1. 9-11 September 2021 My paper entitled “The Aesthetics of Travel in the Thought of Architects: Urban Space in Movement as a New Perceptual Regime and the Dynamics of Landscape” has been selected to be presented at the 8th Mediterranean Congress of Aesthetics, Interim Conference of the International Association for Aesthetics
The Aesthetics of Travel in the Thought of Architects: Urban Space in Movement as a New Perceptual Regime and the Dynamics of Landscape
The automobile, since its invention, has reshaped our conceptions of space, revolutionizing the way architects perceive the city and contributing significantly to the transformation of the relationship between architecture and the city. The paper will explore the theories and methods most suitable for understanding how the automobile has transformed the architects’ perception of urban conditions. It will investigate which visual means and artefacts are most efficient for comprehending the snapshot aesthetics, understood as the rapid, sequential and fragmentary perception of the urban territory from the car, which characterizes car travel. Journeys have always been a source of inspiration for the architects, playing a significant role in shaping their design strategies.
My aim is to untie the specificity of car travel as a new episteme, taking into account the way that Michel Foucault understands the notion of episteme. Departing from the writings of Donald Appleyard, Kevin Lynch, John Myer, Reyner Banham, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown – but also from John Lautner, Alison and Peter Smithson, Denise Scott Brown and Aldo Rossi’s interest in taking photographs from the car – my paper will establish a broader conceptual framework for tackling the issues related to the impact of the automobile on architectural and urban thought, treating the different aspects of architects and urban designers’ automobile vision as expressions of the emergence of a new episteme.
My presentation will focus on the role of taking photographs by architects during travelling by car, paying particular attention to the analysis of photographs by architects John Lautner, Alison και Peter Smithson και Aldo Rossi. My objective is to examine, through the analysis of the photographs by the aforementioned architects, how the ways in which they used to take photographs of landscapes and buildings during their travels, reveals hidden aspects of their architectural thought, and how they perceived the practice of architectural composition.
2. 1-4 September 2021 I will chair a macro-session entitled “Migration as a Gendered Process: Redefining Domesticity and Displacement” at the 15th International Conference on Urban History (EAUH 2021)
Venue: University of Antwerp, Belgium
Abstract of the session that I will chair at the European Association for Urban History Conference: Cities in Motion 2021
Migration as a Gendered Process: Redefining Domesticity and Displacement
Migrant incorporation triggers processes of place-making which open up new social and conceptual spaces in the city. The session will shed light on how migration challenges the concepts of user, domesticity and citizenship, seeking to present the implications of the intersections between migration studies, urban studies, and gender studies for our comprehension of urban conditions and dynamics.
Unauthorised immigration has emerged as a generalised fact in all Western economies in the post-Second World War era. In such a context, mobility and migration are constituting elements of urban society.Taking as a starting point the fact that domesticity is a construction of the nineteenth century, the main objective of this session will be to shed light on how migration challenges the concepts of user, domesticity and citizenship. Saskia Sassen’s understanding of immigration as “a process constituted by human beings with will and agency, with multiple identities and life trajectories beyond the fact of being seen, defined and categorised as immigrants for the purposes of the receiving polity, economy and society” is useful in order to better grasp the impact of migration on the status of public space, leading to a more open conception of it and to the reconceptualization of the notion of place beyond traditional definitions, while challenging the boundaries between what is public, communal and domestic. Migrant incorporation triggers processes of place-making which open up new social and conceptual spaces in the city. Over the last four decades, there is a changing paradigm in migration studies that are gradually paying more and more attention to the gender composition of the migration streams. This trend of studying conjointly gender and migration phenomena becomes more and more dominant. Special attention will be paid to methods of gender and migration scholarship drawing on social science approaches, treating gender as an institutional part of immigration studies and establishing legitimacy for gender in immigration studies. The session aims to reflect on the implications of establishing methods based on the endeavour to merge migration studies, urban studies and gender studies for the perception of the concepts of placemaking, displacement and domesticity, on the one hand, and for how the mobility from city to city is understood within the contemporary transnational context, on the other hand.
- Spokesperson: Marianna Charitonidou, Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta) ETH Zürich, National Technical University of Athens and Athens School of Fine Arts
- Keywords: Immigration | Placemaking | Gender studies
- Time period: Contemporary period
- Topic(s): Architecture and urbanism | Social
- Study area: More than one continent
3. 1-4 September 2021 My paper entitled “The Advocacy Planning and the Civil Rights Movement in the United States: The Architects’ Renewal Committee and the Democratization of Urban Planning” has been selected to be presented at the 15th International Conference on Urban History (EAUH 2020), which will take place in Antwerp as part of the session S-SOC-1 “New approaches to Urban Social-spatial Disparities in Welfare and Liberal regimes (20th c.)” chaired by Prof. Christoph Bernhardt and Prof. Marjaana Niemi
Venue: University of Antwerp, Belgium
The Advocacy Planning and the Civil Rights Movement in the United States: The Architects’ Renewal Committee and the Democratization of Urban Planning
This paper takes as its point of departure advocacy planning approaches’ consideration that urban renewal is incompatible with any kind of socially effective urban planning. It focuses on analysing the Architects’ Renewal Committee in Harlem (ARCH), the first organisation solely devoted to advocacy planning in the United States, and places particular emphasis on the critiques of urban renewal strategies in the late 1960s in the North-Eastern American context, and on the emergence of groups that aimed to struggle for the civil rights of African Americans. It closely examines how the Architects’ Renewal Committee in Harlem (ARCH) provided technical and design advice to communities who could otherwise not afford it, aspiring to democratize urban planning. It pays special attention to the analysis of ARCH’s program entitled “Architecture in the Neighborhoods” (1970), which aimed to recruit local black youth to become architects. In parallel, the paper compares the strategies of the Architects’ Renewal Committee in Harlem (ARCH) with those of other groups struggling over the rights of minorities and the democratization of urban planning, such as The Architects’ Resistance (TAR), and National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS). The Architects’ Resistance (TAR) was a group formed in 1968 by architecture students from Columbia GSAPP, MIT Department of Architecture, and Yale School of Architecture and was “concerned about the social responsibility of architects and the framework within which architecture is practiced.” The National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS) played a major role in the struggle over civil rights for African Americans in the United States. It was founded by a group of African-American architects in Detroit, Michigan in 1971 during the AIA National Convention and aimed to defend the rights of minority design professionals. The paper presents how the above-mentioned groups aimed to reshape urban planning models in order to respond to the call for a more democratic society. It sheds light on how they reinvented the relationship between architecture and democracy.
Keywords: advocacy planning, Civil rights movement, democratization of urban planning
4. 2 – 5 July 2021 My paper entitled “Urban Politics at the Crossroads of the State Reason and Human Reason: Juxtaposing Autogestion and Autonomy” has been selected to be presented at the 5th International Society for the Philosophy of Architecture (ISPA) Conference ‘Public Space: the Real and the Ideal’
Venue: Monte Verità, Switzerland
5. June 2021 My paper entitled “Bernard Tschumi’s Parc de La Villette as Reinvention of the Concept of Territory: ‘Follies’ as a Dispersed and Differentiated Reality” was selected to be presented at the 13th Deleuze & Guattari Studies International Conference “Territorialities, Exterritorialities, Non-Territorialities”
Venue: Faculty of Arts of Charles University, Prague
6. 24-25 June 2021 My paper entitled “Cinema as an Apparatus for Homemaking: Gender Roles from Post-war Neorealism to the Contemporary Italian Scene” was selected to be presented at the symposium “Dream Play Challenge: The Future of Residential Living”, which will be part of the Women in Architecture Festival
Venue: Nordic Embassy, Berlin
Cinema as an Apparatus for Homemaking: Gender Roles from Post-war Neorealism to the Contemporary Italian Scene
The paper presents how the representation of the categories of urban, domestic, individual and collective in Italian Neorealist and New Migrant Cinema enhances a new understanding of migrant and gender subjectivities. Its scope is double-fold: firstly, it draws upon the situation of the gender roles of migrants in post-war neorealist films, and, secondly, it addresses the ways in which contemporary Italian films dealing with contemporary migrants in Rome relate to the post-war neorealist scene. The main objective is to present how cinema, in both cases, functions as an aesthetic apparatus that mediates the homemaking mechanisms of migrants. Special attention is paid to how gender roles contribute to the mise-en-scène of such apparatuses, and to how cinema as an aesthetic apparatus can address and reconstruct the experience of migrant architectures, and the homemaking mechanisms of migrants. The way gender and migrant roles were conceived in Italian Neorealist and New Migrant Cinema was based on the intention to address the fears and anxieties of migrant architecture and homemaking and to challenge the stereotypes that characterise them. In Italian Neorealist cinema, the roles of borgatari and women function as devices of reconceptualization of Italy’s identity, providing a fertile terrain to reflect on the intersections between migration studies, urban studies and gender studies. A point of departure is the remark that, in contemporary Italian cinema – as Aine O’Healy remarks, in Migrant Anxieties: Italian Cinema in a Transnational Frame – one can discern some similarities in “the ways in which films featuring migrants remap the national territory” with neorealist films. The reconfiguration of national narratives that is achieved in the cases of Neorealist and New Migrant cinema in Italy is closely related to the formation of new subjectivities, and to the transformation of the anxieties accompanying migrant architecture into apparatuses of creative processes. Converting the anxieties of migrant architecture and homemaking into their very terrain of exploration, the films of Neorealist and New Migrant cinema in Italy reconceptualize not only the idea of community, but the way it is associated with the reconfiguration of national narratives in cinema as well.
6-7 May 2021 My paper entitled “Automobile infrastructure and the planning of the Great Aarhus Area: ‘boligveje’, ‘stamveje’, ‘fordelingsveje’, ‘primærveje’ and ‘motorveje’ as different models of mobility” was selected to be presented at the International Conference “Spaces of Welfare”
Venue: The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation (KADK), Copenhagen
Automobile infrastructure and the planning of the Great Aarhus Area: ‘boligveje’, ‘stamveje’, ‘fordelingsveje’, ‘primærveje’ and ‘motorveje’ as different models of mobility
The starting point of the paper is the fact that the automobile is among the actors that had the greatest impact on the welfare landscape. The car introduced into the latter a new rhythm, speed and regime of perception. To examine the ways in which the car, as a physical and perceptual presence, has influenced the design of welfare landscapes in Denmark, the paper focuses on the analysis of road infrastructure in the case of the Greater Aarhus Area and its urban redevelopment plan by a committee that was established in 1961.. More specifically, it examines the following five categories structuring the road network around which the planning of the Great Aarhus Area was de-veloped: ‘boligveje’ (housing roads), ‘stamveje’ (regular roads), ‘fordelingsveje’ (distribution roads), ‘primærveje’ (primary roads) and ‘motorveje’ (motorways). Its aim is to render explicit how each of the aforementioned types of automobile infrastructure implied another model of mobility. The paper in-tends to relate these models of mobility to the adopted urban planning strategies’ intention to provide to “every individual […] equal access to all the benefits that the big city offers without having to expe-rience the downsides which the big city also contains” .
Special attention is paid to scrutinizing how the incorporation of the notion of ‘mobility’ into urban planning, in the case of the Great Aarhus Area, is related to their adoption of concepts and tools coming from urban geography. This cross-fertilization between urban planning and urban geography offered the opportunity to the Danish planners involved in the aforementioned project to “regulate the behavioural patterns of the urban dwellers” . An aspect that is closely investigated is how the division into ‘boligstier’ (housing paths), ‘kvarterstier’ (neighbourhood paths) and ‘hovedstier’ (main paths) en-sured a consistent separation of driving and walking traffic. The separation of pedestrian and auto-mobile circulation was common within the post-war welfare state, as is evidenced by other national contexts such as France, for instance in Georges Candilis, Alexis Josic and Shadrach Woods’s pro-posal for Toulouse-le-Mirail, which was conceived in the framework of the French villes nouvelles pro-ject. Comparing the ways in which the division of pedestrian and automobile circulation was ad-dressed within different national contexts in relation to the different agendas of the welfare state, the paper will shed light on how architects and urban planners conceived the car as an important means in the endeavour of architecture to respond to the welfare values of post-war society. Its objective is to show that the emergence of a new understanding of citizens’ sensibilities, due to the generalised use of the car in post-war society, should be interpreted in relation to the welfare state.
7. 19-21 November 2020 My paper entitled “The Living Units within the Home-office Conditions: “Tele-work”, “Tele-communication”, and “Tele-education” vis-à-vis the Reinvention of the City and Pandemic Preparednesss” was selected to be presented at the 17th Annual International Conference of the Architectural Humanities Research Association ‘Housing and the City’, Nottingham University, UK. This talk is part of the session 05 “Live/Work”, which will be held on Thursday 21 November between 11:30 and 14:00 (UK time zone)
O5 — Live / Work (Chair: Anna Shapiro, Sheppard Robson Architects, Architectural Association)
- The living units within the home-office conditions: “Tele- work”, “tele-communication”, and “tele-education” vis-à-vis the reinvention of the city and pandemic preparedness Marianna Charitonidou, ETH Zürich
- Housing typology at fashion kampungs for more sustainable living-working environment in Bandung, Dibya Kusyala, Sri Rahma Apriliyanthi, Adhitya Rizky Isnandya, Institut Teknologi Bandung; and Achmad Syaiful Lathif, Telkom University
- Working at Home: Architects during the Pandemic in China,Ye Xu, Katharina Borsi, Jonathan Hale, University of Nottingham
- Open city / closed city, Frances Holliss, London Metropolitan University; and Claudia Dutson, Royal College of Art
The Living Units within the Home-office Conditions: “Tele-work”, “Tele-communication”, and “Tele-education” vis-à-vis the Reinvention of the City and Pandemic Preparedness
The paper focuses on the analysis of how architects such us Takis Zenetos, Yona Friedman, Frei Otto and the Archigram among others conceptualized the reinvention of the relationship between the living units and the home-office conditions. Both Zenetos and Friedman were interested in the re-invention of the home-office conditions and on how architecture and urban design strategies could respond to distance working. They were particularly interested in “tele-work”, “tele-communication”, and “tele-education”. Special attention will be paid to how the architects under study envisioned a new mode of thinking urbanism able to be adapted to the continuous mutations in both the social and technological domain. Central for this paper is the analysis of the design of flexible systems concern-ing both buildings and infrastructures, and intending to take into consideration the accelerating muta-tion of the living units in the cities of the future. An aspect that will be explored is the extent to which the core ideas of the experimentations of the aforementioned architects with the living units in the city of the future could be incorporated in the design of architectural and urban projects aiming to contribute to pandemic preparedness.
