Category Archives: Spring2021

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.

APR 6 | Mari Lending and Erik Langdalen “The Nordic Pavilion in Venice: An Intra-Canonical Outlook” [interlocutor: Adrian Forty]

M+M Program in Media and Modernity presents

Mari Lending and Erik Langdalen
“The Nordic Pavilion in Venice: An Intra-Canonical Outlook”
[interlocutor: Adrian Forty]

Tuesday, April 6, 2021 @5pm
Online Event [register here or stream here]

Sverre Fehn’s Nordic Pavilion in Venice is a masterpiece of postwar architecture. The young Norwegian architect won the competition for its design in 1958 and the building was inaugurated in 1962. Through six decades, the beloved structure has been mired in phenomenology, poetry, and the personal memory of the select. Looking at the archives, a very different story emerges. In minute detail, this book presents the history of the origins and making of the Nordic Pavilion; spanning from the geopolitical context in an increasingly tense Cold War atmosphere, to the aggregates in the concrete of the audacious roof construction, to the iconic trees, many of which had already died before the second exhibition in 1964. 
Sverre Fehn, Nordic Pavilion, Venice. Voices from the Archives documents the extensive cast involved in the making of the Nordic Pavilion, spanning from kings, prime ministers, bureaucrats, ambassadors, museum directors, architects, and a myriad of artists’ associations, to Venetian dignitaries, engineers, gardeners, lawyers, and plumbers. The pavilion was conceived and built against the backdrop of friendships and animosities, power play and diplomacy. The detours and disappointments, the successes and failures of the Venice affair make a prism in miniature to understand the mindset and conflicting ambitions of the Nordic countries in the 1950s and 1960s. Richly illustrated with previously unpublished images, among them many photographs taken by Fehn himself, the archival evidence also sheds new light on one of the great Nordic architects of the recent past.


Mari Lending is Professor of Architectural History and Theory at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design.

Erik Fenstad Langdalen is Professor of Preservation at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design.

Adrian Forty is Professor Emeritus of Architectural History at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, and the author of Concrete and Culture, a Material History (2012). He is writing a book on disappointment. 

MAR 30 | M+M Doctoral Colloquium 2021 : Session II

M+M Program in Media and Modernity presents

M+M Doctoral Colloquium 2021 : Session II
with Andy Alfonso, Ruo Jia, Benjamin Murphy, and Bart-Jan Polman
Tuesday, March 30, 2021 @5pm EST
Online Event [register here or stream here]

The colloquium is an exciting opportunity for Ph.D. candidates to share their research and receive feedback from faculty and colleagues across a wide range of departments.

Andy Alfonso (Spanish / Portuguese)
Punctum Dolens, or a Matter of Reparation: Infrastructures of Death in 1960s Cuba
This presentation focuses on the system of labor camps established in Cuba from 1965 to 1968. Often referred to as UMAP, for its acronym in Spanish, these Military Units to Aid the Production served as “re-education” centers for some personae non gratae, who were forced into unfree labor in service of economic progress. Through an exploration of testimonies penned by survivors and witnesses, I contend that the UMAP constitute ground zero for the performance of processes of dispossession, conversion, and extraction, identification, litigation, and memorialization, all rooted in a matrix of violence imbued with affect. To that extent, this talk will examine the ways in which infrastructure and the distribution of space, in conjunction with the aesthetic reinventions of the spatial order, have informed practices of oppression and insurgency in contemporary Cuba.
[Dissertation — Un/exceptional Shadowlands: Space, Memory, and Archives in the Wake of the Cuban Revolution]

Ruo Jia (Architecture)
From “Objective Architecture” to “Earth and Wood”: Reimagining a Chinese Experimental Space
This paper reexamines Chinese Experimental Architecture from the 1990s and early 2000s, by closely reading at the proposal of an “Objective Architecture” by Yungho Chang in his article “Literature and Architecture” (1997). It traces and unpacks the intellectual debt and mutations of Chang’s “Objective Architecture” from Roland Barthes’ literary critique of Robbe-Grillet in the late 1950s, for example, “Objective literature (1954).” Moreover, it points to such interdisciplinary translation’s further critical repercussion in the group of architects’ envisioning of a new identity of “architecture” in the midst of the country’s identity reformation. The “Objective Architecture” would see its extensions and reformulations in terms such as “Ying Zao [bricolage]” (2000) “Jian Zao [construction]” (2000) and “Tu Mu [Earth and Wood]” (2002), all intended as replacement of “Jian Zhu [architecture]”— the normalized term in mandarin for “architecture.” 
[Dissertation — Different Shades of the Concrete: French Poststructuralist Theory or Chinese Experimental Architecture]

