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 mandm@princeton.edu


 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).

NOV 19 | SICK ARCHITECTURE : roundtable

M+M Program in Media and Modernity and e-flux Architecture present

Roundtable with Tairan An, Guillermo Sanchez Arsuaga, Nick Axel, Victoria Bergbauer, Carrie Bly, Beatriz Colomina, Nikolaus Hirsch, Rebecca Kellawan, Iván López Munuera, Kara Plaxa, Gizem Sivri, Shivani Shedde, and Mark Wigley
Thursday, November 19, 2020 @5pm EST
Online Event [live stream >> e-flux.com/live]

SICK ARCHITECTURE series https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/sick-architecture/

Sick Architecture is a collaboration between Beatriz Colomina, e-flux Architecture, and the Princeton University Ph.D. Program in the History and Theory of Architecture, with the support of the Rapid Response David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Grant from the Humanities Council and the Program in Media and Modernity at Princeton University, featuring contributions by Tairan An, Guillermo Sanchez Arsuaga, Victoria Bergbauer, Carrie Bly, Beatriz Colomina, Rebecca Kellawan, Iván López Munuera, Kara Plaxa, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Paul B. Preciado, Gizem Sivri, Shivani Shedde, and Mark Wigley. The project began as a Ph.D. seminar in the fall of 2019 and will continue in 2021 as an exhibition at CIVA in Brussels.

A grid of empty white beds in a dark cavernous space—waiting for bodies. One architecture inside another. A field hospital is set up within days to accommodate 5,500 patients in two convention center halls in Madrid. Buildings designed for temporary events now host an emergency medical architecture, a space for disease.

Sick Architecture is not simply the architecture of medical emergency. On the contrary, it is the architecture of normality—the way that past health crises are inscribed into the everyday, with each architecture not just carrying the traces of prior diseases, but having been completely shaped by them. Every new disease is hosted within the architecture formed by previous diseases in a kind of archeological nesting of disease. Each medical event activates deep histories of architecture and illness, along with all the associated fears, misunderstandings, prejudices, inequities, and innovations.

Image: A field hospital with 5,500 beds and an Intensive Care Unit for patients with COVID-19 at the Ifema exhibition complex in Madrid, March 22, 2020. Photo: Borja Sanchez-Trillo/Comunidad de Madrid via Getty Images.

NOV 9 | Martino Stierli: “Montage and the Metropolis: Architecture, Modernity, and the Representation of Space”

Martino Stierli
“Montage and the Metropolis: Architecture, Modernity, and the Representation of Space”
Interlocutor: Brigid Doherty
Monday, November 9, 2020 @5pm
Online Event [register here or stream here]

Montage is omnipresent in modern culture and discourse. Rooted in industrial production and popular image practices in the nineteenth century, and achieving its recognizable form in the avant-garde movements of the 1920s, the juxtaposition of (photographic) elements became, through adaption and analogy, a primary compositional principle in all artistic media. A direct consequence and function fo what Walter Benjamin termed “the age of technological reproducibility,” montage addresses the mode of perception specific to the mechanized metropolis. Engaging history and theory of architecture, photography, film, literature, historiography, and popular visual culture since the late nineteenth century, Montage and the Metropolis reassesses the category of montage as not only a dominant modernist compositional principle but also a way to think about embodied moving through space more generally­—a key strategy for the production of meaning, adopted by multiple constituencies.


Martino Stierli is The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern art (MoMA), a role he assumed in March 2015. Stierli oversees the wide-ranging program of special exhibitions, installations, and acquisitions of the Department of Architecture and Design. He is the author of Montage and the Metropolis: Architecture, Modernity and the Representation of Space (Yale University Press, 2018) and Las Vegas in the Rearview Mirror: The City in Theory, Photography, and Film (Getty Research Institute, 2013). He has organized and co-curated exhibitions on a variety of topics, including the international traveling exhibition Las Vegas Studio: Images from the Archives of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, and The Architecture of Hedonism: Three Villas in the Island of Capri, which was included in the 14th Architecture Biennale in Venice in 2014. At MoMA; he has curated, with Vladimir Kulic, the exhibition “Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980,” and, with Ann Temkin, “From the Collection: 1960-1969”. Together with the other chief curators, he was also responsible for the reconceptualization of the collection installations in the new and expanded MoMA, which opened to the public in October 2019. He is currently working on a large exhibition on the architecture of South Asia in the post-independence period.

Brigid Doherty is an associate professor in the Departments of German and Art & Archaeology at Princeton University.