Particular emphasis is placed on the analysis of Zenetos’ design of living units adapted to the conditions of working from home. Zenetos worked on “Urbanisme élec-tronique: Structures parallèles” for more than twenty years. This project consisted of individual living units spread over a vast infrastructural domain, presents many affinities with various projects of sus-pended megastructures, such as the utopian urban network over Paris designed by Yona Friedman, the Plug-in City by Archigram. The paper departs from the hypothesis that the analysis of Zenetos and Friedman’s intention to provide comfortable, flexible and independent home-office conditions through the design of “individual living units” using advanced technological achievements could be helpful for better understanding how architecture could respond to the challenge of providing contemporary home-office conditions within the conditions of emergence in the case of pandemic breakouts, such as the coronavirus breakout. Special attention will be paid to the complexity of the psychological and physiological needs of citizens within such conditions.
The paper examines how architects such us Takis Zenetos, Yona Friedman, Frei Otto and Archigram among others conceptualized the reinvention of the relationship between the living units and the home-office conditions. Both Zenetos and Friedman were interested in the re-invention of the home-office conditions and in how architecture and urban design strategies could respond to distance working. They were particularly interested in “tele-work”, “tele-communication”, and “tele-education”. Special attention will be paid to how the architects under study envisioned a new mode of thinking urbanism able to be adapted to the continuous mutations in both the social and technological domain.
Central for this paper is the analysis of the design of flexible systems concern-ing both buildings and infrastructures, and intending to take into consideration the accelerating muta-tion of the living units in the cities of the future. An aspect that will be explored is the extent to which the core ideas of the experimentations of the aforementioned architects with the living units in the city of the future could be incorporated in the design of architectural and urban projects aiming to contribute to pandemic preparedness. Particular emphasis is placed on the analysis of Zenetos’ design of living units adapted to the conditions of working from home. Zenetos worked on “Urbanisme élec-tronique: Structures parallèles” for more than twenty years. This project consisted of individual living units spread over a vast infrastructural domain, presents many affinities with various projects of suspended megastructures, such as the utopian urban network over Paris designed by Yona Friedman, the Plug-in City by Archigram. The paper departs from the hypothesis that the analysis of Zenetos and Friedman’s intention to provide comfortable, flexible and independent home-office conditions through the design of “individual living units” using advanced technological achievements could be helpful for better understanding how architecture could respond to the challenge of providing con-temporary home-office conditions within the conditions of emergency in the case of pandemic breakouts, such as the coronavirus breakout. Special attention will be paid to the complexity of the psychological and physiological needs of citizens within such conditions.
8. 19-21 November 2020 My paper entitled “New Social Housing Models in Sweden: From Folkhemmet to Automobile Perceptual Regimes” was selected to be presented at the 17th Annual International Conference of the Architectural Humanities Research Association ‘Housing and the City’, Nottingham University, UK. This talk is part of the Session B1 “Planning Urban Living”, which will take place on Wednesday 20 November between 08:30 and 11:00 (UK time zone)
B1 – Planning Urban Living (Chair: Graeme Barker, University of Nottingham)
- New social housing models in Sweden: From Folkhemmet to automobile perceptual regimes Marianna Charitonidou, ETH Zürich
- Housing mid-century Irish publics – some paradigms, Gary A. Boyd, Queens University Belfast; and Brian Ward, Technological University Dublin
- Experimenting planned urban living under commercialisation: Historical reflection on the socialist collective housing design in Shenzhen during China’s reform and opening-up, Yiwei Zhang and Jing Xiao, Shenzhen University
- Living in anti-adaptive neighbourhoods, Nurit Alfasi, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
- The housing exhibition: Visionary architecture and housing in Singapore, c.1963, Eunice Seng, The University of Hong Kong
New Social Housing Models in Sweden: From Folkhemmet to Automobile Perceptual Regimes
The article sheds light on the relationship between architecture and corporatism in Sweden, paying special attention to Cøsta Esping-Andersen’s The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism, and Democracy and the Welfare State: The Two Wests in the Age of Austerity edited by Alice Kessler-Harris and Maurizio Vaudagna. It examines how the automobile, as a physical and perceptual presence, has influenced the relationship between welfare landscapes and social housing in Sweden. Starting out from Gro Hagemann’s statement – in “Paradise Lost: Social Citizenship in Norway and Sweden” – that “[s]ocial integration was a key part of the folkhem idea, and social marginalisation and exclusion remain low in both Sweden and Norway”, it explores how architects and urban designers in Sweden began to take the car into full consideration when designing new social housing ensembles, neighbourhoods and cities. During the 1970s, in contrast with the American drive-centred suburbia, the design of the Swedish suburban environment, as described in the late-seventies issues of Human Environment in Sweden, was based on the intention to minimise as much as possible the “suburban use of the automobile”.
In cases such as the Vällingby suburban district, design strategies were explicitly set against the “excessive reliance on the automobile as the means of transportation” characterising American suburbs. In contrast with the Vällingby households that, as David Popenoe notes, had “two cars, and a significant percentage (35-40) [had] […] no car”, Järvalyftet – a large-scale project that intended to renew a section of northern Stockholm with a population of ca. 60,000 – envisioned a renewed role for the motorways and their connection to housing design, as becomes evident in the description of this project in the OECD Reviews on Local Job Creation, Employment and Skills Strategies in Sweden: “The new motorway around Stockholm will go nearby, which better connects the areas to other communities”. This article explores the shift from the model of the so-called Folkhemmet (The People’s Home) to the incorporation of new ideas of proximity enhanced by the integration of motorways in the design of social housing in Sweden during the last few years. Analysing the impact of automobile perceptual regimes on the dominant social housing models in Sweden will help us better understand the role of the car in 21st-century social housing design and its social relevance within the welfare state.
9. 18-25 November 2020 My paper “Autopia as a New Episteme and New Theoretical Frameworks: The Car-oriented Perception of the City within a Transnational Network” was selected to be presented at the 37th Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) “What If? What Next? Speculations”
20 November I will present my paper entitled “The Advocacy Planning and the Civil Rights Movement in the United States” at the workshop “Exploring socio-spatial disparities in Western and socialist cities Theoretical challenges and empirical insights” organised by Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space in Erkner, Germany
Convenors: Prof. Christoph Bernhardt IRS & Prof. Marjaana Niemi, Uni Tampere
Exploring socio-spatial disparities in Western and socialist cities Theoretical challenges and empirical insights
Socio-spatial disparities were a major point of interest in the early days of modern urban history re- search. Segregation of workers, upper classes, ethnic or religious minorities in different quarters of cities was regarded as a key indicator of social injustice and a trigger of class struggles in liberal capital- ist societies. In the last two decades historians have developed new approaches which revise old ideas on the purely negative effects of socio-spatial segregation. In contrast the function of “arrival quar- ters” and socially homogenous quarters for the integration of immigrants is underlined. Moreover, we see that problems of socio-spatial disparities in Western welfare regimes and socialist cities have not yet been analysed in a comparative and comprehensive way from a cross-cultural perspective.
The workshop will explore urban social disparities in the late 20th century with a focus on two key problems of research:
1. Which theoretical approaches and methods do we have to describe socio-spatial disparities in Western welfare and in socialist cities and to critically evaluate them in a common conceptual framework?
2. Which fresh concepts and results of empirical research do we have which integrate dynamics of ethnicity, migration, gender etc. and the communicative and cultural dimensions of socio-spatial disparities and go beyond traditional approaches towards urban social segregation?
10.00 Introduction (Christoph Bernhardt IRS)
10.15 Theoretical approaches and concepts
- Social Segregation after Class and Empire (Simon Gunn, CUH Leicester)
- Socio-spatial disparities in socialist societies and cities (Christoph Bernhardt, IRS Erkner)
- Disparities as Experience? How to reconstruct and interpret the perception of being left behind (Sebastian Haumann, TU Darmstadt)
- Comment (Alexander Nützenadel, IfG Humboldt-University)
11.30 Empirical insights: Social disparities in European cities, late 20th c.
- Central Arrival Quarters in 20th Century Post-War Urbanisation: Stockholm and Oslo (Hakan Forsell, Univ. Stockholm)
- Socio-spatial disparities and ethnic boundary-making in mixed Albanian-Slavic cities of So- cialist Yugoslavia (Pieter Troch, Univ. Ghent)
- Tracing the Global Career of “Gentrification” in the late 20th Century (Christiane Reinecke, Univ. Osnabrück)
- The Advocacy Planning and the Civil Rights Movement in the United States (Marianna Charitonidou, EZH Zurich
- Comment (Marjaana Niemi, Tampere)
9. 26-30 August 2020 My paper entitled “Automobility and Welfare Landscapes: The Car as Presence and Perception” was selected to be presented at the session “Welfare Landscapes: Revisiting the Norms and Forms of a New Urbanity” chaired by Prof. Ellen Braae (University of Copenhagen) and Prof. Tom Avermaete (ETH Zürich) in the framework of the 5th Biennial Conference of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies, University College London, UK
Automobility and Welfare Landscapes: The Car as Presence and Perception
There is no actor that influenced welfare landscape as much as the automobile. The car affected not only the urban form but also its perception. At the level of the urban form, new figures emerged such as the parking lot and the parking garage. Tools coming from the domain of semiotics and semiology were activated by architects to grasp this new reality and to make sense of it. Concerning the experience of welfare landscapes, the car introduced a new rhythm, speed and regime of perception. This paper examines the ways in which the car, as a physical and perceptual presence, has influenced the design of welfare landscapes. Investigating cases from the UK, France, Italy, Sweden, and Norway the paper explores how architects and urban designers started taking the car into full consideration when designing new neighbourhoods and cities. Among the cases that are examined are the impact of the car on the work and thought of Alison and Peter Smithson in the UK, and the design of new towns in France such as the design for the new city extension of Toulouse-Le Mirail by Georges Candilis, Alexis Josic, and Shadrach Woods.
The emergence of a new understanding of the citizens’ sensibilities due to the generalised used of the car in the post-war society should be interpreted in relation to the welfare state. Alison Smithson’s concern, in AS in DS: An Eye on the Road, about the impact of mobility on our social patterns and social needs is interpreted in relation to the design strategies that emerged within the context of post-war welfare state. The Smithsons’ effort to address through their written work and their architectural and urban design practice the contrast between the new post-war society and the traditional one, is part of their aspiration to re-invent the role of architecture within a context that the civic aspect becomes primordial. The Smithsons conceive the car as an important means within this endeavour of architecture to respond to the welfare values of the post-war society. Another example that is scrutinized is the Järvalyftet in Sweden – a large-scale project that intended to renew a section of northern Stockholm with a population of ca. 60,000 – envisioned a renewed role for the motorways and their connection to housing design. Special attention is paid to the analysis of how the spaces for, and perceptions from, the car can revolutionise our conceptions of urban heritage – especially in an era in which automobilty is questioned.
26-28 August 2020 My paper entitled “From the Athens Charter to the Ηuman Αssociation: Challenging the Assumptions of the Charter of Habitat” has been selected to be presented at the International Conference “Mapping the Spaces of Modernist Cities within the Context of CIAM’s Athens Charter”, Nova Gorica, Slovenia
From the Athens Charter to the Ηuman Αssociation: Challenging the Assumptions of the Charter of Habitat
For Le Corbusier, the architect was the authority on living and their role was to know what is best for humans, as it becomes evident from what he declares in The Athens Charter: “Who can take the measures necessary to the accomplishment of this task if not the architect who possesses a complete awareness of man, who has abandoned illusory designs, and who, judiciously adapting the means to the desired ends, will create an order that bears within it a poetry of its own?
The paper is focused on the critique of the principles of the Athens Charter and its relation to the attempt to strengthen the articulations between architecture and its social, economic and political context. It examines Team 10’s intention to replace the four functions — dwelling, work, recreation and transport — of the Charter of Athens by the concept of the “human association”, on the one hand, and to incorporate within the scope of architecture reflections regarding the impact of scale on the design process, on the other hand. The CIAM X was structured around two groups representing the two conflicting generations. As Nicholas Bullock notes, in Building the Post-war World: Modern Architecture and Reconstruction in Britain, the group representing the older generation focused on the work of CIAM since its foundation in the form of a charter similar to the Athens Charter, while the group representing the younger generation tried to extend the work of CIAM to rethink, as Alison and Peter Smithson noted in 1956, “the basic relationships between people and life”.
The goal of the CIAM X, held in Dubrovnik between 19 and 25 July 1956, was to challenge the assumptions of the Charter of Habitat. During this meeting, which neither Le Corbusier nor Walter Gropius attended, the younger generation consisting of Aldo van Eyck, Jacob Bakema, Georges Candilis, Shadrach Woods, and Alison and Peter Smithson established a new agenda for mass housing, “Habitat for the Greater Number”. It was at this CIAM meeting that the Smithsons presented their “Fold Houses”. A number of meetings preceding the CIAM X were held in London, Doorn, Paris, La Sarraz, and Padua. The main objective of this paper is to show how the debates that preceded the CIAM challenged the Charter of Habitat.