Benjamin Murphy (Art & Archaeology)
Video on Paper: Picturing Politics in Latin America, 1974-77
Beginning in the early 1970s, video emerged in Latin America as a novel tool of artistic experimentation uniquely suited to exploring modes of regional connectivity. With its capacity for instant, mass transmission, the medium promised to configure an alternative network of artistic production and reception centered in the Global South, a network toward which many of Latin America’s first generation of video artists oriented their work. It is thus quite ironic, given this historical enthusiasm for video’s technological specificity, that much of the work produced by these artists today appears only on paper through various documentary traces. Engaging contemporaneous debates in Latin American sociology and political science regarding the representation of political processes through various media apparatuses, this presentation considers the paradox of video’s representation on paper as a heuristic through which to approach discussions of dictatorship and dependency that animated Latin American social analysis during the 1970s.
[Dissertation — Fieldwork: Problems of Observation and Archive in Latin American Video]

Bart-Jan Polman (Architecture)
Fragmenting Frameworks and Integral Integration: the Liga Nieuw Beelden and its Quest(s) for Embeddedness
In 1954, the Liga Nieuw Beelden [League of New Plastic Creation] was formed in the Netherlands. As much a lobbying group as a platform for theoretical interaction, the Liga sought to organize interdisciplinary conversations between architecture, the arts, industry and other fields. Its central tenet was a quest for ‘integration;’ a trope of the time and a term the meaning of which it failed to define properly. Mirroring contamporaneous debates ranging from techno-scientific, systems-oriented architecture to racial and politico-economic integration (the latter most notably through the creation of the European common market), discourse by actors in and around the Liga would evolve from discussions on the synthesis of the arts towards that of an integrated global marketplace triggered by the dis-integration of Empire. This presentation will focus on how such architectural discourse participated in the long-durée of what would eventually be called the neoliberal turn, including the belief, as Liga-affiliate Jaap Bakema stated, that “[t]he Euro-market for example, will also influence the form of a house in Randstad Holland.”
[Dissertation — Fragmenting Frameworks and Integral Integration: the Total Turn and Quest(s) for Embeddedness of Dutch Architecture in the Context of European and Global Markets, 1955-1979]

MAR 23 | M+M Doctoral Colloquium 2021 : Session I

M+M Program in Media and Modernity presents

M+M Doctoral Colloquium 2021 : Session I
with Eden Consenstein, Curt Gambetta, Austin Hancock, and William Stewart
Tuesday, March 23, 2021 @5pm EST
Online Event [register here or stream here]

The colloquium is an exciting opportunity for Ph.D. candidates to share their research and receive feedback from faculty and colleagues across a wide range of departments.

Eden Consenstein (Religion)
Dry Sentiment: The Religious Politics of Midcentury Liquor Advertising
From 1947 to 1956, a vocal coalition of Protestant temperance activists advanced a series of bills that would prevent print liquor advertising from moving across state lines. They argued that liquor advertisements threatened to disorder traditional family life by enticing parents to drink. The movement took particular aim at Henry R. Luce, the editor of Time and Life magazines, who was well-known for advancing the importance of Christianity in U.S. politics and culture. Temperance organizers charged Luce with contradicting his own Christian commitments by printing advertisements for liquor, wine and beer. While Luce assumed mass media circulation could bring about a more-pious populace, temperance organizers wanted to insulate sober homes and neighborhoods from the enticements of liquor advertisers. This paper describes how the mid-century movement against liquor advertising—a revealing and understudied endeavor to gum up the works—complicates prevailing histories of Christianity, media and capitalism in the United States.
[Dissertation — Religion at Time Inc.: From the Beginning of Time to the End of Life]

Curt Gambetta (Architecture)
Image Transfers: Materials as Media in Post-Liberalization India
This paper considers the production of imitation materials for housing in India after economic liberalization in the 1980s and 90s, focusing on the production of ceramic imitations of marble in Bangalore, a megalopolis in South India, and Morbi, an industrial center in North India. It draws on ethnographic fieldwork in spaces of off brand tile production such as factories, showrooms, and urban workshops, showing how tile artists, dealers, consumers, and middlemen in India relay and translate images of imported Italian marble for consumption in regional markets in India and export markets. By tracking the circulation of printed and digital marble images between different sites in India, Italy, and China, the paper will reflect on how newly ascendant social groups in India have made use of tile printing and other media-saturated techniques of imitation to embrace and distance themselves from the material culture of globalizing elites and global value chains.
[Dissertation — Mold House, Mud House, Marble House: A Historical Anthropology of Making Do in Postcolonial India]

