Third International Symposium: Abstracts

 

Toward a Geography of Architectural Criticism:
Disciplinary Boundaries and Shared Territories

 

Monday, April 3, 2017: Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, salle Vasari

09:30 Registration and Welcome Address

09:45 Introduction

Session 1. Intellectual Territories: Borrowing Tools and Rhetorics from Other Disciplines Chair: Paolo Scrivano, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University

10:15 Stefania Kenley Independant Scholar, Paris
Blind spot in the visual field of art-architecture criticism
ABSTRACT
BIO

10:45 Valeria Lattante ABC, Politecnico di Milano
The concept of tradition from T. S. Eliot literary critic to E. N. Rogers architectural theory
ABSTRACT
BIO

11:15 Coffee break

11:30 Raúl Martínez Department of History and Theory of Architecture, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya-BarcelonaTech.
Geoffrey Scott’s The Architecture of Humanism at the Inception of Bruno Zevi’s Theoretical Corpus
ABSTRACT
BIO

12:00 Jasna Galjer Department of Art History, University of Zagreb
Cultural exchange as Architecture’s expanded field
ABSTRACT
BIO

12:30 Adrian Anagnost Newcomb Art Department, Tulane University, New Orleans
Critique and Complicity: The Art Critical Lineage of Projective Architecture
ABSTRACT
BIO

13:00 Lunch Break

Session 2. Political and Geographical Boundaries
Chair: Giovanni Leoni, Università di Bologna

14:30 Jianfei Zhu University of Melbourne
Towards a New Criticism on Architecture of Contemporary China: The Case of He Jingtang (1938-)
ABSTRACT
BIO

15:00 Charlotte Ashby Department of History of Art, Birkbeck, University of London
The Archaeology of Finnish Architectural Criticism
ABSTRACT
BIO

15:30 Christina Pech Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm
Criticism on Display. The Swedish Museum of Architecture and the Production of History in the mid-1970s
ABSTRACT
BIO

16:00 Discussion and Pause

17:00 Key-note Lecture: Marco Biraghi, Department of Architecture and Urban Studies, Politecnico di Milano, What does it mean architecture?
BIO

 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017: Académie d’Architecture, Paris

09:30 Manuelle Gautrand (Présidente de l’Académie d’Architecture, tbc): Welcome Address

Session 3. Judging Architecture: Professional, Popular or Academic Criticism?
Chair: Réjean Legault, Université du Québec à Montréal

09:45 Christina Contandriopoulos Department of Art History, Université du Québec à Montréal
Against the wall: the birth of architectural criticism in early 19th Century Paris
ABSTRACT
BIO

10:15 Michela Rosso Department of Architecture and Design, Politecnico di Torino
Architectural Criticism and Cultural Satire in the 1980s: shared territories and languages
ABSTRACT
BIO

10:45 Break

11:00 Kristen Gagnon Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism, Carleton University, Ottawa
Popular Architecture Criticism: A definition, a delineation and a débâcle
ABSTRACT
BIO

 11:30 Detlef Jessen-Klingenberg independent Scholar, Germany
Architectural criticism as cultural criticism (“Kulturkritik”) and professional criticism (“Fachkritik”). A case study on the example of Werner Hegemann
ABSTRACT
BIO

12:00 Discussion

12:45 Lunch Break

 Session 4. Professionalism: the Critic as a Specialist
Chair: Anne Hultzsch, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, and Oslo School of Architecture and Design

14:15 Laurens Bulckaen and Rika Devos, BATir Department, École polytechnique de Bruxelles
Louis Cloquet (1849-1920): architectural writings of a critical engineer
ABSTRACT
BIO

14:45 Irene Lund Faculty of Architecture, Université Libre de Bruxelles – Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
The multiple origins of modernist architecture criticism in the Belgian avant-garde magazine 7Arts (1922-1927)
ABSTRACT
BIO

15:15 Patrizia Bonifazio Department of Architecture and Urban Studies, Politecnico di Milano
 “Zodiac” (1957-1973). Art and technique to define architecture in front of the mass production
ABSTRACT
BIO

15:45 Lorenzo Ciccarelli Department of Architecture, University of Florence
Giovanni Klaus Koenig (1924-1989): Architectural Criticism between Semiology, Industrial Design and Rail Trains
ABSTRACT
BIO

16:30 Roundtable : Valéry Didelon (École nationale supérieure d’architecture Paris-Malaquais), Réjean Legault (UQAM), Stanislaus von Moos (University of Zurich), Paolo Scrivano (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University)
BIO

 


Monday, April 3, 2017: Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, salle Vasari

Session 1. Intellectual Territories: Borrowing Tools and Rhetorics from Other Disciplines Chair: Paolo Scrivano, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University

