We are excited to announce our Fall 2020 Lecture Series, featuring ten interdisciplinary design leaders from around the world. With a new, dynamic lineup of speakers each semester, UTSOA's Lecture Series plays an integral role in fulfilling the school's commitment to fostering lively intellectual curosity and the open exchange of ideas.
Starting September 9, practitioners and theorists in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, interior design, and allied disciplines will present lectures that address some of society’s most pressing issues, including race and spatial justice, ecology and climate change, computation and the proliferation of new and emerging technologies, and more. Considered holistically, this semester’s lineup pushes the traditional boundaries of the design disciplines, and reimagines the relationship between design and the world around us.
Guest lecturers in the series include: Peter Eisenman and Mario Carpo, Claudia Pasquero, Jesse LeCavalier, Alexandra Arènes, Liz Ogbu, Kathrin Gimmel, Bas Van De Poel, William O’Brien, and Michael Bricker. All lectures are free and open to the public, and will be conducted virtually via the Texas Architecture YouTube Channel.
In this special double lecture and dialogue, Peter Eisenman and Mario Carpo will examine the history, state, and prospects of an architectural project through computation. The two lectures will be followed by an open discussion, moderated by UTSOA’s Daniel Koehler. Both protagonists claim the infirmity of today’s digital architecture, though, it was the early works of both that helped first turn the digital into architecture. What moments opened the discourse and cultural project of digital architecture? What grains of architecture remain beyond a certain threshold of computing power?
Claudia Pasquero posits that, in the age of the Anthropocene, it is necessary that we search for non-anthropocentric modes of reasoning and designing. Through a series of recent research projects that explore the interdependence of digital and biological intelligence via non-human living organisms, her lecture will illustrate how a renewed appreciation of beauty in architecture has evolved into an operational tool to design and measure architecture’s actual ecological intelligence. Pasquero is an architect, curator, author, and educator whose research and work operate at the intersection of biology, computation, and design. She is founder and co-director of ecoLogic Studio in London, Lecturer and Director of the Urban Morphogenesis Lab at the Bartlett UCL, and Professor of Landscape Architecture and founder of the Synthetic Landscape Lab at Innsbruck University. Her lecture will be preceded by a short interview with UTSOA’s Danelle Briscoe, which will serve as a prologue to the OTHER NATURE exhibition opening in February 2021, in which Pasquero’s work will also be featured.
Through LECAVALIER R+D, Jesse LeCavalier explores the architectural and urban implications of contemporary infrastructure. He is author of The Rule of Logistics: Walmart and the Architecture of Fulfillment and is Associate Professor at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture at the University of Toronto. In his lecture, “Landscapes of Fulfillment,” LeCavalier will report on research findings into the architectural and urban implications of the logistics industry, along with efforts to translate those findings into design work.
Alexandra Arènes is a French landscape architect, researcher at the University of Manchester, and co-founder of Société d’Objets Cartographiques, a think tank focused on earth-political design. Through SOC, Arènes has been working with scientists in “Critical Zones”—landscapes equipped with scientific instruments that mark environmental disturbances caused by human activities—to find a way to become sensitive to the earth through the arts and, conversely, to find a way to use science to influence design practices that are too-well established. In her lecture, she will share these collaborative research experiences and her experience designing “gaia-graphy,” a biogeochemically-based alternative form of visualization.
Liz Ogbu – Studio O, Oakland
“Apocalypse” comes from the Greek word for “revelation” or “unveiling.” The pandemic and the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor among others laid bare a landscape of injustice and oppression that has long existed. Addressing symptoms of harm will never be easy, but it is necessary work. For too long, design has often been complicit in that harm. In her lecture, designer, urbanist, and spatial justice activist Liz Ogbu explores what it means to wrestle with that complicity, and the potentials of negotiating issues of race and space in service of healing. Ogbu is a global expert on engaging and transforming unjust urban environments. She is Founder and Principal of Studio O, a multidisciplinary design consultancy that works at the intersection of racial and spatial justice.
Kathrin Gimmel is Partner at Copenhagen-based JAJA Architects. Working across scale and traditional boundaries, JAJA strives to create architecture, landscape, and urban planning from a holistic perspective. The studio aims to make each intervention a distinct yet natural part of its environment, and to create a dialogue between the project and the inherent qualities of the location. JAJA believes that projects with strong roots in their physical environments create greater experiences and added value, both to the project and to the surrounding community. Gimmel will uncover JAJA’s approach through a presentation of recent projects.
Wednesday, October 28 at 1:00 p.m.
“If You are the Smartest Person in the Room, You’re in the Wrong Room”
Bas van de Poel - Space10, Copenhagen
Bas van de Poel is creative director at Space10, IKEA’s experimental research and design lab. On a mission to enable a better everyday life for people and the planet, Space10 researches and designs innovative solutions to some of the major societal changes expected to affect people and our planet in the years to come. In his lecture, van de Poel will discuss Space10’s approach to research and design, zeroing in on prospects for reimagining architecture through the lens of new and emerging technologies.
William O’Brien – WOJR: Organization for Architecture, Cambridge, MA
Liam O’Brien is Principal of WOJR: Organization for Architecture, Associate Professor in the MIT Department of Architecture, and one of the founding members of Collective-LOK. Since 2019, he is also the architectural design lead of the Samara project at Airbnb. In his lecture, O’Brien will explore WOJR’s recent work. An organization of designers, WOJR considers architecture to be a form of cultural production, and their work extends across the globe and engages the realms of art, architecture, and urbanism.
Michael Bricker – Production Designer, Los Angeles
A UTSOA alumnus, Michael Bricker is a production designer and filmmaker whose recent television credits include Dare Me for USA Network and Hit & Run for Netflix. He also designed the first season of Netflix’s Russian Doll, for which he won both an Emmy and an Art Director’s Guild Award for Outstanding Production Design Half Hour. Michael is the Founder of People for Urban Progress, an Indianapolis non-profit that focuses on repurposing urban fabrics and resources. In his lecture, Bricker will explore recent production design work and will discuss how cinematic strategies can be applied to architectural design in order to create more dynamic, meaningful works.