Program in Media and Modernity

Princeton University

APR 20 | Sylvia Lavin and Michael Osman “Out-Takes as Method”: Architecture Itself and Other Postmodernization Effects

M+M Program in Media and Modernity presents

Sylvia Lavin and Michael Osman
“Out-Takes as Method”: Architecture Itself and Other Postmodernization Effects
Tuesday, April 20, 2021 @5pm ET
Online Event [register here or stream here]


Although histories of architectural postmodernism are on the rise, they remain predominantly concerned with problems of visual style and organized by narratives of individual and artistic genius.  The result has been the fabrication of a historiography that reinforces the very tropes it pretends to unfold, the most persistent of which is the ineffable yet universal category of architecture itself. In order to counteract this tendency, Lavin organized a series of exhibitions that focused on ‘out-takes,’ objects related to architectural practice in the United States between 1965 and 1990 and extracted from buildings, archives and, sometimes, collections but not intended to be viewed as art. Lavin and Osman will consider the ways in which this alternate evidence field demonstrates that postmodernism did not save ‘architecture itself’ from the technocratic logic of post-war life in the United States but rather was its most widely disseminated product.  The discussion will begin by considering the book, Architecture Itself and Other Postmodernization Effects, but will move on to discuss the role of the ‘out-take’ in contemporary historiographical method.


Sylvia Lavin is Professor of History and Theory of Architecture at Princeton University’s School of Architecture.

Michael Osman is Associate Professor of Architectural History at the University of California in Los Angeles’ (UCLA) Department for Architecture and Urban Design, where he currently directs the MA and PhD programs. Osman is the author of Modernism’s Visible Hand: Architecture and Regulation in America (University of Minnesota Press, 2018), a book on the role buildings have played in developing systems for environmental and economic regulation. He is one of the founding members of Aggregate: The Architectural History Collaborative, a platform for exploring new methods in architectural history. He co-curated a portion of the exhibition “Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive” at the Museum of Modern Art. His research has been supported by fellowships from the University of California Humanities Research Institute, the National Science Foundation and the Fulbright Program.

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This entry was posted on April 13, 2021 in roundtable, Spring2021.

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