It’s Simple: Histories of Architecture and/for the Environment

Event, in English, Avery Hall, Columbia University, 19 October 2018, 1:00pm

Some profit from climate change, but many more suffer its consequences. It’s that simple; any history of anthropogenic planetary transformation is therefore also a history of inequality, injustice, and struggle. But what should this history look like? Around whose priorities should its objects of inquiry be defined and assembled? What truths should it seek? “It’s Simple” offers new directions and agendas for environmental histories of architecture that combine a planetary perspective with an assertion that national centers of power, particularly those in the United States, continue to hold outsize influence and responsibility.

This public seminar is part of the Canadian Centre for Architecture’s research project Architecture and/for the Environment and is held in conjunction with the Buell Center’s research initiative “Power: Infrastructure in America.” With “It’s Simple,” the CCA and the Buell Center propose that there are few winners and mostly losers in the Anthropocene, and that architectural—indeed environmental—historiography must begin by acknowledging this fact. Though the narratives might be complex, the imperative is simple.

Daniel Barber (University of Pennsylvania)
Aleksandr Bierig (Harvard University)
Nerea Calvillo (Warwick University)
Jiat-Hwee Chang (National University of Singapore)
Isabelle Doucet (Manchester University)
Hannah le Roux (University of Witwatersrand)
Kiel Moe (McGill University)
Paulo Tavares (Universidade de Brasília)

Response by Meredith TenHoor, Pratt Institute / Buell Center and panel moderated by Meredith TenHoor and Kim Förster, Associate Director of Research, CCA.

On the occasion of “It’s Simple,” the CCA presents the pop-up display “You Must Choose between Oxygen or Wealth” at the Columbia University GSAPP, Avery 400, from 8 to 19 October.

“It’s Simple” is co-organized by the CCA, the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture, and the Society of Fellows / Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University.


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