10. 9 June 2020 I will deliver a lecture entitled “Autopia as New Perceptual Regime: Mobilized Gaze and Architectural Design” in the framework of the Architecture Foundation ‘100 Day Studio’ initiative
19:00 -20:00 British Summer Time (BST)
Autopia as New Perceptual Regime: Mobilized Gaze and Architectural Design
The automobile has reshaped our conceptions of space in multiple ways and our ways of accessing and penetrating the urban and non-urban territory, revolutionising the way architects perceive the city and contributing significantly to the transformation of the relationship between architecture and the city. The presentation focuses on the examination of photographs taken by architects John Lautner, Alison and Peter Smithson and Aldo Rossi while travelling by car. Its aim is to contribute to a broader understanding of the process of viewing and photographing scenes from the car, and of the elaboration of a “snapshot aesthetics”. The interexchange between the ways of capturing the views from the car and the formation of new design methods can explain the necessity to establish a new theoretical framework offering the possibility to historians of architecture and urban design to address in a sharp and concrete way the reciprocal relation between automobile vision and design approaches.
11. 20 May 2020 I will deliver a lecture entitled “The Balcony as An Urban Element:Threshold, Common World and Rythmanalysis” in the framework of the SToA Stuttgart Talks on Architecture: Facing Covid-19 – (Politics of) Elements of Architecture
12. 12 May 2020 I was invited to give a lecture entitled “On Visual Evidence: Sketches, Drawings and Photographs as Research Materials” in the framework of “THE ARCHITECTURE OF RESEARCH 4 GTA DOCTORAL PROGRAMME WORKSHOP”
14. 9-11 December 2019 My paper entitled “Bernard Tschumi’s Manhattan Transcripts as an exploration of unlikely confrontations: spatial praxis as a dispositif agencing spaces and events” was presented at the International Conference “DARE 2019: Machinic Assemblages of Desire. Third International Conference on Deleuze and Artistic Research”
Venue: Orpheus Institute, Ghent
Bernard Tschumi’s Manhattan Transcripts as an exploration of unlikely confrontations: spatial praxis as a dispositif agencing spaces and events
A starting point of this paper is the consideration that there is a correspondence between Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s “assemblage” (agencement) and Michel Foucault’s “apparatus” (dispositif). It examines the implications of understanding architectural drawings as “assemblages” (agencements) and “apparatuses” (dispositifs). The concept of dispositif does not treat heterogeneous systems – object, subject, language and so on – as homogeneous, assuming that the systems are composed of interacting forces that are in a continuous state of becoming, “always off balance”, to borrow Deleuze’s own words. An aspect of the notion of dispositif, as interpreted by Deleuze, in “What is a dispositif?”, is the conception of lines of subjectification as processes. The insistence on the participation of lines of subjectification to the production of subjectivity is related to the replacement of a passive spectator by an active one who is invited to rebuild in his mind and experience “the dynamic process of the emergence and formation of the image”. Bernard Tschumi’s Manhattan Transcripts’ (fig. 1) “implicit purpose has to do with the twentieth-century city”. This paper examines Manhattan Transcripts’ “explicit purpose is to transcribe things normally removed from conventional architectural representation, namely the complex relationship between spaces and their use; between the set and the script; between ‘type’ and ‘program’; between objects and events”. Tschumi intended to grasp “the character of a city at the very point where it contradicts itself”. The point of departure of his Manhattan Transcripts was his conviction that architecture is simultaneously space and event, while their objective was to go “beyond the conventional definition of use […] [and] to explore unlikely confrontations”, reorganizing the connections between space, event and movement. In Event-Cities: “Praxis”, Tschumi underscores that “there is no architecture without action or without program, and that architecture’s importance resides in its ability to accelerate society’s transformation through a careful agencing of spaces and events”.
The dispositif is a system of relations that can be established between heterogeneous elements, discursive and non-discursive practices, ‘the said as well as the unsaid”. The dispositif and the mechanic assemblage create a plane where connections can be made between Foucault’s and Deleuze and Guattari’s approaches. The concept of assemblage plays a crucial role in the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, especially in A Thousand Plateaus and What is Philosophy? Deleuze has described the concept of the assemblage as the “general logic” at work in A Thousand Plateaus. Despite the fact that the English word “assemblage” is the common translation of the French word agencement used by Deleuze and Guattari, the two notions differ in the sense that an assemblage is a gathering of things together into unities, while an agencement is an arrangement or layout of heterogeneous elements. A characteristic of the assemblage to which my paper pays special attention is the fact that it is a multiplicity, neither a part nor a whole. Focusing on the implications of Deleuze and Guattari’s understanding of the elements of the assemblage “not [as] pieces of a jigsaw puzzle,” but like a “dry-stone wall, and everything holds together only along diverging lines”, in What is Philosophy?, I aim to render explicit how both the notions of “assemblage” (agencement) and “apparatus” (dispositif) are pivotal for discerning what is at stake in Tschumi’s Manhattan Transcripts. Through a close examination of the notions of conjunctive and disjunctive synthesis, as understood by Deleuze and Guattari, referring to the so-called territorial assemblages, and to Tschumi’s understanding of the notion of disjunction in Architecture and Disjunction, my aim is to respond to the following question: are the conceptual strategies of Tschumi’s Manhattan Transcripts more compatible with the notion of conjunctive or that of disjunctive synthesis?
15. 20-21 November 2019 My paper entitled “From Harlem to New Haven: The Emergence of the Advocacy Planning Movement in the late 1960s” was presented at the international conference of the Jaap Bakema Study Centre “Architecture and Democracy 1965-1989: Urban Renewal, Populism and the Welfare State”, Rotterdam and Delft
The Emergence of the Advocacy Planning Movement in the late 1960s: From Harlem to New Haven
This paper examines the advocacy planning movement and the socio-political climate of civil rights around 1968, focusing on two case studies that are closely connected to the critique of urban renewal in the United States: firstly, the founding of the Architect’s Renewal Committee in Harlem (ARCH), the first organization solely devoted to advocacy planning in the United States, and secondly, the establishment of the City Planning Forum at Yale School of Art and Architecture, an independent governing body which consisted of all full-time faculty members and students and – in dialogue with the civil rights movement – had as its main purpose to bring greater diversity to the department. Special attention is paid to the approaches of advocacy planner C. Richard Hatch and advocacy-inclined city-planner Christopher Tunnard, Chairman of the Department of City Planning of Yale University’s School of Art and Architecture between 1966 and 1969.
The advocacy planning approaches considered urban renewal to be incompatible with any kind of socially effective approach to urban planning. The ARCH was concerned with changing the architect’s role and replacing the idea of city building with that of city living. Max Bond, its executive director, believed that “architect[s] should be […] representative[s] of the poor people, responding to their wishes, rather than […] advocate[s] of the white middle class imposing its compartmentalizing values and gridiron street plan upon Black and Spanish-speaking people who have quite other social ideals”. This concern about involving neighbourhoods in the planning of their own housing became a central issue in the Department of City Planning at Yale School of Art and Architecture after the appointment of Tunnard as Chairman in 1966. Tunnard, who, since 1954, had established City Planning at Yale, largely criticised the involvement of Yale University in urban renewal projects in New Haven. In 1969, a group of students from the Department of City Planning of Yale University’s School of Art and Architecture, who marshalled a critique against the university’s role in the top-down urban renewal strategies, founded a new governance committee named City Planning Forum, which soon joined the Black Workshop, an activist group formed by ten African American design students in late 1968.
My aim is to shed light on the emergence of the advocacy planning movement around 1968 and its aspiration to respond to the fulfilment of needs related to the welfare of society as a whole and the responsibility to provide equal housing opportunities and equal access to public amenities regardless of race, religion, or national origin. ARCH and City Planning Forum’s aspiration to democratize urban planning should be understood within the context of the struggle over civil rights for African Americans in the United States in the 1960s. A paradox underlying their efforts is the fact that, despite their intention to broaden opportunities in participation, they were based on policies that maintained the centrality of federal aid and the prominence of professional expertise. The paper examines to what extent their strategies were aligned with the ambition of President Johnson’s Great Society to renew citizens’ role without undermining existing institutions. Special attention is paid to the tension between the intention of advocacy planning approaches to bring equality into the planning process and the risk of being co-opted by a local bureaucracy or a more powerful interest group.
16. 23-25 October 2019 My paper entitled “Bauhäusler in Chicago: László Moholy-Nagy, Mies van der Rohe and the ‘Re-invention’ of Teaching Models” was presented at the International Conference “Initiations: Practices of Teaching First Year Design in Architecture”
Venue: Department of Architecture, University of Cyprus, Nicosia
Bauhäusler in Chicago: László Moholy-Nagy, Mies van der Rohe and the ‘Re-invention’ of Teaching Models
This paper focuses on Mies van der Rohe’s Curriculum at the Armour Institute of Technology and Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and the so-called “Visual Training” course, which had some affinities with the “Preliminary Course” (Vorkurs) of the Bauhaus and was taught by Walter Peterhans, a Bauhäusler invited by Mies to join the Armour Institute of Technology, and served “to train the eye and sense of design and to foster aesthetic appreciation in the world of proportions, forms, colors, textures and spaces”. Mies prioritized “Visual training” over freehand drawing. For him, the former “is indispensable as a means of recording an idea”, while the latter is better understood as “a means of fostering insight and stimulating ideas”. Mies’s “Program for Architectural Education” was founded on his belief that students should be confronted, during their very first year, with the awareness that technique and ideas are interlinked. For this reason, he encouraged students to use drawings as a means of seeing. The overarching curriculum moved from “Means” to “Purposes” to “Planning and Creating”. Among the most discussed features of Bauhaus pedagogy is the Preliminary Course (Vorkurs), which László Moholy-Nagy, director of the New Bauhaus founded in 1937, transplanted to Chicago. The way he conceived the Preliminary Course maintained the bipolar relationship between technology and aesthetics characterising the Bauhaus pedagogy: that between Werkmeister and Formmeister. Moly-Nagy replaced the binary relationship between art and technology by a tripartite system organised around art, science and technology. He believed that a new individuality was a prerequisite condition for a new society and incorporated in his pedagogy several concepts coming from Goethe’s understanding of epistemology and John Dewey’s pragmatism, which were useful for his effort to reconcile humanistic anti-materialism and a perception of experience as a set of situations linked to Dewey’s conception of education.
17. 18-19 October 2019 My paper entitled “Mies’s Representations as Zeitwille: Großstadt between Impersonality and Autonomous Individual” was presented at the International Conference “Mies van der Rohe: The Architecture of the City”
Venue: Politecnico di Milano
Mies’s Representations as Zeitwille: Großstadt between Impersonality and Autonomous Individual
The paper focuses on the relationship between zeitwille and impersonality in Mies van der Rohe’s “Baukunst und Zeitwille” (1924). “Zeitwille” expresses simultaneously a Schopenhauerian “will of the age” and a “will of time”. In “The Preconditions of Architectural Work” (1928), Mies claimed that “[t]he act of the autonomous individual becomes ever more important”. My objective is to shed light on the phenomenon of the inhabitants distancing from the chaos of the city, which was a particular effect of Mies’s interiors, associating this aspect of Mies’s way of representing interiors with his belief in the autonomous individual and his conviction that in “town and city living […] privacy is a very important requirement”.
The ambiguity of his simultaneous interest in impersonality and the autonomous individual is pivotal for understanding the tension between the universality and individuality in his thought. Mies, on the one hand, he gives credence to the acts of the autonomous individual, but, on the other hand, rejects the endeavour to “express individuality in architecture”, as it becomes evident when he affirms that “[t]o try to express individuality in architecture is a complete misunderstanding of the problem”. In order to explain this contradiction, the paper shows how Mies drew a distinction between individuality and the autonomous individual, which crucial for understanding how he related großstadt to zeitwille. The strategies he employed in his representations will serve for demonstrating how Mies understood the relationship between großstadt and zeitwille.
Mies believed in the existence of a universal and generally understandable visual language. His interiors function as fields within which the subjects are autonomous individuals, and as mechanisms permitting to overcome the tension characterising modern metropolis between the frenetic city and the private bourgeois dwelling. They could be perceived as fragments of the metropolis indoors. The way he represented his interiors, blending linear perspective and photomontage, intensifies the sensation of leaving behind the chaos of the metropolis. As Manfredo Tafuri claims, in “Theatre as a Virtual City: From Appia to the Totaltheater” (1977), the stagelike experience of Mies’s interiors of Mies is related to a specific attitude of the inhabitant towards the metropolis. Tafuri associates the sensation of “the impossibility of restoring ‘syntheses’” in Mies’s interiors with a specific kind of “negativeness” towards metropolis, which brings to mind what Georg Simmel called “blasé attitude”. The “positive and essential” “negation” to which Mies refers in a letter he addressed to Frank Lloyd Wright in 1947 is examined in relation to this “negativeness” towards metropolis highlighted by Tafuri.
18. 19-22 September 2019 My paper entitled “Digitization’s Impact on the Design of Art Museums: New Tendencies in Interactive Digital Interfaces” was presented at the international conference “Architecture for Art: Spaces for Exhibiting” (24th Ischian Meeting on Mediterranean Architecture)
Digitization’s Impact on the Design of Art Museums: New Tendencies in Interactive Digital Interfaces
The paper sheds light on digitization’s impact on the architecture of art museums. The ancient Greek etymology of museum (‘μουσεῖον’) – denoting the house of the muses, the daughters of ‘Mnemosyne’ (‘Μνημοσύνη’), the goddess of memory – implies the museum’s inherent tension between documenting the past and engaging with the present. My objective is to reflect on how the emergence of new media has transformed the status of this tension.