Austin Hancock (French / Italian)
Periodical Pugilism: Francis Picabia’s Rrose Sélavy and Boxing in Dada Magazines
My presentation centers upon Francis Picabia’s insertion of heavyweight Georges Carpentier’s portrait onto the cover of his magazine 391’s final issue, where, seizing on Carpentier’s resemblance to Marcel Duchamp, Picabia has relabeled the boxer’s likeness as that of Duchamp’s feminine alter-ego Rrose Sélavy. This piece’s origins have long been misidentified in scholarship. However, having located the postcard of Carpentier which Picabia used for this cover, I contextualize Picabia’s appropriation of the boxer’s image within Picabia’s feud with André Breton as well as a periodical arena where exchanges between avant-garde journals and boxing media were surprisingly common. Tracing such interactions from the poet-boxer Arthur Cravan’s early appearances in the sports pages up to 391’s final issue, I thus show how Dada magazines drew upon the conventions of the boxing press to interrogate divisions between print genres and gender roles, articulating a performative but nonetheless pugnacious model of male artistic identity.
[Dissertation — La Boxe Contre L’Ombre: Boxing and the Historical Avant-Garde, 1909-1939]

William Stewart (German / IHUM)
Geometric Wrappers, Stackable Chairs, Airplane Food: Packaging as Cultural Logic in Postwar Germany
Architectural critic Reyner Banham once described the postwar German school of design, the Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm (HfG), as “absent a characteristic style,” notable only because of the “cabinet work of Braun electronics.” Unwittingly, Banham’s lampoon identifies a primary site of the HfG’s intervention: the cabinet, the container, the shell, the formatting wrapper. Multiply characteristic, the Ulmers’ fixation on packaging serves as a key vector for the continuation and transformation of the prewar discourses around standardization and modularity. How was packaging made political at the HfG? Why would a pedagogy confronting a materially ruined postwar Europe place so much emphasis on containers? And just how far into an environment can techniques of wrapping reach? This paper explores the social, economic, and aesthetic ramifications when content and package are one and the same.
[Dissertation — Mathematik ist immer Geist: The Persistence of Mathematical Humanism and Aesthetic Rationality in Postwar Germany]

Mar 9 | Elisa Silva: “Pure Space: Expanding the Public Sphere”

M+M Program in Media and Modernity presents

Elisa Silva
“Pure Space: Expanding the Public Sphere through Public Space Transformations in Latin American Spontaneous Settlements”
[interlocutor: George Baird]

Tuesday, March 9, 2021 @5pm
Online Event [register here or stream here]

City making in the Global South has been notoriously characterized for its simultaneous, although differing modes of operation: a formally planned and legal one that meets the needs and buying power of the wealthier part of the population, and an unplanned, illegal one, caused by the unmet demand of the remaining part. As a result, self-built homes and spontaneous settlements have emerged, and represent a large portion of the built environment, albeit a very compromised and unequal one. 

For several decades, cities in Latin America have made significant investments to reverse this trend. However, improvement efforts alone have not been enough to lift the negative stigma from these territories. Recognition of barrios, villas, and favelas as parts of the city is a task still pending. 

In a critical review of upgrading interventions, the presence of public space emerges as a key transformative element. Pure Space: Expanding the public sphere through public space transformations in Latin American spontaneous settlements is not intended to serve only as a catalogue, guide, or manual on how to produce public space in spontaneous settlements. Rather, it goes beyond the aims of an index of best practices. It is intended, instead, as an empirical base for a critical and theoretical engagement with the problematic of development, social inclusion, public investment, (in)formal settlement, civil society, and the public sphere. The publication argues to expand the agency of architects and urban designers and creatively find ways of justifying, financing, and building public spaces in communities – spaces that have a catalytic effectiveness in achieving significant urban and social transformation.

