designing dissent

i’ll be presenting “designing dissent: vilanova artigas and the são paulo school of architecture” at the upcoming ahra conference at the london metropolitan university, titled architecture and the paradox of dissidence, organized by ines weizman. you can find more details in their website, including the complete program with abstracts (nov 15-17). here’s mine:

Between the 1964 military coup and its institutionalization in 1968, Brazil went through a complicated period of increasing violence and repression, which also coincided with the construction of the São Paulo School of Architecture, designed by Jõao Batista Vilanova Artigas along with a new curriculum. In a series of printed and public forums, Vilanova Artigas argued for the possibilities of architectural agency. He was opposed by younger faculty group Arquitetura Nova, who viewed him as a a passive collaborator of the regime and questioned the possibilities of resistance within the boundaries of the discipline. The debate still holds weight today: can architects play a role in political change, or must they leave their disciplinary boundaries to do so? Vilanova Artigas defended the right of architecture to think critical utopias. I argue that he attempted to construct such a utopia in the school, by establishing dissidence through pedagogy, and resistance through design.

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