The phenomenon of using digital materials provokes a democratization of access to primary sources, transforming museums’ relations to the public. Digitization does not have an impact only on access to artworks through digital collections but is also related to the emergence of new art forms known as “digital-born media art”. Both phenomena – the artworks’ democratization due to the proliferation of digital collections and the emergence of various forms of digital-born media art – foster new demands in the design of art museums. This paper examines these new demands, diagnosing the current tendencies related to the above-mentioned phenomena, which are also related to the trend of appointing “digital directors” in art museums, and to the overgrowing role of digital curatorship in museum studies. The common denominator of the new demands related to these phenomena is the intensification of interactivity.
Since the mid-1990s, digital technologies such as tracking and mapping are used not only in the spatial organisation of exhibitions, but also in media art, making interactive media commonplace. Interactive digital interfaces are major components of this reorientation in the design of art museums. Special attention is paid to the enhancement of art gallery experiences due to the design of interactive interfaces, and to analysing the specificity of the blend of art and technology in the case of ARTLENS Gallery at the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) (2017-), and Asymptote’s Guggenheim Virtual Museum (CVM) (1999), which was conceived as a virtual museum dedicated to exhibiting and showcasing internet art, providing an online digital archive for all other forms of new media art.
19. 11-14 September 2019 Μy paper “The Travelling Architect’s Eye: Photography and the Automobile Vision” was presented at the 9th Congress of the Associazione Italiana di Storia Urbana “The Global City. The Urban Condition as a Pervasive Phenomenon”. My paper was part of the Session “The photographic experience of the city” coordinated by Federica Muzzarelli and Claudio Marra
Venue: University of Bologna, Italy
The Travelling Architect’s Eye: Photography and the Automobile Vision
This paper aims to shed light on the status of travel-photography and is based on the hypothesis that the automobile revolutionized the way architects perceive the city. It focuses on a close examination of the photographs taken by architects John Lautner, Alison and Peter Smithson and Aldo Rossi during their travels, with special emphasis on those taken from the automobile and while encountering places for the first time. The main hypothesis that it explores is that the view from the car changes the architecture of the city, as well as the relationship between architecture and the city. It explores this hypothesis through the investigation of the above-mentioned case studies, contributing to a broader understanding of what is happening in cases of photography taken from the car. Regarding the theoretical framework on which my interpretation is based, I could refer to Rosalind Krauss’s understanding of photography in “Photography’s Discursive Spaces: Landscape/View”.
Besides from the photos they thematised in their book entitled AS in DS: An Eye on the Road, depicting landscape views of the British countryside, Alison and Peter Smithson also took many photos during their summer vacations. The main interest of these photos lies in the fact that they employed them in their teaching process and reasoning. The way they treated these photos in order to illustrate their arguments in their teaching, their publications and their projects is an aspect that is scrutinized here. Rossi started taking polaroid photographs during his journeys in the late 1970s, nearly a decade after noting his first impressions in his 47 quaderni azzuri (1968-1986), which are strongly reminiscent of travels diaries, both in form and content. His polaroids, which documented journeys and his whereabouts, include images of boats crossing a river in Bangkok, a Shaker village in Massachusetts, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and constitute a visual diary of the Italian architect and an important source for understanding his use of travel-photography in order to organise his “visual memory”.
In John Lautner’s archives, tens of thousands of slides can be found, illustrating trips throughout the United States, Eastern and Western Europe, Scandinavia, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, Thailand, and Egypt. One of my objectives is to show how these photographs of landscapes can inform us on the specific vision that his buildings introduced and vice-versa. Lautner’s travel slides constitute a precious resource since they represent a visual record equivalent to the more usual sketchbook used by many architects to record their study notes. His buildings trigger an ocular-centric vision which cannot but be related to the pre-eminence of landscape views in his conceptual edifice, as emerges not only through his architecture but also through the views captured on his camera when confronted with various landscapes.
20. 5-7 September 2019 My paper “Adriano Olivetti’s Vision to Merge Design and Economy: Design Consultants vis-à-vis Reproducibility as a ‘Concrete Utopia’” was presented at the Design History Society Annual Conference 2019 “The Cost of Design”
Venue: Northumbria University at Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Adriano Olivetti’s Vision to Merge Design and Economy: Design Consultants vis-à-vis Reproducibility as a ‘Concrete Utopia’
As it was shown in the exhibition “Olivetti, design in industry”, held in 1952 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Italian Industrialist Adriano Olivetti was aware of the importance of design for the success of his company. For this reason, he hired designers such as Ettore Sottsass Jr., Giò Ponti, Achille Castiglioni, Vico Magistretti, Marco Zanuso, Joe Colombo, and Mario Bellini among others. This paper will be focused on the analysis of the impact that these designers had on the success of Olivetti’s company. Special attention will be paid to Elea 9003 (1957-1959) and its cabinets, designed by Sottsass, ETP 55 Portable Typewriter (1985-1986), designed by Mario Bellini, which constitutes a case in which a quality and design approach was employed in order to counter excessive price competition, and Sistema 45 (1973), a collection of incorporated machines and support systems also designed by Sottsass, including an early minicomputer. Central for this paper is the analysis of the design of Elea 9003, the first computer produced by Olivetti for the design of which Sottsass was awarded his first Compasso d’Oro in 1959. Sottsass’s role in Adriano Olivetti’s company will also be scrutinized. Sottsass served as a design consultant in Olivetti’s company from 1958 to 1980 and designed a notable series of office machines and electronic equipment. Special attention will be paid to the role of design for the success of Valentine typewriter (1969), designed by Sottsass and Briton Perry King, which is probably the most famous of Olivetti’s typewriters and is an example of what the Italian sociologist and philosopher Maurizio Lazzarato defined as an ‘ideological product’. Of major importance for understanding how the transformations of the relationship between design and bureaucracy provokes new modes of production of knowledge is Lazzarato’s claim, in “Immaterial Labour”, that “[i]deological products produce […] new stratifications of reality [in the sense that] they are the intersection where human power, knowledge, and action meet [and that] [n]ew modes of seeing and knowing demand new technologies, and new technologies demand new forms of seeing and knowing”.
My presentation will shed light of the relationship between cost of design, design quality and commercial success in the case of Sistema 45 (1973), also designed by Sottsass. Sistema 45 was a collection of incorporated machines and support systems, including an early minicomputer. Sottsass started working on Sistema 45 in the late 1960s. Its design was based on a broad research he conducted on the history of office spaces, but also on statistical and ergonomic information. Sottsass designed a booklet entitled Uffici in order to bring together and communicate the outcome of the research he conducted for this project (fig. 3). The premise was to reduce visual impact and eschew luxury in what would be a deliberately democratic and modular system. Sistema 45 had been designed as a workaday series and its design was focused on keeping the costs down and on the problems of reproducibility. An aspect that is central for this paper is the parallel involvement of Sottsass in the promotion of Italian design, mainly through his collaboration with Adriano Olivetti, and his intention “not to achieve a product but to state and provoke ideas”, to borrow his own words from the catalogue of the exhibition “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape”, curated by Emilio Ambasz and held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1972.
The objective of the paper is to show how Olivetti’s vision to reinvent the relationship between design and economy was encapsulated in the construction of a building as a “Learning and Experimental Centre”, built in early 1950s, physically distinct from the Olivetti company site. My presentation will also present how the transformation of Ivrea into a major hub of Italian manufacturing, which attracted engineers, designers and factory workers from across Italy, constitutes a case where Olivetti’s ‘concrete utopia’ took a spatial form. As Franco Ferrarotti underscores, Olivetti’s utopian vision could be characterised as “concrete utopia” in the sense that his understanding of communities as concrete goes hand in hand with his conviction that communities are determined by geography and history.
21. 8-10 July 2019 My paper “OMA’s Parc de La Villette and Perpetual Transcoding: The Diagram as Osmosis between Program and Territory” was presented at the 12th Annual Deleuze & Guattari Studies conference “From Sense to Machinic Becoming”
Convenor: Professor Nathan Widder
Venue: Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
OMA’s Parc de La Villette and Perpetual Transcoding: The Diagram as Osmosis between Program and Territory
Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, in A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, shed light on the disjunction between code and territory. They sustain that “[t]he territory arises in a free margin of the code, one that is not indeterminate but rather is determined differently” and draw a distinction between milieu and territory. They also explain how “perpetual transcoding between milieus”, which each one is characterised by its one code, takes place and highlight that the territory emerges through a process of decoding.
My presentation will aim to use the disjunction between code and territory and the distinction between milieu and territory, as understood by Deleuze and Guattari, in order to interpret how the notions of territory and program were interrelated in the case of the entry to the competition for the Parc de La Villette by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). Special attention will be paid to the way OMA treated the park as a programmatic entity. What constitutes the innovation of OMA’s proposal for the Parc de La Villette is the interconnection between territorial and programmatic aspects of the project through a common visualisation tool, which was the diagram of stripes. The main objective of the paper is to show how Deleuze and Guattari’s claim that functionality is a product of a territory, rather than the more conventional inverse becomes apparent in the proposal by ΟΜΑ for the Parc de La Villette.
22. 24-29 June 2019 My paper entitled “The Abandonment of ‘Nuova Simensione’ and ‘Urban Renewal’ in a Transatlantic Perspective: The 1968 Effects on the Perception of Urban Conditions” was presented at the 4th International Conference on Changing Cities (CCIV) “Spatial, Design, Landscape & Socio-economic Dimensions” organised by the Laboratory of Urban Morphology & Design of the Department of Planning and Regional Development of the University of Thessaly in collaboration with the School of Architecture of the Technical University of Crete and Regional Authority of Crete, Cultural Centre of Chania, Crete Island, Greece
The Abandonment of ‘Nuova Simensione’ and ‘Urban Renewal’ in a Transatlantic Perspective: The 1968 Effects on the Perception of Urban Conditions
The paper scrutinizes the effects of 1968 student protests on architectural education and epistemology within the European and American contexts. It shows how the concepts of urban renewal and ‘nuova dimensione’ were progressively abandoned, shedding light on the differences of how the “real” was treated in the American and the Italian context and on the impact that the student protests had on the models of urban evolution. Even if urban renewal discourse was still presiding in the United States, a group of students coming from the Department of City Planning of Yale University’s School of Art and Architecture, reacted against the extensive redevelopment of New Haven in the 1950s and 1960s, marshalling a critique of their university’s role in this top-down reconstruction. This response of Yale students is interpreted as a rejection of the dominance of the notion of “urban renewal”, which had a protagonist role within the north-American context of the mid- and late-sixties. The rejection of the very basis of urban renewal is related to the conviction that it was incompatible with any kind of socially effective architecture and urban design approach. Within such an ambiguous context, where the problem of urban conditions was protagonist, in 1968, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown started teaching at Yale School of Art and Architecture a seminar titled “Learning from Las Vegas”.
In Italy, a network of significant events extending from the fight between the police and the students outside at Valle Giulia in Rome to the students’ occupation of the 15th Triennale di Milano in 1968, and “Utopia e/o Rivoluzione” at the Politecnico di Torino in 1969, triggered the rejection of the concept of ‘nuova dimensione’ in favor of the rediscovery of reality’s immediacy, the ‘locus’ and the civic dimension of the architects’ role. The objective is to demonstrate the complexity of the reorientations that took place in both contexts, taking into consideration, not only the student protests, but also other significant episodes, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1968 and the Vietnam War protests. Special attention is paid to the impact of these episodes on the understanding of architects’ task and the curriculum of the schools of architecture. Special attention is paid to the six weeks student protests at Columbia University and the intention to respond to the fulfilment of needs related to the welfare of the society as a whole and the responsibility to provide equal housing opportunities and equal access to public amenities regardless of race, religion, or national origin.
23. 7 – 9 June 2019 My paper entitled “The Fictional Addressee of Architecture as a Device for Exploring Post-colonial Culture: The Transformations of the Helleno-centric Approaches” was presented at the First International Conference “Ferekidis” devoted to the topic “Modern Western Civilisation and its Greek Points of Reference”. The conference was organised by Syros Institute and will be held in Ermoupolis, Syros. My paper is inscribed in the thematic section “The transcendence of locality and the formation of international aesthetic ideals: Greek paradigms in the design of buildings, cities, landscapes and objects”
Venue: Appolon Theatre, Syros Island, GR
Ο φαντασιωτικός αποδέκτης της αρχιτεκτονικής ως μηχανισμός διερεύνησης του μετα-αποικιακού πολιτισμού: οι μετασχηματισμοί της ελληνο-κεντρικής προσέγγισης
Λέξεις-κλειδιά: ελληνο-κεντρική αρχιτεκτονική, μετα-αποικιακός πολιτισμός, κριτικός τοπικισμός
Θεματική ενότητα: 2.3 – Σύζευξη πολιτισμών: Αισθητική εντοπιότητα και Ελληνικές αναφορές στην αρχιτεκτονική, το σχεδιασμό και το τοπίο
Η εισήγηση εξετάζει τις σχέσεις μεταξύ της επιστημολογίας της αρχιτεκτονικής στην Ελλάδα και στο διεθνές πλαίσιο και τις μορφές αλληλεπίδρασής τους, εστιάζοντας σε τρεις θεματικούς άξονες: το ταξίδι στην Ελλάδα των υποτρόφων της Villa Medici κατά το 19ο αιώνα, τη σταδιοδρομία των αρχιτεκτόνων του Ματαρόα και τις διαφορετικές προσεγγίσεις της ώσμωσης της Ελληνοκεντρικής προσέγγισης και του μοντερνισμού. Η έρευνα θα εξετάσει την εξής υπόθεση: σε περιόδους κρίσης ως βασική θεματική προσέλκυσης της ‘εικόνας’ της Ελλάδας εμφανίζεται η φύση και ο αρχετυπικός της χαρακτήρας, ενώ σε περιόδους κανονικότητας ως βασικό σημείο αναφοράς της ‘εικόνας’ της Ελλάδας παρουσιάζεται η αρχαιότητα. Μέσα από τη σύγκριση των διαφορετικών ‘εικόνων’ της Ελλάδας και του τρόπου που ανασημασιοδοτούνται τα αρχαία μνημεία και το ταξίδι στην Ελλάδα ως μέρος του Grand tour από τους Γάλλους, Άγγλους, Ιταλούς και Γερμανούς αρχιτέκτονες και αρχαιολόγους, η έρευνα θα χαρτογραφήσει μια γενεαλογία των διαφορετικών τρόπων ερμηνείας του φιλελληνισμού σε ένα διακρατικό πλαίσιο. Η κατανόηση της μεταμόρφωσης της έννοιας του φιλελληνισμού μέσα στο χρόνο σε σχέση με το πολιτικό πλαίσιο που αντιστοιχεί σε κάθε περίοδο υπό εξέταση θα μας προσφέρει τη δυνατότητα να καταλάβουμε τις διαφορετικές μορφές που παίρνει ο Ελληνοκεντρισμός. H εισήγηση θα παρουσιάσει πως αλλάζει ο αποδέκτης της αρχιτεκτονικής μέσα στο χρόνο στην Ελλάδα και πως οι διαφορετικές μορφές του σχετίζονται με τις διαφορετικές εκφράσεις που λαμβάνει η Ελληνοκεντρική προσέγγιση, η οποία, παρά την υβριδική της φύση, είναι ικανή να επικοινωνεί τι είναι στο επίκεντρο του επιστημολογικού ενδιαφέροντος της αρχιτεκτονικής σε κάθε ιστορική στιγμή όσον αφορά στη σχέση της Ελλάδας με τα εξωγενή μοντέλα.