Elisa Silva is principal and founder of Enlace Arquitectura and Enlace Foundation, established in Caracas, Venezuela. The two entities work in tandem to advance the integration of cities including informal settlements through participatory design processes and cultural programs. Their work has received awards in numerous design competitions and international architecture and urban design biennials. The San Juan María Vianney Church in Media Legua, Venezuela was awarded in the XI BIAU 2019 and the project Integration Process Caracas in the barrio La Palomera is part of the XVII Venice Architecture Biennial 2021. Elisa received the Rome Prize from the American Academy in 2005, the Wheelwright Fellowship from Harvard in 2011, Graham Foundation Grant 2017, the Lucas Artist Fellowship 2019 and grants from the US, Swiss and French Embassies in Venezuela. She is co-author of CABA: Cartography of the Caracas barrios (2014) and Pure Space: Expanding the Public Sphere through Public Space Transformations in Latin American Informal Settlements (Actar, 2020). Elisa is Visiting Assistant Professor at Princeton University School of Architecture, Sessional Lecturer at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto, Associate Professor at FIU, and past Design Critic at the GSD and the Simón Bolívar University in Caracas, Venezuela. Elisa grew up between St. Louis and Venezuela.

George Baird is Emeritus Professor and former dean of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto, and founding principal of Baird Sampson Neuert Architects in Toronto. His publications include (with Charles Jencks) Meaning in Architecture (1969), Alvar Aalto (1969), The Space of Appearance (1995), Public Space; Cultural/Political Theory; Street Photography (2011), and  Writings on Architecture and the City (2015). A collection of essays and interviews devoted to his work The Architect and the Public,  edited by Roberto Damiani, was published in 2020. Baird has received the Gold Medal of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (2010) and the Topaz Medallion of the American Institute of Architects and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (2012). In 2016, he was invested in the Order of Canada.

Mar 2 | Larry D. Busbea: “Pattern Watchers: Environmental Response c. 1970”

M+M Program in Media and Modernity presents

Larry D. Busbea
“Pattern Watchers: Environmental Response c. 1970”
[interlocutor: Victoria Bugge Øye]

Tuesday, March 2, 2021 @5pm EST
Online Event [register here or stream here]

Before a new class of designers could begin to conceive of “responsive environments” as particular types of technical and aesthetic objects, new models of environmental response were necessary. These coalesced in the 1960s and 70s in many different disciplines, but always with the understanding that environment was becoming visible in ways it hadn’t previously; and that, by becoming perceptible it was becoming designable. However, the promised accessibility of environment never seemed to materialize, and would-be observers and designers were consigned to a compulsive search for the traces, imprints, and after-images of environmental interaction, i.e. patterns
This presentation will bring together some of the key approaches and insights of the book The Responsive Environment: Design, Aesthetics & The Human in the 1970s. The work of Serge Boutourline, Jr. will be given as an example of the attempt to confirm the presence of a conditioning environment, and to optimize and redesign its elusive patterns.

Larry D. Busbea is Professor of Art History at the University of Arizona, Tucson where his research focuses on the interactions of architecture, art and critical theory in Europe and the United States after WWII. He is the author of Topologies: The Urban Utopia in France, 1960–1970 (MIT Press, 2007), The Responsive Environment: Design, Aesthetics, and the Human in the 1970s (University of Minnesota Press, 2020), and Proxemics and the Architecture of Social Interaction (Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2020).

Victoria Bugge Øye is a PhD candidate in the History and Theory of Architecture at Princeton University. Her field of research includes American and European architecture post-1945 and its intersections with discourses of science, medicine and psychology. Her dissertation, “Mind-Body Architecture: Coop Himmelblau and the Making of Environmental Health, 1967-77,” examines how new welfare state policies and emerging concerns about the environment in the late 1960s helped forge interdisciplinary collaborations between architecture and medicine to establish the field of environmental health in Austria.

Feb 23 | Antoni Muntadas: “The Construction of Fear”

M+M Program in Media and Modernity presents

Antoni Muntadas
“The Construction of Fear”
[interlocutor: Mary Anne Staniszewski]

Tuesday, February 23, 2021 @5pm EST
Online Event [register here or stream here]

Wooden fences, barbed wire, bars, walls, cameras, alarms, closed circuit TV, radars, dogs, security guards, electronic systems … are some of the devices which act within new private and public spaces supposedly for their security, surveillance and protection. Security and Surveillance is one of the fastest-growing industries and, in the end, is a subsidiary of the military industry. On a par with the design of jails, it is at the top of the list of major development projects in the construction industry. The configuration of cities has been defined and developed with urbanisation projects that expand the centre and create peripheries. At the same time, these peripheries create paradoxes between the public and the private, between the richest and the poorest. Suburb, a word from Latin origins and an Anglo-Saxon concept, is translated in a differential way depending on the context. It poses security as a reality and paranoia, and transforms gated communities into new bastions where the security and surveillance industry encounters an appropriate terrain for its development.

