random thoughts on architecture history theory and criticism

Lina in Bahia, Bahia in Ibirapuera


It’s SAH time! Looking forward so much to the annual archinerd reunion, particularly since this time it’s in California. I’ll be presenting some new material about Lina Bo Bardi and Martim Gonçalves’ exhibition “Bahia no Ibirapuera” in the session That Which Does Not Last: Ephemeral Architecture After Modernism. There are a few papers on Bo Bardi in this SAH iteration, but only mine will break your heart.


Filed under: bo bardi, brazil, cv, italy, participation, politics

Cities of the Americas Workshop


I presented my course, “Urban Fragments: Form and Politics of American Cities” at Cities of the Americas, a workshop organized by the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism & the Humanities.

Filed under: ., cities, cv

air nationalism


I wrote a review of Norman Foster and Fernando Romero’s Mexico City Airport in The Avery Review, a periodical of critical essays in architecture edited by the Office of Publications at Columbia GSAPP.

Filed under: ., cv

2013-14 ACSA Awards

I am very happy that my article, “Prisoners of Ritoque: The Open City and the Ritoque Concentration Camp” has been selected for the JAE Scholarship of Design Award, as part of the 2013-14 ACSA Awards. This piece was so difficult and challenging to write, particularly for the parts that did not go into it–the stories of pain and suffering caused by the dictatorship. I am also very fortunate to have gotten detailed responses to the piece by Chilean colleagues, including architect Miguel Lawner, a prisoner himself at the camp. It has been a privilege for me to have him read my attempt to capture this complicated history. Finally, as the piece was in production I got to visit both the Open City and what little remains of the Ritoque concentration camp. You can see those images here. Many thanks to Josefina de la Maza and Germán Heufemann who made it possible. You can download the article here.

Filed under: cv

architecture and the paradox of dissidence

the proceedings publication for ahra 2012 is out, edited by ines weizman. i am very happy to have been part of the conference with my paper “designing dissent” and to now be part of the publication available here. here’s a short description:

Architecture and the Paradox of Dissidence maps out and expands upon the methodologies of architectural action and reinvigorates the concept of dissent within the architectural field. It expands the notion of dissidence to other similar practices and strategies of resistance, in a variety of historical and geographical contexts.The book also discusses how the gestures and techniques of past struggles, as well as ‘dilemmas’ of working in politically suppressive regimes, can help to inform those of today.

This collection of essays from expert scholars demonstrates the multiple responses to this subject, the potential and dangers of dissidence, and thus constructs a robust lexicon of concepts that will point to possible ways forward for politically and theoretically committed architects and practitioners.

Filed under: cv, politics, revolution, vilanova artigas

systems and the south

the aggregate architectural history collaborative website is up! about aggregate:

The Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative is dedicated to advancing research and education in the history and theory of architecture. We generate, work-shop, present, and publish innovative scholarship from multidisciplinary perspectives. We are particularly interested in work that foregrounds the multiple ways in which one can understand architecture’s relationship to the world.

i’m involved with the systems and the south project, edited by arindam dutta, ijlal muzaffar, and fabiola lópez-durán. here’s a brief summary of the project:

How have architectural practitioners and consultants –within or in confronting the South – addressed themselves to problems that go beyond their formal or representational remit: to questions of biopolitics, the economy, politics, technological transfer, and so on? What kind of manipulations or transformations of the conventional protocols of design have been occasioned in these encounters with external disciplines? Conversely, what kinds of new assertions have been made about the practice of architecture, even of aesthetics in general? 

Filed under: cv, writing

las mujeres y el campo expandido de la arquitectura

gracias a la invitación de Pedro “La Periferia” Hernández, he publicado un pequeño artículo en Arquine titulado “Las Mujeres y el Campo Expandido de la Arquitectura.” el artículo argumenta que a fin de sortear las dificultades de la práctica, muchas mujeres encontraron maneras alternativas de practicar la disciplina, y al hacerlo expandieron el campo de la arquitectura. El artículo es parte de un diálogo que Arquine busca realizar en torno al tema–pueden ver los otros artículos aquí.

Filed under: bo bardi, cv, feminism, rant, scott-brown, waisman

MITX: 4.605x A Global History of Architecture

Mark Jarzombek gave me the opportunity to give a few lectures in his Global History of Architecture course, based on his fantastic book with Vikram Prakash. The course will be available online as part of the edx project, and they have generously included me in the staff listing (here’s a promotional video if you want to get a general idea). I am very happy and proud to be a part of this project, general reserves about MOOCs notwithstanding. Thanks MMJ!

Filed under: cv, jarzombek

encuentros transatlánticos

aml indiano cover

voy a presentar un ensayo titulado “antonio bonet: el último indiano” en el congreso “encuentros transatlánticos: discursos vanguardistas en españa y latinoamérica” del 11 al 13 de julio en el museo nacional centro de arte reina sofía. partiendo de una conversación que tuve con fernando alvarez prozorovich, mi ensayo propone a bonet como el último indiano:

Propongo que Bonet repite un patrón que tomó forma durante el siglo XVI y tuvo su auge a fines del XIX y comienzos del XX—la figura de “el indiano,” el aventurero español que parte al Nuevo Mundo en busca de fortuna para luego regresar a España a disfrutar su riqueza. En esta presentación introduzco las connotaciones orientalistas del término, en donde el conocimiento de Latinoamérica se deriva de preconcepciones europeas que poco tienen que ver con la compleja realidad de la región. A continuación complico la narrativa de la fortuna fácil, explicando como Bonet sacrificó sus aspiraciones humanistas al servicio de regímenes con diversas orientaciones políticas. Finalmente, argumento que la obra de Bonet en Río de la Plata es el producto de un intercambio fructífero entre el joven arquitecto y su entorno, demostrando que las características tradicionalmente peyorativas del indiano son justamente las que lo convierten en un personaje absolutamente moderno.

Filed under: ., cv

thresholds 41: REVOLUTION!

t41 image

i just edited thresholds, the journal of the MIT department of architecture. thresholds 41: REVOLUTION! is available for download here.

What actions are prompted by revolution in the space of the city? Which publics take part in this struggle, and who are the agents that mobilize it? And after a revolution has subsided, how is it remembered, represented and memorialized? thresholds 41: REVOLUTION! turns to the history, design, and cultural production of the public realm as a site of dissensus. Rather than focusing on a specific revolutionary time and place, we have strived to include different periods and regions, organizing contributions in terms of the relations they establish between sites, actors, and contexts. In the essays and designs featured in these pages, political struggle often shifts established roles—agitators create new types of public space, designers become activists and fundraisers, individual figures fade in favor of collectives or groups, and actions are best remembered through misrepresentation. How do we write revolution, who writes it and for whom? And, in turn, how does urban conflict inform writing, design, and cultural production at large? Our authors, designers, and artists open up revolution as subject, as event, and as historiographical problem—a problem complicated by discrete actions, multiple publics, critical practices, and the politics of display and remembrance. [keep reading on issuu]

Filed under: ., cities, cv, jarzombek, kant, koolhaas, le corbusier, memory, participation, politics, ruins

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