Οι συσχετίσεις των μεταλλαγών του αντικειμένου της αρχιτεκτονικής με τις αντίστοιχες μεταλλαγές στη διεθνή σκηνή θα συμβάλλουν στην κατανόηση της εξέλιξης της μορφής της εξάρτησης της ελληνικής κοινωνίας από τον αρχιτεκτονικό λόγο που αναπτύσσεται σε θεσμικά και γεωγραφικά πλαίσια που έχουν πρωταγωνιστικό ρόλο στο διεθνές οικονομικο-πολιτικό πλαίσιο. Με άλλα λόγια, η ανάλυση της εξέλιξης της σχέσης των κυριάρχων τρόπων αναπαράστασης της αρχιτεκτονικής στην Ελλάδα με τους αντίστοιχους στα άλλα θεσμικά και γεωγραφικά πλαίσια, από τις αρχές 20ού αιώνα μέχρι σήμερα, λειτουργήσει ως μέσο διάγνωσης των κοινωνικοπολιτικών αλληλεπιδράσεων μεταξύ της ελληνικής κοινωνίας και των κυρίαρχων διεθνών οικονομικο-πολιτικών και ιδεολογικών προτύπων. Η εισήγηση θα επιχειρήσει να εντοπίσει τις διαφορετικές μορφές που λαμβάνει η ελληνο-κεντρική έκφανση της αρχιτεκτονικής παραγωγής στην Ελλάδα και να εξετάσει μέσα από τις διαφορετικές εκφράσεις του ελληνο-κεντρισμού της της αρχιτεκτονικής παραγωγής πως μετασχηματίζεται η σχέση της Ελλάδας με τα εξωγενή πρότυπα. Ιδιαίτερη έμφαση θα δοθεί στη συμβολή ερμηνευτικών μοντέλων που βασίζονται στην altermodern προσέγγιση, όπως την ορίζει ο Nicolas Bourriaud και ο Okwui Enwezor, και στη διακρατική μέθοδο ιστορικής ανάλυσης.
Charitonidou, Marianna, “Réinventer la posture historique : les débats théoriques à propos de la comparaison et des transferts,” Espaces et sociétés no. 167, 2016, σ. 137-52.
Eggener, Keith L. “Placing Resistance: A Critique of Critical Regionalism”, στο Journal of Architectural Education 55/4, 2002, σ. 228-237.
Enwezor, Okwui “Modernity and Postcolonial Ambivalence” στο N. Bourriaud (επ.), Altermodern Tate Triennial, Tate Publishing, Λονδίνο, 2009, σ. 25-41.
Hellmann, Marie-Christine, Philippe Fraisse, Annie Jacques (επ.), Paris-Rome-Athènes, Le voyage en Grèce des architectes français aux XIXème et XXème siècles, exposition Paris 1982, Athènes 1982, Houston 1983, Paris : EBA, 1982.
Tzonis, Alexander, Liane Lefaivre, “The Grid and the Pathway: An Introduction to the Work of Dimitris and Susana Antonakakis”, Architecture in Greece 15, 1981, σ. 164–78.
Λυγίζος, Γιάννης, Η Διεθνής και η Τοπική Αρχιτεκτονική. Τέχνη και Κλίμα, Αθήνα, Τυπογραφείον Αδελφών Γ. Ρόδη, 1967.
Μανιτάκης, Νικόλας, Servanne Jollivet (επ.), Ματαρόα, 1945. Aπó τον μύθο στην ιστορíα. Αθήνα: École française d’Athènes/Εκδόσεις Ασίνη, 2018.
24. 30 May – 1 June 2019 My paper “Bauhäusler in America: László Moholy-Nagy and Anni and Josef Albers and the ‘re-invention’ of teaching models” has been selected to be presented at the international conference “Bauhaus and Greece: The Idea of Synthesis is Art and Architecture” organized by the Athens School of Fine Arts and the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart (Convenors: Andreas Giacumacatos, Professor of Architecture at the Department of Theory and History of Art at the Athens School of Fine Arts, and Sokratis Georgiadis, Professor of History and Theory of Architecture and Design History at the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart)
Venue: Benaki Museum, Athens, GR
25. 2-5 May 2019 My paper entitled “Juxtaposing Autogestion and Autonomy: Urban Politics at the Crossroads of the State Reason and Human Reason” was presented at the International Conference “Rethinking Crisis, Resistance and Strategy: Historical Materialism Athens”
Venue: Panteion University, Athens, GR
Juxtaposing Autogestion and Autonomy: Urban Politics at the Crossroads of the State Reason and Human Reason
My paper focuses on Cornelius Castoriadis and Henri Lefebvre’s approaches and sheds light on “the imaginary” in the politics of self-governance. It shows how tactics of self-governance and the imaginary accompanying them revive all the contradictions between the State reason, on the one hand, and human reason and freedom, on the other hand. Castoriadis, in The Imaginary Institution of Society, emphasizes the internal relation between what is intended (the development of autonomy) and that through which it is intended (the exercise of this autonomy). He notes that these are two moments of a single process and defines as revolutionary politics “a praxis which takes as its object the organization and orientation of society as they foster the autonomy of all its members and which recognizes that this presupposes a radical transformation of society, which will be possible, in its turn, only through the autonomous activity of individuals.” My paper treats the following questions: How might a politics like this exist? On what could it be based and what would its implications be for the tactics of formation of urban design tools?
Henri Lefebvre, in “Theoretical Problems of Autogestion”, underscores the fact that autogestion introduces and stimulates a contradiction with the State. Autogestion calls into question the State’s functioning as a constraining force erected above society as a whole, capturing and demanding the rationality that is inherent to social relations and practice. Lefebvre considers that autogestion tends to resolve contradictions by subletting them into a new totality. In parallel, he wonders whether the principle of autogestion is an ideal whose rational core and content is ultimately derived from the democratic ideal. My paper will revisit this question, juxtaposing it to the following question raised by Castoriadis, in The Imaginary Institution of Society: does the critique of rationalism not exclude the possibility of establishing a destructive and constructive ‘revolutionary dynamics’?
Despite Lefebvre’s claim that autogestion cannot be a utopia, he refers to Henri Desroche’s notion of “occupia”, which is used to define a genre of socializing related to practical utopia. He claims that autogestion “shows the practical way to change life”. My aim is to present how this “practical way to change life” in Lefebvre’s thought relates to Castoriadis’ understanding of praxis. Juxtaposing Castoriadis’ conception of autonomy and Lefebvre’s understanding of autogestion, I examine what strategies of bottom-up urban politics are implied by each of these conceptions. Taking as a starting point the fact that Castoriadis’ praxis is based on a kind of knowledge that is always fragmentary and provisional, I examine what would be entailed by an integration of such a conception of knowledge into the procedures of formation of urban design tools.
26. 2-5 May 2019 My paper entitled “Architectural Drawings Exposed: Rise of Artefactual Value vs Archives’ Democracy” was presented at the International Conference “Rethinking Crisis, Resistance and Strategy: Historical Materialism Athens”
Venue: Panteion University, Athens, GR
Architectural Drawings Exposed: Rise of Artefactual Value vs Archives’ Democracy
Architecture exhibitions are vehicles of architectural knowledge dissemination and constitute sites of methodological innovation. Two phenomena, pivotal for comprehending the place of drawings in architecture exhibitions, are examined conjointly: firstly, the rise of architectural drawings’ artefactual value, triggered by a series of exhibitions at Max Protetch, Leo Castelli and Rosa Esman galleries, as “Architecture I: Architectural Drawings” (1977), “Architecture II: Houses for Sale” (1980), “Architecture III: Architectural ‘Follies’” (1983), held at Leo Castelli Gallery; secondly, the digitization effect of architectural drawings.
Special attention is paid to the role that Aldo Rossi’s drawings played for the transformation of the status of architectural drawings. Rossi’s drawings constitute an important part of major collections of institutions as the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal (CCA), Getty Research Institute (GRI) in Los Angeles, Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo (MAXXI) in Rome and Fondazione Aldo Rossi in Milan. Despite the fact that both CCA and MAXXI have digitized a large part of Rossi’s drawings, the original still remain significant points of reference for researchers and indispensable components of exhibitions that contribute to the capacity of the above-mentioned institutions to energize current debates concerning the status of architectural knowledge. Both CCA and GRI provide an ensemble of scholars’ programs for in-situ researches on original drawings as part of their politics for vitalising current debates.
The democratization accompanying the digitization grants an increase of the fascination for the mysteries of the access to the original. The conviction that knowledge, power and subjectivity are by no means contours given once and for all, but series of variables which supplant one another, is a starting point for understanding the complexity of the double agency of democratizing and fetishizing architectural drawings. Michel Foucault’s distinction between knowledge, power and subjectivity is instrumentalized for analysing the paradoxes of these phenomena.
27. 11-13 April 2019 My paper “An Action towards Humanization: Doorn manifesto in a transnational perspective” was presented at the International Conference “Revisiting the Post-CIAM Generation: Debates, Proposals and Intellectual Framework”
Venue: Escola Superior Artística do Porto (ESAP), Porto, Portugal
An Action towards Humanization: Doorn manifesto in a transnational perspective
In 1957, Ernesto Nathan Rogers, in “Continuità o Crisi?”, published in Casabella Continuità, considered history as a process, highlighting that history can be understood as being either in a condition of continuity or in a condition of crisis “accordingly as one wishes to emphasize either permanence or emergency”. A year earlier, Le Corbusier in a diagram he sent to the tenth CIAM at Dubrovnik, he called attention to a turning point within the circle of the CIAM, maintaining that after 1956 its dominant approach had been characterised by a reorientation of the interest towards what he called “action towards humanisation” (fig. 1)..
The paper examines whether this humanising process is part of a crisis or an evolution, on the one hand, and compares the directions that were taken regarding architecture’s humanisation project within a transnational network, on the other hand. An important instance regarding this reorientation of architecture’s epistemology was the First International Conference on Proportion in the Arts at the IX Triennale di Milano in 1951, where Le Corbusier presented his Modulor and Sigfried Giedion, Matila Ghyka, Pier Luigi Nervi, Andreas Speiser and Bruno Zevi intervened among others. The debates that took place during this conference epitomise the attraction of architecture’s dominant discourse to humanisation ideals.
In a different context, the Doorn manifesto (1954) (fig. 2), signed by the architects Peter Smithson, John Voelcker, Jaap Bakema, Aldo van Eyck and Daniel van Ginkel and the economist Hans Hovens-Greve and embraced by the younger generation, is interpreted as a climax of this generalised tendency to “humanise” architectural discourse and to overcome the rejection of the rigidness of the modernist ideals. This paper presents how the debates regarding the Doorn manifesto evolved in the pages of the following journals: The Architectural Review, Architectural Design, Casabella Continuità, Arquitectura, L’Architecture d’aujourd’hui and Forum. An aspect that is closely investigated is that of which epistemological tools coming from other disciplines – philosophy, sociology, anthropology and so on – are more dominant in each of these architectural journals. The fact that each of these journals is closely connected to a specific national context – U.K., Italy, Portugal, France and Holland respectively – offers the opportunity to discern to what disciplines architecture was attracted within these different contexts during its effort to “humanise” its discourse and conceptual tools.