Access to the following video works has been kindly provided by the artist, Antoni Muntadas, for advance viewing: 

__ On Translation: Fear / Miedo [password: fear]
__ On Translation: Miedo / Jauf [password: jauf]

Antoni Muntadas was born in Barcelona in 1942 and has lived in New York since 1971. He arrived at MIT in 1977 to join the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) as a research fellow. There Muntadas explored topics such as the media landscape and the dichotomies between subjectivity and objectivity, and private and public on the media sphere. He works on projects in different media such as photography, video, publications, the world wide web, public interventions, and multi-media installations. Since 1995, Muntadas has grouped together a set of works and projects titled On Translation Series. More recently, he has developed other projects and series such as About Academia, Asian Protocols, Strategies of Displacement, and The Construction of Fear. Their contents and materials are highly diverse while they all focus on the author’s personal investigative experience and a particular project methodology that is applied to analyze diverse contexts and social aspects. Muntadas was Professor of the Practice at ACT in the Department of Architecture at MIT and at the IUAV Instituto Universitario de Arquitectura del Veneto in Venice. He has shown his work at Documenta (1977, 1997), at the Whitney Biennial of American Art (1991), at the 51ª Biennale di Venezia (2005), and other biennials such as São Paulo, Lyon, Taipei, Gwangju, Istanbul and La Habana. Muntadas’ work Political Advertisement X 1952-2020, done in collaboration with Marshall Reese, is being shown now on the program democracies? at MOMA Magazine.

Mary Anne Staniszewski is an art and cultural historian whose books include a “trilogy” dealing with modernity and culture: Believing Is Seeing: Creating the Culture of Art (Penguin, 1995); The Power of Display: A History of Exhibition Installations at the Museum of Modern Art ( (MIT Press, 1998); and a third volume she is completing that is an interdisciplinary and intersectional investigation of race. Staniszewski has overseen a number of projects related to the New York City cultural center, Exit Art, which closed in June 2012, including a 2011 Contemporary Slavery Symposium and, as co-editor with Lauren Rosati, Alternative Histories: New York Art Spaces, 1960-2010 (Exit Art and MIT Press, 2012). She contributed the historical essay for SInce 1986: Swiss Institute, All Over the Map, eds., Simone Castets and Karen Marta (Scheidegger and Spiess, 2019). Staniszewski is an associate professor in the Department of the Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Feb 16 |Albena Yaneva: “Crafting History”

Albena Yaneva
“Crafting History: Archiving and the Quest for Architectural Legacy”
[interlocutor: Mark Wigley]

Tuesday, February 16, 2020 @5pm
Online Event [register here or stream here]

During the 1990s a flurry of concurrent developments in the social sciences and the arts brought archives to the fore of scholarly limelight: the “archival fever” in the arts and philosophy (Derrida, 1996), the emergence of the trend of “archival ethnography” in anthropology (Sahlins, 1992) and the “empirical turn” in archival science (The American Archivist, 1996: 59/2). The radical change in architectural practice triggered by computerization also led to its own “archival turn,” prompting practitioners to reflect on the techniques of archivization, both traditional and novel. All these developments point toward the importance to study archives as practice, and prompt us to ask: What constitutes an archive in architecture today? What epistemology does it perform? What kind of craft is archiving and how does it relate to design? 
Addressing these questions, the lecture offers insights to the ontological granularity of architectural archiving based on interviews with archivist Chiara Porcu and architect Álvaro Siza in Porto and ethnographic observation of the practices of conservators, cataloguers, digital and paper archivists, museum technicians and curators at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal. Following archiving in its mundane, down-to-earth and practical course – how objects are processed and catalogued, how drawings are preserved, how born-digital material battles time and technology obsolescence – allow us to unravel its multiple epistemic dimensions as well as to question some well-established myths of creativity and authorship.