Nov 5 | Ruha Benjamin: “Race to the Future? Reimagining the Default Settings of Technology & Society”

Ruha Benjamin
“Race to the Future? Reimagining the Default Settings of Technology & Society”
Interlocutor: V. Mitch McEwen
Thursday, November 5, 2020 @5pm EST
Online Event [register here or stream here]

From everyday apps to complex algorithms, technology has the potential to hide, speed, and deepen discrimination, while appearing neutral and even benevolent when compared to racist practices of a previous era. In this talk, Ruha Benjamin explores a range of discriminatory designs that encode inequity — what she terms the “New Jim Code.” This presentation takes us into the world of biased bots, altruistic algorithms, and their many entanglements, and provides conceptual tools to decode tech promises with historical and sociological insight. She will also consider how race itself is a kind of tool designed to stratify and sanctify social injustice and discuss how technology is and can be used toward liberatory ends. In doing so, Benjamin challenges us to question not only the technologies we are sold, but also the ones we manufacture ourselves.

Ruha Benjamin is Associate Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, Founding Director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab, and author of the award-winning book Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim CodeFor more info visit www.ruhabenjamin.com

V. Mitch McEwen is Assistant Professor in Architecture and Director of the Black Box research group at Princeton University.

Oct 28 | Paul B. Preciado: “An Apartment on Uranus: Chronicles of the Crossing”

Paul B. Preciado
“An Apartment on Uranus: Chronicles of the Crossing”
Interlocutor: Ivan Lopez Munuera
Wednesday, October 28, 2020 @5pm EST
Online Event [register here or stream here]

One night, months after I have started a process of gender transitioning, I dreamt that I had an apartment on Uranus. That dream was not like other dreams. It was like a virus, it induced the feeling that that extraterrestrial apartment existed. Why Uranus? Why having an apartment on the coldest planet in the solar system, a frozen giant named for a Greek deity? Only much later, I remember that in 1864, the writer and first sexual activist Karl Heinrich Ulrichs coined the term “uranism” to define the “third sex” and the rights of those who “love differently.” My trans condition is a form of Uranism. I am not a man and I am not a woman and I am not heterosexual I am not homosexual I am not bisexual. I am a dissident of the sex-gender system. I am a Uranian confined inside the limits of techno-scientific capitalism. But, what does it mean to gender transition within a gender binary and patriarchal-colonial regime? How technologies of production of gender and sexual subjectivity have changed since Ulrichs times? What has been the role of architecture within the construction and normalization of gender, sexual, and racial segmentation and how is this role changing within contemporary pharmacopornographic capitalism?

Paul B. Preciado is a philosopher, curator, and one of the leading thinkers in the study of gender, sexual and body politics. Fulbright fellow, he holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Theory of Architecture from Princeton University. He is the author of the books Contra-Sexual Manifesto (Columbia University Press), Testo Junkie. Sex, Drugs and Biopolitics (The Feminist Press), Pornotopia (Zone Books) for which he was awarded the Sade Price in France, and An Apartment in Uranus (Fitzcarraldo/Semiotexte). He has taught Philosophy of the Body and Transfeminist Theory at Université Paris VIII-Saint Denis and at New York University. From 2014 to 2017, he was Curator of Public Programs of documenta 14 (Kassel/Athens) where he started the project The Parliament of Bodies. He is Associated Philosopher at the Pompidou Center. His newest book is Can the monster speak? Report for an Academy of Psychoanalyst (Grasset) and will be published in English in 2021 by Fitzcarraldo. 

Ivan Lopez Munera is a Ph.D. candidate in the History and Theory of Architecture at Princeton University.

Oct 19 | Lydia Kallipoliti: “The Curious Case of Closed Worlds”

M+M Program in Media and Modernity presents

Lydia Kallipoliti
“The Curious Case of Closed Worlds”
Interlocutor: Sylvia Lavin
Monday, October 19, 2020 @5pm EST
Online Event [register here or stream here]

This talk will explore a genealogy of contained microcosms with the ambition to replicate the earth in its totality; a series of living experiments that forge a synthetic naturalism, where the laws of nature and metabolism are displaced from the domain of wilderness to the domain of cities and buildings. Beyond technical concerns, closed worlds distill architectural concerns related to habitation: first, an integrated structure where humans, their physiology of ingestion and excretion, become combustion devices, tied to the system with umbilical cords; second, closed worlds are giant stomachs; they are inhabitable machines that digest resources and are sometimes disobedient; at times they digest, while at other times they vomit.

Lydia Kallipoliti is an architect, engineer, and scholar whose research focuses on the intersections of architecture, technology, and environmental politics. She is an Assistant Professor at the Cooper Union in New York. She has also taught at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she directed the Master of Science Program, at Syracuse University, Columbia University [GSAPP], and Pratt Institute; she was also a visiting fellow at the University of Queensland and a visiting professor at the University of Technology Sydney in Australia. She is the author of the awarded book The Architecture of Closed Worlds, Or, What is the Power of Shit (Lars Muller Publishers, 2018) and Head Co-Curator of the upcoming Tallinn Architecture Biennale in 2022.