17:30 – Opening session
18:00 – Keynote address
“Pro and Contra CIAM”: Modernism and its Discontents
19:30 – Cocktail dinner
09:30 – Session 1 – MEDIATION
chair: Ana Esteban Maluenda
Forum’ Architectural journal as an educational and spreading media in the Netherlands. Influences on Herman Hertzberger
Rebeca Merino del Río
From ‘Casabella’ to ‘Arquitectura’ – The Italian influence on Portuguese Post-CIAM debate
Lavinia Ann Minciacchi
Learning from EVA – A history of homes that were advertising gifts
João Almeida e Silva
10:45 – Coffee break
11:00 – Session 2 – MEETING PLACES
chair: Bruno Gil
Breaking Barriers. Giancarlo De Carlo from CIAM to ILAUD
An American Think Tank with ‘Something too European About it’. Theory, Politics, and Feminism at the IAUS in New York
Displacement and the Making of Modern Architecture – A South-South Perspective
Daniela Ortiz dos Santos
12:30 – Lunch
14:00 – Keynote address
Rebels with a cause. Aldo van Eyck and Pancho Guedes, how to find a meaning for the act of built
14:50 – Coffee break
15:00 – Session 3 – CRITICAL POSITIONS
chair: Rute Figueiredo
Early years. Manfredo Tafuri and Rem Koolhaas´s first reflections on the Metropolis
‘Sesiones de Crítica de Arquitectura’. The change in architectural debate in the Spain of the 1960s
Ana Esteban Maluenda, Eva Gil Donoso and Elena Tejero
Radical or not at all? Architectural criticism as a vehicle of CIAM and Team 10 networking in socialist Yugoslavia
The Italian debate after the ‘retreat’
Francesca Bonfante and Cristina Pallini
16:35 – Coffee break
16:50 – Session 4 – SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIONS
chair: Pedro Baía
Hereditary structures of influence. Generational succession and international exchange of the Swedish CIAM Group and beyond
An action towards Humanization. Doorn manifesto in a transnational perspective
Team 10 The ‘Youngers’ or the construction of ‘another’ avant-garde
18:00 – Coffee break
18:15 – Keynote address
1964. French criticism and its discontents: à propos of a special issue of L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui
19:00 – Exhibition opening and Port wine
10:50 – Coffee break
11:00 – Session 5 – RECEPTION
chair: Cristina Pallini
Debating Modern Architecture. A brief account of the Iberian Peninsula circa 1967
Tiago Lopes Dias
Y el Madrid, Qué, ¿Otra Vez Campeón de Europa? ¿No? /And Real Madrid Once Again European Champion, Right?Spanish architecture and CIAM debates from 1953 to 1959
José Vela Castillo
A variable in Paulo Mendes da Rocha’s single-storey houses
Fernando Delgado Páez
The tectonic shift in Fernando Távora’s work in the Post-CIAM years
13:00 – Lunch
14:30 – Session 6 – CITY
chair: Tiago Lopes Dias
The Barredo’s urban renewal study – The third way in Portuguese historic cities urban conservation
Ekistics, or the Science of human settlements, through the paradigm of the Master Plan of Islamabad
Back to Monumentality. Modernisation and Memorialisation in Post-war Yugoslavia
The typology of apartments in the new “Radiant City” in Taichung, Taiwan
Yuchen Sharon Sung
16:15 – Coffee break
16:30 – Closing session
28. 28 – 29 March 2019 My paper “Gender roles in Neorealism’s baraccati and national identity in postwar Italy” has been selected to be presented at the International Conference “Displacement & Domesticity since 1945: Refugee, Migrants and Expats making homes”. The proposals underwent a blind peer-review by at least three reviewers on the basis of quality of content and relevance to the conference. Conference organized by KU Leuven and the EAHN – European Architectural History Network
Venue: Palais des Academies in Brussels, Belgium
Gender roles in Neorealism’s baraccati and national identity in postwar Italy
Unauthorised immigration has emerged as a generalised fact in all Western economies in the post-Second World War era. The paper, drawing upon the situation of the so-called baraccati in post-WWII Rome as presented in Vittorio De Sica’s movie The roof (1956), aims to present how migrant incorporation triggers processes of place-making which open up new social and conceptual spaces in the city. Τhe cinematic representations of working women in the Italian Neorealist cinema reveal filmmakers’ perception of a newly conceptualized Italy. Τhe roles of baraccati and women in Italian Neorealist cinema function as devices of reconceptualization of Italy’s identity, providing a fertile terrain in order to reflect on the intersections between migration studies, urban studies and gender studies.
Taking as a starting point the fact that domesticity is a construction of the nineteenth century, the main objective is to shed light on how migration challenges the concepts of user, domesticity and citizenship. Saskia Sassen’s understanding of immigration as “a process constituted by human beings with will and agency, with multiple identities and life trajectories beyond the fact of being seen, defined and categorised as immigrants for the purposes of the receiving polity, economy and society” is useful in order to better grasp the impact of migration on the status of public space, leading to a more open conception of it and to the reconceptualization of the notion of place beyond traditional definitions, while challenging the boundaries between what is public, communal and domestic. Migrant incorporation triggers processes of place-making which open up new social and conceptual spaces in the city.
Over the last four decades, there is a changing paradigm in migration studies that are gradually paying more and more attention to the gender composition of the migration streams. This trend of studying conjointly gender and migration phenomena becomes more and more dominant. Special attention is paid to methods of gender and migration scholarship drawing on social science approaches, treating gender as an institutional part of immigration studies and establishing legitimacy for gender in immigration studies. By the 1990s, research started emphasizing migration as a gendered process, promoting gender as a dynamic and constitutive element of migration and immigrant integration. This paper seeks to present how these intersections between migration studies, urban studies and gender studies can provide a new reading of the concepts of domesticity, citizenship and displacement in Italian Neorealist cinema.
Hilde Heynen (KULeuven)
Johan Lagae (Ghent University)
Els de Vos (University of Antwerp)
Viviana d’Auria (KULeuven)
Mark Crinson (Birkbeck College)
Alona Nitzan-Shiftan (EAHN former president)
Stephen Cairns (ETH, Singapore)
Lilian Chee (National University of Singapore)
Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi (Barnard College)
Romola Sanyal (London School of Economics)
Peter Gatrell (University of Manchester)
Paolo Boccagni (University of Trento)
Luce Beeckmans (Ghent University)
29. 22 March 2019 My paper “Suburbanization and Ugliness: The Aesthetic Appropriation of the Postwar Urban Reality in the Work of Aldo Rossi, Bruno Zevi and Ludovico Quaroni” was presented at the fourth edition of the Leçons de Rome
Venue: musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon
The Lessons of Rome aim at providing a space for reflection for anyone who grasps Italy as an architectural, urban and landscape research laboratory. Defining Italy as a laboratory involves analysing contexts of urban policies but also as design experiences, theories as well as practices, legacies, mutations and prospects. It means building knowledge and culture, but also learning and developing tools to conceive the present and enrich contemporary practices. The Lessons of Rome provide the opportunity to share existing and generate new knowledge and dialogues with Italy.
30. 28 – 30 November 2018 My paper “Aldo van Eyck’s critiques against Postmodernism as a humanist device: between the notion of ‘configurative discipline’ and ‘the irritant principle of renewal’” was presented at the 2018 edition of the annual conference of the Jaap Bakema Study Centre “The Irritant Principle of Renewal: 100 Years of Aldo & Hannie van Eyck”
Venue: TU Delft, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Venue: Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, TU Delft and the Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam
Dirk van den Heuvel (Jaap Bakema Study Centre)
Tom Avermaete (ETH Zurich)
Hetty Berens (HNI)
Maristella Casciato (Getty Research Institute)
Carola Hein (TU Delft)
Laurent Stalder (ETH Zurich)
The selection was in the hands of the convenor and advisory board, together with Guus Beumer, general director of Het Nieuwe Instituut, and Dick van Gameren, chair of the Department of Architecture, TU Delft. Criteria were relevance and focus in relation to the call, state-of-the-art research, an innovative and challenging approach, and an eloquent and evocative articulation of the proposition. Academics and practitioners alike are invited to submit. We are aiming for a diverse group of speakers, in terms of nationality, seniority and academic and institutional background, among other categories, so as to assure a productive and lively exchange of knowledge.
Aldo van Eyck’s critiques against Postmodernism as a humanist device: between the notion of ‘configurative discipline’ and ‘the irritant principle of renewal
This paper focuses on three cases: firstly, Aldo van Eyck’s position in the debate that took place in 1976 in conjunction with the exhibition “Europa-America. Architettura urbana, alternative suburbane” in the framework of the Venice Biennale; secondly, van Eyck’s message to Oswald Mathias Ungers in Spazio e Società under the title “A Message to Ungers from a Different World” (1979); thirdly, van Eyck’s Annual Discourse to the Royal Institute of British Architects entitled “Rats, posts and other pests” in 1981. In his message to Ungers, van Eyck was set against Aldo Rossi, Manfredo Tafuri, Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi, Leon and Rob Krier, Peter Eisenman, Charles Jencks, James Stirling and OMA and blamed Ungers for being attracted to the stances of the above-mentioned architects. The debate that accompanied the exhibition “Europa-America: Architettura urbane alternative suburbane” was symptomatic of “the growing discontent with the idea of modernism”, which had been apparent since the 50s. The interest of this instance lies on the fact that it exemplifies the conflicts between two generations. The presentation unfolds the reasons for which van Eyck’s notion of “configurative discipline”, which was at the centre of his educational and architectural vision, is not compatible with certain postmodernist views.
Van Eyck, despite his interest in the polyphony of reality, believed that the coherence of a whole can only be achieved through “configurative discipline”. In “Steps Towards a Configurative Discipline” (1962), he maintained that “[a]ll systems should be familiarized one with the other in such a way that their combined impact and interaction can be appreciated as a single complex system – polyphonal, multirhythmic, kaleidoscopic and yet perpetually and everywhere comprehensible.” His attraction to coherence is the key to understand his opposition to postmodernist architecture. Van Eyck always intended to enhance the way architecture is inhabited and enriches human relationships. He believed that the postmodernist architects’ visual and narrative “tricks” threatened architecture’s humanist aspirations.
Programme Wednesday 28 November
Location: TU Delft
09.30 – 10.00 OPENING AND WELCOME
Dick van Gameren (chair of the department of Architecture, TU Delft)
Dirk van den Heuvel (head of the Jaap Bakema Study Centre)10.00 – 10.45 OPENING LECTURE
Francis Strauven – Aldo and Hannie van Eyck: in search of built meaning
11.00 – 12.30 PAPER SESSION 1
moderator: Carola Hein (TU Delft)
Alejandro Campos Uribe – On the Van Eyck home in Loenen aan de Vecht
Anat Falbel – In the path of the “in-between”: Brazilian repercussions of Aldo van Eyck’s concept
Marianna Charitonidou – Aldo van Eyck’s critique against Postmodernism: between the “configurative discipline” and “the irritant principle of renewal”
Andreas Kalpakci – Imaging the Human House
13.45 – 15.00 PAPER SESSION 2
moderator: Andrej Radman (TU Delft)
Nelson Mota – Architecture and social ecology: the role of visual ethnography in design education
Lidwine Spoormans – Towards continuous renewal. Re-use design of 1970s architecture and design education
Dirk Somers & Daniel Rosbottom – Playgrounds as pedagogic tools for architecture students
31. 22-23 November 2018 My paper “Paperless Studios and the Articulation Between the Analogue and the Digital: Geometry as Transformation of Architecture’s Ontology” was presented at the Open Panel 1 “When Tools become Instruments: Masterful Articulations in Architecture and Arts” in the framework of the International Symposium “Scaffolds: Open Encounters With Society, Art And Architecture”.
Organised by ALICE lab (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), with the collaboration of Metrolab Brussels (ULB-UCL), the Research Laboratory for Architecture Theory and the Philosophy of Technics at the Technische Universität Wien, the Chair of Public Building from the Faculty of Architecture and Built Environment of the Technische Universiteit Delft; and The Faculty of Architecture of KU Leuven.
Paperless Studios and the Articulation Between the Analogue and the Digital: Geometry as Transformation of Architecture’s Ontology
The paper, at a first place, sheds light on the epistemological mutations that are related to the emergence of the paperless studios at Columbia University’s GSAPP. The paperless studios, which were conceived in 1992, established a new set of terms for the ongoing conversation on the role of digital tools in architecture. The aim is to trace how new concepts of spatiality emerged thanks to the experimentation with geometry, on the one hand, and virtual reality, which was made possible because of the combination of diverse software, on the other hand. The objective is to show how this experimentation with the digital tools should be understood beyond their formalistic characteristics, since their very force lies in their capacity to transform architectural artefacts’ ontological status.
At a second place, the paper presents three case studies – Greg Lynn’s Embryological House (1997-2001), Asymptote Architecture’s 3DTF Virtual Trading Floor (VTF) (1997- 1999), commissioned by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Securities Industry Automation Corporation (SIAC), and dECOi’s Aegis Hyposurface (1999-2001) – in order to make explicit how such an ontological transformation takes place. Two issues that are are: rstly, the mutation of the ontological status of the architectural artefact because of the fact that the form is generated through the use of digital tools; secondly, the implications of the possibility of real-time data visualisation for the reconceptualization of the notion of spatiality.
The objective is to render explicit in which sense digital design tools and the hybrid use of software and hardware provide the conditions for more mutable and open-ended generative processes than those provided by conventional methods of architectural design. The distinction between the term “digital” and the term “computation” is pivotal for grasping the epistemological mutations that are pinpointed here, in the sense that the former refers to a kind of state of being, or a condition, while the latter concerns active processes. Additionally, the interaction between the physical, the virtual and the augmented reality and the real-virtual relationship in the case of augmented reality are among the issues that are addressed in thispaper. Special attention is paid to the importance of the articulation between the analogue and the digital for the execution of the projects.
32. 11-13 June 2018 My paper “Aldo Rossi’s transatlantic cross-fertilisation: American ‘urban facts’ and reinvention of design methods” was presented at the International Conference “ALDO ROSSI. Perspectives from the World”
Venue: Politecnico di Milano, AUIC School
This paper examines the legacy of Aldo Rossi’s thought and work applied to the United States. It is based on archival research of unpublished material and reveals unexplored aspects of Rossi’s cross- fertilization with the north-American arena. In parallel, it analyses the role that his geographical relocation played on the metamorphosis of his theoretical, pedagogical and design strategies. It is based on a thorough analysis of the manuscripts of the conferences that Aldo Rossi gave in the United States, his correspondence and his notes in Quaderni azzurri. Particular attention is paid to the excavation of the events that gave birth to the publication of Rossi’s A Scientific Autobiography, in 1981 in the United States. Despite the fact that this autobiography collects his notes over a period of ten years, during several of which he was still in Europe, it was not published before his involvement with the American architectural pedagogy. His attempt to systematize his trajectory, his design and pedagogical process, and his extra-disciplinary references contribute to the emergence of a new genre of interpretation of the conjunction between theory and design.
