events; narration / That which is recited; a story; a narration / The act of reciting; the repetition of the words of another, or of a document; rehearsal; as, the recital of testimony / (Law) The formal statement, or setting forth, of some matter of fact in any deed or writing in order to explain the reasons on which the transaction is founded / (Mus) A vocal or instrumental performance by one person; — distinguished from concert.
The verb cite (to summon) comes from the Latin citare, from ciere, from cieo (to move, set in motion, stir, move), which is a transliteration of the Greek verb cieo/cineo (I move, stir, rouse, summon; Gr: κιέω/κιώ/κινέω).

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