Albena Yaneva is Professor of Architectural Theory and director of the Manchester Architecture Research Group (MARG) at the University of Manchester, UK. She has been Visiting Professor at Princeton School of Architecture (2013), Parsons, New School (2015) and Politecnico di Turino (2018), and held the prestigious Lise Meitner Visiting Chair in Architecture at the University of Lund, Sweden (2017-2019). Her research is intrinsically transdisciplinary and crosses the boundaries of science studies, cognitive anthropology, architectural theory and political philosophy. She is the author of several books: The Making of a Building (Peter Lang 2009), Made by the OMA: An Ethnography of Design (010 Publishers 2009), Mapping Controversies in Architecture (Routledge 2012), Five Ways to Make Architecture Political. An Introduction to the Politics of Design Practice (Bloomsbury 2017), Crafting History: Archiving and the Quest for Architectural Legacy (Cornell University Press 2020) and The New Architecture of Science: Learning from Graphene (World Scientific Publishing 2020), co-authored with Sir Kostya S. Novoselov (Nobel Laureate in Physics). Her work has been translated into German, Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Thai, Polish, Turkish and Japanese. Yaneva is the recipient of the RIBA President’s award for outstanding university-based research (2010). 

Mark Wigley is Professor and Dean Emeritus at Columbia GSAPP. His most recent book is Konrad Wachsmann’s Television: Post-Architectural Transmissions (Sternberg Press, 2020).

SPRING 21 | Program



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 FEBRUARY 16   ALBENA YANEVA [interlocutor: Mark Wigley]
Crafting History: Archiving and the Quest for Architectural Legacy 
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 FEBRUARY 23   ANTONI MUNTADAS [interlocutor: Mary Anne Staniszewski]
The Construction of Fear
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 MARCH 2   LARRY D. BUSBEA [interlocutor: Victoria Bugge Øye]
Pattern Watchers: Environmental Response c. 1970
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 MARCH 9   ELISA SILVA [interlocutor: George Baird]
Pure Space: Expanding the Public Sphere through Public Space Transformations in Latin American Informal Settlements
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on circulation and representation
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on technocracy and politics
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 APRIL 6   MARI LENDING & ERIK LANGDALEN [interlocutor: Adrian Forty]
Voices from the Archives [Sverre Fehn, Nordic Pavilion, Venice]
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Sylvia Lavin … —more information soon—
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All virtual events are hosted via Zoom or streamed live. Advance registration is encouraged and will open with every respective event announcement. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to


 MOD 502 
Prof. Charles L. Davis II
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 MOD 572 
Prof. Eduardo L. Cadava
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Prof. Allison Carruth
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 MOD 564
Prof. Katja Guenther
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 MOD 597
Prof. Beatriz Colomina, Prof. Rubén Gallo
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Irene Cheng, Charles L. Davis II, and Mabel O. Wilson
Tuesday, February 9, 2020 @5pm
Online Event [register here or stream here]

Although race—a concept of human difference that establishes hierarchies of power and domination—has played a critical role in the development of modern architectural discourse and practice since the Enlightenment, its influence on the discipline remains largely underexplored. Race and Modern Architecture offers a welcome and long-awaited intervention for the field by shining a spotlight on constructions of race and their impact on architecture and theory in Europe and North America and across various global contexts since the eighteenth century. Challenging us to write race back into architectural history, contributors confront how racial thinking has intimately shaped some of the key concepts of modern architecture and culture over time, including freedom, revolution, character, national and indigenous style, progress, hybridity, climate, representation, and radicalism. By analyzing how architecture has intersected with histories of slavery, colonialism, and inequality—from eighteenth-century neoclassical governmental buildings to present-day housing projects for immigrants—Race and Modern Architecture challenges, complicates, and revises the standard association of modern architecture with a universal project of emancipation and progress.

Irene Cheng is associate professor of architecture at the California College of the Arts, where she directs the Experimental History Project. She is the coeditor, with Bernard Tschumi, of The State of Architecture at the Beginning of the 21st Century (Monacelli Press, 2003). Her forthcoming book The Shape of Utopia(University of Minnesota Press) explores the relationship between architecture and politics in nineteenth-century American utopias.

Charles L. Davis II is an assistant professor of architectural history and criticism at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. His research examines the integrations of race and style theory in paradigms of “architectural organicism,” or design movements that emulated natural principles of development to produce a “living architecture.” His book Building Character: The Racial Politics of Modern Architectural Style (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019) was supported by grants from the Graham Foundation and the Canadian Center for Architecture.

Mabel O. Wilson is the Nancy and George E. Rupp Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation  and a professor in African American and African Diaspora Studies at Columbia University. She is the director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies and co-director of the Global Africa Lab. She has authored Begin with the Past: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture (Smithsonian Books, 2017) and Negro Building: Black Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums (University of California Press, 2012).