How does Rossi’s encounter with the north-American context fertilized his theoretical, pedagogical and design methods and how his legacy affected the dominant epistemological models in the north-American context? Among the episodes scrutinized in order to respond to the above question are Rossi’s collaboration with Oswald Mathias Ungers at Cornell University, his teaching at the Cooper Union and Yale University, and his connection to the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies. The main objective is to show how Rossi’s double preoccupation with individual expression and civic effectiveness of architecture evolved during his teaching in the United States. Rossi shared with Hejduk his interest in poetic imagination and with Ungers his concern about collective memory and genius loci.
33. 21 November 2017 My paper “Music as Reservoir of Thought’s Materialization: Between Metastasis’ and ‘Modulor” was presented at the 2nd International Conference on Deleuze and Artistic Research DARE 2017: Aberrant Nuptials
Venue: Orpheus Institute, Ghent, Belgium
How can communication occur between architecture, music, and mathematics? This presentation responds to this question taking as a starting point the use of the “Modulor” system of proportion in the composition and the notation of Iannis Xenakis’s Metastasis, who was at once a composer, architect, and mathematician and collaborated with Le Corbusier for the architectural composition of the Philips Pavilion at the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels. Specific attention will be paid to the relationship between Xenakis’s understanding of music as thought’s materialisation and Deleuze and Guattari’s conception of art gesture as a passage of material into sensation. Xenakis’s conception of sound is spatial. For the notation of Metastasis he used graphs of glissandi, which look like ruled surfaces or hyperbolic paraboloids, described by him as “ruled surfaces of sound.” They look like the structural components he designed for the Philips Pavilion.
Xenakis’s compositional approach is based on a relationship between music and architecture that goes beyond the metaphoric. In the composition of Metastasis the role of architecture was direct and fundamental by virtue of the Modulor, which found an application in the very essence of the musical development. Xenakis was interested in the Modulor because it is at once a geometric and an additive series. Metastasis seeks equivalence between a geometric series and an additive series. In Formalized Music: Thought and Mathematics in Composition Xenakis mentions, “It is not so much the inevitable use of mathematics that characterizes the attitude of these experiments as the overriding need to consider sound and music as a vast potential reservoir in which knowledge of the laws of thought and the structured creations of thought may find a completely new medium of materialization.”
Xenakis, Deleuze, and Guattari share the intention to associate art gesture with the zones of indetermination. Xenakis’s evaluation of musical composition is based on “the quantity of intelligence carried by the sounds” and “to make music means to express human intelligence by sonic means.” He underscores that “action, reflection, and self- transformation by the sounds themselves—is the path to follow.” He believes that “when … mathematical thought serves music . . . it should amalgamate dialectically with intuition.” He understands the composition of music as “a fixing in sound of imagined virtualities,” dividing musical construction into two categories: a first that pertains to time and a second that is independent of temporal becomingness. The latter includes “durations and constructions (relations and operations) that refer to elements (points, distances, functions) that belong to and that can be expressed on the time axis. The temporal is then reserved to the instantaneous creation.”Deleuze underscores that in the case of Boulez’s musical composition “number has not disappeared, but has become independent of metric or chronometric relations.” My presentation examines how this freeing of the compositional process from “metric or chronometric relations” to which Deleuze refers can be related to Xenakis’s outside-time mode of composition, described by Xenakis. Deleuze intends to grasp the process of “making sound the medium which renders time sensible, the Numbers of time perceptible, to organize material in order to capture the forces of time and render it sonorous”. He associates this kind of compositional process with Messiaen’s project and understands Boulez’s stance as a continuation of such a procedure “in new conditions (in particular, serial ones).” For Xenakis, the power of musical composition resides in the expression of intelligence through sonic means, while, for Deleuze, the deterritorialising forces of musical composition are inextricably linked to the “functions of temporalization that are exerted on sonorous material that the musician captures and renders sensible the forces of time” (Deleuze, “Boulez, Proust and Time: ‘Occupying without Counting’”). Deleuze and Guattari’s understanding of arts as an invention of material embodiment of the virtual is very close to Xenakis’s understanding of music as thought’s materialisation. Pivotal for shedding light on how arts invent “possibilities of life” is the thought that “the arts operate within the domain of sensation, which is that of the continuous passage of the virtual into the actual” and that, during the creative process of art making, “invention of possible worlds proceeds through embodiment” (Ronald Bogue, “The Art of the Possible”). My objective here is to reflect on the marriage between architecture, music, and mathematics, and on the potentialities of the zones of indeterminacy that emerge when these three domains of experience are thought together.
34. 5 November 2017 My paper “Horizons and directions of the pedagogical strategies of teaching history and theory of architecture” was presented at the conference for the 100th Anniversary of the School of Architecture of the National Technical University of Athens “Architectural education: objects and prospects”
Ορίζοντες και κατευθύνσεις της διδασκαλίας της ιστορίας και της θεωρίας της αρχιτεκτονικής: προκλήσεις αναδιάρθρωσης στο σύγχρονο παγκόσμιο πλαίσιο
Η εισήγηση αυτή, σε πρώτη φάση, εστιάζει στην παρουσίαση των κατευθύνσεων από το 1968 μέχρι σήμερα όσον αφορά στη διερώτηση σχετικά με την προτιμότερη μέθοδο διδασκαλίας της ιστορίας και της θεωρίας της αρχιτεκτονικής σε διαφορετικά θεσμικά και γεωγραφικά πλαίσια. Οι βασικοί προσανατολισμοί που εντοπίζονται είναι οι εξής: η μετατόπιση του ενδιαφέροντος από μια χρονολογική προς μια τυπολογική οργάνωση της διδακτικής (Morris, 1980), η αναζήτηση τρόπων ενσωμάτωσης της διδασκαλίας της ιστορίας της αρχιτεκτονικής στα συνθετικά μαθήματα (Heynen, de Jonge, 2002), η διερεύνηση σημείων συνάντησης των μεθόδων διδασκαλίας της ιστορίας της αρχιτεκτονικής στις σχολές ιστορίας τέχνης και στις σχολές αρχιτεκτονικής (Howard, 2002), η συμφιλίωση των διαφορών μεταξύ της ιστορίας και της θεωρίας αρχιτεκτονικής (Ibid.), η προσαρμογή των μεθόδων διδασκαλίας στο φαινόμενο της άμεσης διάδοσης οπτικών πληροφοριών σε όλα τα γεωγραφικά μήκη και πλάτη (Ibid.), η ανταπόκριση των εκπαιδευτικών προσεγγίσεων στο πρόβλημα της διαχείρισης της πληθώρας των διαθέσιμων εικόνων λόγω της καλπάζουσας ανάπτυξης των διαδικτυακών και ψηφιακών εργαλείων, η διδασκαλία της ιστορίας των κτιρίων ως μέρος της ιστορίας των πόλεων (Waisman, 1985), η αφομοίωση του σύγχρονου λόγου σχετικά με τα ζητήματα φύλου και τα φυλετικά ζητήματα στις μεθόδους διδασκαλίας της ιστορίας και της θεωρίας της αρχιτεκτονικής και η προσπάθεια διαμόρφωσης μοντέλων που αντιτάσσονται στις Δυτικο-κεντρικές αφηγήσεις της ιστορίας της αρχιτεκτονικής.
Σε δεύτερη φάση, επιχειρείται η παρουσίαση των δυνατοτήτων που προσφέρουν οι διαφορετικές μέθοδοι διδασκαλίας. Ανάλογα με τις προτεραιότητες και τα κριτήρια που υιοθετούνται από τον εκάστοτε ιστορικό κατά τη συγγραφή της ιστορίας της αρχιτεκτονικής, οι πιο συνήθεις κατηγοριοποιήσεις που παρατηρούνται αναπτύσσονται σύμφωνα με τις εξής δομές: «τεχνοτροπία και περίοδο», «βιογραφία», «γεωγραφία και πολιτισμός», «τυπολογία» και «τεχνική» (Leach, 2010). Αναφέρω ενδεικτικά ότι η οργάνωση των μαθημάτων σύμφωνα με τυπολογικές ομαδοποιήσεις ευνοεί την ανάδυση των σχέσεων μεταξύ κτιριακών και αστικών δομών (Waisman, 1985). Παράλληλα, η αμφισβήτηση της χρονολογικής οργάνωσης της ιστορίας της αρχιτεκτονικής συνδέεται άμεσα με την διερεύνηση διαφορετικών τρόπων πλαισίωσης της γνώσης και νέων μηχανισμών κατανόησης του ιστορικού χρόνου. Από την άλλη πλευρά, οι θεματικές προσεγγίσεις, μέρος των οποίων αποτελούν και οι τυπολογικές μελέτες, για να είναι κατανοητές, οφείλουν να συνδυάζονται με τη συνειδητοποίηση των χρονολογικών ακολουθιών (Morgenthaler, 1995). Η ενσωμάτωση της σχεδιαστικής διαδικασίας και της οπτικής έκφρασης στην ερευνητική διαδικασία και οι δυνατότητες ενεργοποίησης των αλληλεπιδράσεων μεταξύ της σχεδιαστικής διαδικασίας και της ιστορικής ανάλυσης που τη συνοδεύουν, έκφανση της οποίας αποτελεί η αναγνώριση των διδακτορικών διατριβών μέσω σχεδιασμού (PhD by Design) σε διάφορα θεσμικά και γεωγραφικά πλαίσια (DDes GSD Harvard, Phd by Architectural Design Bartlett School of Architecture κτλ.), προκαλεί σημαντικές μεταλλαγές στη θεσμική υπόσταση της έρευνας της αρχιτεκτονικής και καθιστούν αντιληπτή τη συμπληρωματικότητα του ρόλου της διδασκαλίας της ιστορίας της αρχιτεκτονικής και των συνθετικών μαθημάτων. Συγχρόνως, οι δυνατότητες ποσοτικής ανάλυσης των στατιστικών δεδομένων λόγω της ψηφιακής επανάστασης προκαλούν σημαντικούς αναπροσανατολισμούς στις μεθόδους ιστορικής έρευνας.
Η ομιλία αυτή επιδιώκει να αναδείξει τις δυνατότητες αναδιάρθρωσης των μεθόδων διδασκαλίας της ιστορίας και θεωρίας της αρχιτεκτονικής στο σύγχρονο πλαίσιο που στοχεύουν στην όξυνση της δημιουργικής φαντασίας του εκάστοτε φοιτητή και στην κατανόηση της πολιτισμικά και ιστορικά εμποτισμένης διαμόρφωσης της αρχιτεκτονικής έκφρασης. Δύο ερωτήματα στα οποία επιχειρεί να ανταποκριθεί είναι τα εξής: ποιά είναι τα ιδιαίτερα χαρακτηριστικά της εξέλιξης των μεθόδων διδασκαλίας της ιστορίας και της θεωρίας της αρχιτεκτονικής στο Εθνικό Μετσόβιο Πολυτεχνείο; Κατά πόσο οι αρχιτεκτονικές σχολές σήμερα βασίζουν τις λογικές εκπαίδευσης της ιστορίας της αρχιτεκτονικής στην παραδοχή ότι η «αξία» της αρχιτεκτονικής ιστορίας συνδέεται με τη «χρησιμότητά» της για την αρχιτεκτονική πρακτική (Leach, 2010).
35. 7 July 2017 My paper “Artefactual Value and Virtual Archives: The Digital Curator vis-à-vis the Plurality of Entry Points” was presented at the fourth edition of the Université d’été de la Bibliothèque Kandinsky “Sources at work – art collections and museums and the test of the present”
Venue: Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
Didier Schulmann, conservateur, Bibliothèque Kandinsky, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris
Nicolas Liucci-Goutnikov, conservateur en charge de la coordination scientifique, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris
Mica Gherghescu, historienne de l’art, Bibliothèque Kandinsky, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris
Johanne Lamoureux, directrice du département des études et de la recherche, INHA, professeure titulaire d’art contemporain et de méthodologie à l’université de Montréal
Sara Martinetti, historienne de l’art, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris
Scarlett Reliquet, historienne de l’art et responsable de programmation culturelle, Musée d’Orsay
Alice Thomine, conservatrice en chef, Musée d’Orsay
36. 11 May 2017 My paper “Iakov Chernikhov’s Architectural Fantasies: Overcoming of ‘Mimesis’ through ‘Phantasia’ as Forerunner of Progress” was presented at the 15th Ecole de printemps 2017 of the International Consortium of Art History
Venue: University of Geneva
Iakov Chernikhov’s Architectural Fantasies: Overcoming of ‘Mimesis’ through ‘Phantasia’ as Forerunner of Progress
Russian avant-garde artists aimed to arm with insights into form and materials in order to realize the utopian aims of the Bolshevik Revolution. They believed architecture to have a transformative effect and to reflect the vision to transform everyday life, linking infrastructure with “spiritual values”. Their drawings express the movement towards social ad political reforms, mediating realism and utopia, while mirroring social aspirations. Their attempt to bring art into life, merging them through the assemblage of artifacts is related to the revolutionizing of everyday life.