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

Oct 14 | Fabiola López-Durán: “Eugenics in the Garden”

Fabiola López-Durán
“Eugenics in the Garden: Transatlantic Architecture and the Crafting of Modernity”
Interlocutor: Beatriz Colomina
Wednesday, October 14, 2020 @5pm EST
Online Event [register here or stream here]

Drawn from López-Durán’s new book, Eugenics in the Garden: Transatlantic Architecture and the Crafting of Modernity, this talk uncovers the global trajectory of Le Corbusier’s embrace of eugenics’ ideology as a viable doctrine for the remaking of man, wherein the built environment would be put to work. Examining his alignment with eugenics—from his formulation of universal type-needs, to his Modulor and its normative human body—this talk reveals how architecture was made complicit in a genetically-inspired program that mirrored eugenics’ attempts to “improve” the human race. 


Fabiola López-Durán is Associate Professor of Art and Architectural History at Rice University. Originally trained as an architect, she earned her Ph.D. in the History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture and Art from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and completed postdoctoral training at the University of California-Berkeley’s History of Art Department. Adopting a transnational and interdisciplinary perspective, López-Durán’s research and teaching uncovers and interrogates the cross-pollination of ideas and mediums—science, politics and aesthetics—that ignited the process of modernization on both sides of the Atlantic, with an emphasis on Latin America. She has written about monocultures and architecture, biopolitics and landscape, and the complicities between capitalism, racism and the construction of the built environment. Her book, Eugenics in the Garden: Transatlantic Architecture and the Crafting of Modernity, investigates a particular strain of eugenics that, at the turn of the twentieth century, moved from the realms of medicine and law to design, architecture, and urban planning—becoming a critical instrument in the crafting of modernity. Her research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Dedalus Foundation, the CLIR, the Harvard Center for European Studies, the Camargo Foundation, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, MIT France and the Fulbright Program, among others. Her book Eugenics in the Garden received a Society of Architectural Historians/Mellon Author Award in 2018, and was the winner of the Robert Motherwell Book Prize in 2019.

Beatriz Colomina is Howard Crosby Butler Professor of the History of Architecture and Co-Director of the Program in Media and Modernity at Princeton University.


Images: [top] Alphonse Bertillon, chart of physical traits for the study of the “Portrait Parle,” ca. 1909. Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Twentieth-Century Photography Fund, 2009. [bottom]  Le Corbusier, Unité d’habitation in Marseille, 1945–1952 (the roof-terrace and its gymnasium). Photo by Rene Burri, 1959. © René Burri/Magnum Photos. Excerpted from Fabiola López-Durán, Eugenics in the Garden: Transatlantic Architecture and the Crafting of Modernity (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2018).

Oct 5 | Pelin Tan + Thomas Keenan: “Architecture and the Rights of a More-Than-Human World”

M+M Program in Media and Modernity presents

Pelin Tan + Thomas Keenan
“Architecture and the Rights of a More-Than-Human World”
Monday, October 5, 2020 @5pm EST
Online Event [register here or stream here]

Discussions of the relationship between human rights and architecture tend to focus on the destruction of buildings in conflict zones or the construction of shelters in emergency conditions. Sometimes critical evaluations of bad buildings—prisons and detention centers, border walls, military installations, etc.—are the topic of these discussions.  These are all essential topics, but they are not the only ones. Perhaps, in a School of Architecture, we should invert the paradigm in which architecture modestly performs affirmative or critical services in the public interest or in the cause of justice and instead ask how a link to human rights research and advocacy might disrupt or even transform some basic ideas about what architecture is and does. Current debates about labor and pedagogy within architecture might offer an opening to a different sort of relationship with human rights questions. Likewise, new forms of architectural research that are developed in partnership with human rights actors, or projects in which the architectural analysis is the human rights analysis, can explode both the social service and the critical model. And when architecture attends to non-human life, and activists to non-human rights, the encounter between these practices becomes even more complex—and it is happening.

Pelin Tan is an affiliated assoc.prof. of the Fine Arts Academy, Batman University (Turkey), Senior Researcher of the Center for Arts, Design, and Social Research and visiting 6th Keith Haring Art&Activism fellow of the Human Rights Program, Bard College, NY.

Thomas Keenan teaches human rights, media theory, literature, and directs the Human Rights Project as well as Bard’s degree program in Human Rights. He has served on the boards of a number of human rights organizations and journals, including WITNESS, Scholars at Risk, The Crimes of War Project, The Journal of Human Rights, and Humanity. He is the author of Fables of Responsibility, 1997; and with Eyal Weizman, Mengele’s Skull, 2012.