Iakov Chernikhov’s ‘compositions’ are conceived as “arrangement[s] different from anything known before”. His constant search for new forms is related to “the capacity to fantasize and to convert these fantasies into representations is a starting point of modern architecture”. He notes: “The architect should not limit the sphere of his work with narrow frames and servile imitations, but, where necessary, should overcome obstacles by means of his powerful fantasy and bravely move forward. Those who think that the architect’s activity should embrace only current realistic requirements are thinking incorrectly and falsely.” In contrast with Aristotle, who conceives ‘mimesis’ as the equivalent of artistic enterprise, Chernikhov perceives his ‘compositions’ as acts of overcoming of ‘mimesis’ through ‘phantasia’. The visionary illustrations of his Architectural Fantasies express his endeavor to replace words by graphic images, which is based on his belief that the potential of the international language of graphics to function as a forerunner of progress derives from the power of fantasy.
My aim is to elucidate how Chernikhov treats the tension between fantasy and reality and to examine to what extent his graphic production achieves to overcome ‘mimesis’ through ‘phantasia’. The response to these questions could help us explain why Chernikhov has been often judged as unclassifiable and to evaluate to what extent his attitude reflects the polarities between theRationalists and the Constructivists.
37. 9 February 2017 My paper “A Microhistorical Genealogy of Aldo Rossi’s Transatlantic Connections: Transplantation and Architectural Pedagogues and Historians” was presented at the international conference “Theory’s History, 196X-199X Challenges in the historiography of architectural knowledge” organised by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Hilde Heynen (KU Leuven)
Maarten Delbeke (UGent)
Rajesh Heynickx (KU Leuven)
Yves Schoonjans (KU Leuven)
Teresa Stoppani (Leeds Beckett University)
K. Michael Hays (Harvard)
Joan Ockman (University of Pennsylvania)
Ákos Moravánszky (ETH Zürich)
Łukasz Stanek (University of Manchester)
Here you can download the abstract of my paper
38. 11 – 13 July 2016 My paper “Neorealism between Cinema and Architecture: Looking for New Signs” was presented at the 9th International Deleuze Studies Conference “Virtuality, Becoming and Life”
Venue: Department of Philosophy, Communication and Visual Arts of University of Roma Tre
Neorealism between Cinema and Architecture: Looking for New Signs
In Cinema 2: The Time-Image, Gilles Deleuze sees World War II as a historical event underpinning divergent taxonomies; the post-war period greatly increases the situations in which we are faced with spaces we no longer know how to describe, to which we longer know how to react. Deleuze refers to a crisis of the action-image in cinema, which corresponds to the war’s historical caesura. In Italian neorealist cinema, he sees a delinkage between the affection-image, the perception-image and the relation-image, and identifies certain formal inventions that reduce the distance between fiction and reality. The result is the production of a formal or material ‘additional reality’, a kind of formalism in the service of content. This leads Deleuze to ask whether the problem of the real arises in relation to form or to content. I, however, examine the possibility of applying Deleuze’s same question regarding neorealism to the domain of architecture.
Neorealism in cinema is associated with the subordination of the image to the demands of new signs. For example, in neorealism, the montage of representations is replaced by the sequence shot. This leads to the invention of a new type of image, the ‘fact-image’, which address a new form of reality. As André Bazin notes of Roberto Rossellini’s films, the neorealist reversal of the image’s subordination to montage serves as a critique of how pre-established meanings (in images) are imposed on the spectator. In relation to architecture, this leads us critique pre-established meanings of spaces in postwar architecture. For instance, what new types of signs emerge in architecture as a result of World War II? And how can we see a notion of virtual becoming taking place in architecture?
Neorealist architecture understands constructions in relation to a rhythm of aggregation evident in their successive elements. It’s often characterized by the fabrication of a new architectural language that aims to challenge “International Style” and to overcome rationalist types of composition. At the same time, there’s also a passage from a pre-established concept of compositional unity to one obtained by means of superposition, expressed through the obsessive fragmentation of walls and fences, as in the case of “Quartiere Tiburtino”. Furthermore, we also see an elaboration of formal discontinuities and a rediscovery of the value of the street, an attempt to examine surgically the singularities of the visible world and everyday life, which unfolds according to a logic of impersonal individuation, rather than personal individualization. Special attention is paid to a pre-individual notion that through the sheer materiality of living, the powers of a life can be attained. Indeed, something virtual doesn’t lack reality, but is rather engaged in a process of actualization which lends it its singularities. Similarly, the fabrication of architectural assemblages doesn’t imply a translation from the virtual to the actual. Instead, every stage of the genetic process is characterized by a coalescence of actuality and virtuality. The resulting indiscernibility is not produced in the mind, but it is inherent in their material expression.
39. 20 – 22 June 2016 My paper “Revisiting the Debate around Autonomy in Architecture: A Genealogy” was presented at the II International Conference on Architectural Design & Criticism critic|all
Venue: Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid, Spain
Revisiting the Debate around Autonomy in Architecture: A Genealogy
This paper traces a genealogy of the debate around autonomy by bringing to light the main episodes that fashioned it from the moment of crisis of the belief that a homogeneous Zeitgeist dispersed throughout civilization is sufficient for understanding the evolution of architectural knowledge until today. By diagnosing the succession of encounters and conflicts that shaped this debate, the different forms of societal concerns within the discipline of architecture will be revealed. At the center of this topic lies the transformation of the status of autonomy in architecture, a concept that has been proposed from different points of view. Carlo Olmo claims that autonomy resides in the uniqueness of the work as a document. According to him, the language of architecture is determined by the contradiction between intellectual labor and the forces of production. Olmo believes that the historian’s task is to understand and reveal the special characteristics of this contradiction. According to Tahl Kaminer “[a]utonomy, as a theoretical term, had been mostly absent in architectural discourse prior to the late 1960s.” However, we should bear in mind that Emil Kaufmann, in Von Ledoux bis Le Corbusier (1933), develops a genealogy of autonomous architecture. In the sphere of the arts, the concern about autonomy dates back to the emergence of the term “aesthetics”, which first appeared in its modern sense in Alexander Baumgarten’s work in 1735. The aim is to unfold the trajectory of the controversies around autonomy in architecture and their relationship to the controversies around autonomy in politics. At the same time, its objective is to show how the concept of autonomy was treated and how its different conceptions contributed to the establishment of distinct architectural and urban design methods. Taking as a starting point Foucault’s understanding of genealogy as critique, as presented in “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History” (1971), the purpose is to provide a critique of what the theorized debates on autonomy in architecture teach us about architectural knowledge. In order to do so, it presents the synchronic and diachronic interrelationships of different contemporaneous phenomena in the realm of architectural reflection on autonomy. The aspect of genealogy that is at the core here is the fact that it is based on the intention of challenging history as a chronological pattern of events. The narrative thread followed here aims at revealing the force relations that operated in particular events that shaped the debate around autonomy in architecture.
The reductionist conception of urban complexity through its formal visualization and juxtaposition of its structures that the formalistic contextualism of Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter suggests in Collage City (1978) will be problematized here for neglecting the importance of urban politics and the social relevance of architecture and urban planning. Their system of autonomous grid and heterogeneous fragments will be criticized for not paying attention to any form of history that lies outside of architecture. Stuart Cohen, in “Physical Context/Cultural Context: Including it All”, published in Oppositions in 1974, underscores the significance of strategies that deal with physical, cultural, and architectural inputs to the process of design, stressing the relativity of value judgment and interrelating notions coming from opposed architectural tendencies, such as inclusivism and exclusivism, under the theoretical construct of contextualism. K. Michael Hays is interested in the oppositions between autonomization and historicization, as well as the evolution of their pas de deux. Stanford Anderson, in “Quasi-Autonomy in Architecture: The Search for an ‘In-Between'”, published in Perspecta in 2002, tries to discern how the submersion in the material conditions characterizing one’s time could be avoided, as well as how it could be possible to address social issues without adopting a formally driven approach. Peter Eisenman questions whether an architectural autonomy is already social, or whether autonomy can be teased out from the social. He asks the following questions: is there a core of normative conditions, interior to architectural discipline, regarding type and disciplinal historicity that is inevitably activated via any act belonging to architectural design practice? Are there concepts that can escape their determination by this core of normative condition, and are not bound by history or historical context?
The main episodes on which this genealogical narrative around autonomy in architecture focuses are the following: the encounters between political and architectural/urban autonomy (Tafuri 1973, Tronti 1977, Grassi 1967), the tension between autogestion and autonomy in urban politics (Lefebvre 1966, Castoriadis 1975), the emergence of urban design as a discipline and the debates around the exhibition “The New City: Architecture and Urban Renewal”, organized at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York in 1967 and the debate between the critical and the post-critical agenda. This trajectory aims at revealing the sequence of controversies around distinctions such as culture/form, context/content, history/becoming, fiction/reality, construction of meaning/instrumentalist functionalism, internalism/externalism in order to propose a research model that overcomes the dichotomies of the Hegelian dialectic. The aspiration of this gesture is to respond to the interrogation of the conditions of possibility to get a distance from the preconceptions of types, the symbolic identification that accompany them and the a priori meanings attached to them.
Nietzschean and Foucauldian genealogies aim to bring to light “discontinuous systematicities” and avoid supra-historical perspectives. Genealogy as a method of historical investigation is understood as a method of critical investigation and normative evaluation. It helps us overcome the polarity between a context-based and a convention-based understanding of architectural and urban design. Such an endeavor of overcoming dichotomies could be related to what Stanford Anderson calls “semi-autonomous architecture”. According to Anderson, architecture practice is determined by certain conventions that are associated with its own disciplinary traditions. Architecture should critically question its own conventions within a larger cultural context in which its inhabitants live. Stanford Anderson, in “Critical Conventionalism in Architecture”, published in 1986 in Assemblage, notes that “a convention is not to be valued primarily for its novelty, beauty, or internal consistency, or for its autonomy, or for the law and order it brings to practice, but rather for its (culturally framed) true or liberating relations to other conventions of practice.” This conception of convention is understood as a form of expression of genealogy as a method of normative evaluation. The invention of conceptual tools that provide us with the capability to overcome the contradiction between the architectural discipline’s historical and technological specificity and its connection to an enlarged cultural and social sphere is related to the rejection of the dualism between an internalist and an externalist point of view. The knowledge about the inner states of architectural discipline is possible thanks to the effort to situate it within an overall structure. The potentialities of an epistemological model for architecture based rather on the concept of “transversality” than that of interdisciplinarity, renounces the divisive fallacy between content and context, and between architecture and society.
40. 13 June 2016 Conference entitled “Entre Bernard Tschumi et Frank Gehry : autour de l’approche déconstructiviste en architecture”
Venue: Cité Universitaire Internationale de Paris
41. 2 – 4 June 2016 My paper “Towards a Narrative of Connected Geographies: Display of Architecture and Transnational History” was presented at the European Architectural History Network: 4th International Meeting in Dublin
42. 30 March 2016 I gave a lecture entitled “Towards a Cinemat[ograph]ic Conception in Architecture: The Time-image and the Mouvement-image in the case of Bernard Tschumi”
Venue: École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Versailles
43. 11 – 12 March 2016 My paper « Vers une écosophie des pratiques architecturales et urbaines » was presented at the International Conference “At the turn of the experience. Questioning what we build, sharing what we face”
Venue: Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine de Paris
44. 1 – 10 August 2015 I participated to the round table “Habiter, lire et performer en rhizome” at the International Conference “Deleuze : Virtuel, Machines et Lignes de Fuite”
Venue: Centre Cultural International de Cerisy
45. 24 – 26 April 2015 My paper “Gilles Deleuze and the nondiscursive arts: from symptomatology to the capture of forces” was presented at the International Conference “Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari: Refrains of Freedom”, which was organised under the auspices of the Canadian Embassy in Greece and the Institut Français de Grèce
Venue: Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens
Gilles Deleuze and the nondiscursive arts: from symptomatology to the capture of forceThe interest of Gilles Deleuze in the nondiscursive arts is related to the movement of his thought from language toward the matter of perception. Deleuze’s definition of art as a capture of forces could be interpreted as an attempt to perceive the aesthetic identity overcoming the limits of the linguistic philosophy of the sign. The thesis according to which the effect of art is not reducible to its linguistic dimension could be seen as a movement toward a nonlinguistic philosophy of the sign. The idea that the effect of art requires a semiotics of the affect that is not reducible to the discursive leads to a shift within the fracture between the imaginary and the real. This approach is related to the recognition that there is a nonliterary dimension in the arts that do not first, or exclusively, pass through the medium of language. Thought is conceived as inseparable from images and arts are not seen as reducible to signification. The denial to reduce arts to a symbolic system derives from the recognition that image seeks thought on the level of sensation. Thought is seen as inseparable from images and art produces images that give rise to thought and creates effects of subjectification. The belief that arts contribute to the constitution of new forms of subjectification implies a concept’s pragmatism and elucidates the political dimension of theoretical thought and artistic praxis.
46. 14 – 16 July 2014 My paper “How is Deleuze and Guattari’s Model for Subjectivity Critical for Architectural Theory and Practice Today? The Diagrammatic or Abstract Machine in Contemporary Theory of Architecture” was presented at the 7th International Deleuze Studies Conference, Models, Machines and Memories
Venue: Istanbul Technical University, School of Architecture
47. 12 – 14 June 2014 My paper “Revisiting the encounters of the social concern with the utopian aspirations: is pragmatist imagination or utopian realism the way to follow?” was presented at the I International Conference on Architectural Design & Criticism critic|all
Venue: Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid
48. 22 – 25 May 2014 My paper “From the research of a modernity that could be at the same time Greek to a multiplicity of the present: ‘Greekness’ in architecture or architecture in Greece?” was presented at the 1st Colloquium of History of Architecture in Greece on the historiography of architecture in Greece in the 20th and 21st century art and architecture between local and globalisation
Venue: Department of Art Theory and History of Athens School of Fine Arts History
49. 16 – 19 July 2013 My paper “Scripting Cultures, Parametric Urbanism and Adaptive Ecologies” was presented at the 9th International Conference on Intelligent Environments, Intelligent Cities, Intelligent Users
Venue: National Technical University of Athens