10:15 Stefania Kenley, Blind spot in the visual field of art-architecture criticism
Each part of the title – the “art-architecture” continuum, its “visual field” and the presence of a “blind spot” in criticism – are examined in relation to the notions of significance, image and value.
I start by questioning the current tendency of isolating architectural criticism, as well as the theory and history of architecture, from the territory of visual arts and its specific critical discourse. Historically, art and architecture critical writings have not only shared common origins, but their object of study has lead to similar methodologies based on visual perception. Continuity within this field can be observed from Vitruvius’s definition of architecture as a practical discipline and a theory created around the significance of what is produced.
Drawing upon the continuity of art-architecture criticism, my book Du Fictif au reel spans between two key moments of the XXth Century: the collaboration of artists and architects during the first European avant-garde movements and the paradoxical kinship between New Brutalism and English Pop art after World War II. It includes examples taken from literature, sculpture, painting, photography, architectural and urban design, where the image creation is central. Questioned in a historical perspective, a new vocabulary appears like a cast left by the classical concepts of permanence, beauty, suitability or harmony. This new lexicon is formed by notions like the – ephemeral, expendable, transient, ugliness, excess, formlessness –revealing a change of aesthetic criteria.
This change adds to a more alarming phenomenon whereby the architectural criticism, meant to establish the value of projects or buildings in a wider framework, could simply indulge in flattering the market forces through the lens of convenience. If disconnected from the viewer’s visual perception, or from the inhabitant’s experience and senses, the discourse can only serve profit-oriented media. This artificially created “blindness” of architectural judgement is what I finally propose to expose.

Bio: Stefania Kenley, Independant Scholar, Paris
Stefania Kenley has been an artist and an architect since 1986 and has taught architecture since 1990 at the Bartlett School of Architecture, the Architectural Association School of Architecture and the University of Greenwich in London. In 2005 she obtained a Ph.D. at the University of Paris VIII, with her thesis From a Pastiche to the Original, Traces and Trajectories of the Independent Group (1952-1956), directed by Professor Jean-Louis Cohen. In Paris, after teaching history of architecture at École Spéciale d’Architecture, she gave a series of lectures on modern and contemporary architecture for art history graduates at the University of Paris IV – La Sorbonne. Part of the editorial board of Architecture and Culture journal and member of the Association d’Histoire de l’Architecture, she has been writing extensively on art and architecture (for architecture criticism see “Essays” on website: https://stefaniakenley.wordpress.com).

 

10:45 Valeria Lattante, The concept of tradition from T. S. Eliot literary critic to E. N. Rogers architectural theory
In Pretesti per una critica non formalistica [Pretext for a non formalistic critic] – than republished in Esperienza dell’architettura [Experience of architecture] with the title Tradizione e talento individuale [Tradition and the individual talent]  – the Milanese architect Ernesto Nathan Rogers resort to Thomas Stearns Eliot for explaining that, in order to evaluate the work of an architect easily charged of formalism as Oscar Niemeyer, it was necessary to turn to an « historical sense » that allowed to «situate facts in the right position as regards the coordinates of space and time». On this occasion, for the first time, he suggested the analogy between his idea of tradition and that of the English poet and literary critic. The title of the writing itself followed, in Esperienza dell’architettura, that of the essay in which Eliot explained the meaning he attributed to the concept of « historical sense » and its relevance in the creation of the work of art . The deepening of the mentioned texts allows to interpret Rogers’s reference to Eliot’s essay Tradition and the individual talent as the architect’s adhesion to the idea of tradition as expressed by the critic. Far from limiting oneself to the mere acceptance of the results reached by the previous generations, tradition is a heritage which one seizes with conquest. For this being possible it is necessary to possess an « historical sense ». It is a borrowing that permits to express the construction of architecture as a collective work of art thanks to which those features of an architect’s work in which he resembles to other architects take value and «more vigorously demonstrate… his ancestors’ immortal vitality» .
The paper aims to outline the logical foundations that allowed Rogers’s theory to share with T. S. Eliot’s literary critic instruments capable to offer a new perspective to the critical thinking on Italian architecture post-WWII.

BioBorn in Como in 1981, Valeria Lattante graduated in Architecture at Politecnico di Milano in 2007, after having studied and worked in Amsterdam and Sydney. Since then she is teaching assistant at Politecnico di Milano. She collaborated with different professional offices in Italy and abroad before getting her PhD in Architecture at the Università di Bologna and starting her own professional activity in 2013. She carried out research activity at Università di Bologna and Politecnico di Milano and participated in international architecture congresses.

11:15 Coffee break

11:30 Raúl Martínez, Geoffrey Scott’s The Architecture of Humanism at the Inception of Bruno Zevi’s Theoretical Corpus
By the late nineteenth century, Bernard Berenson, the American art historian specializing in the Renaissance, tried to renew the analytical methodologies employed in the field of art history by proposing the use of new concepts on pictorial analysis, such as spatial composition and life enhancement. In the twentieth century, his pupil, the English writer, scholar, and poet, Geoffrey Scott applied these new methodological issues related to Renaissance painting to its sister discipline: architecture. Though he was a recognized critic inside English aesthetic circles, he has been largely ignored in Continental European academic community. The influence of his centennial book The Architecture of Humanism (1914) has been limited to the Anglo-American world before the 1950s.
This proposal will depict the key role that the Italian architect Bruno Zevi played after World War II by becoming the main architectural historian who introduced and diffused Scott’s forgotten masterpiece in many non-English speaking countries. Zevi defended a critical methodology based on spatial, empirical and sensory analysis of architectural works—an attitude that is observed in his theoretical corpus written immediately after his return from the United States: Verso un’architettura organica (1945), Saper verdere l’architettura (1948) and Storia dell’architettura moderna (1950).
This study proposes an examination of Zevi’s corpus that focuses on his own reception of Einfühlung theories and the debates it instigated. It will contribute to the understanding of the methodological approach followed in the years after World War II on both sides of the Atlantic when the pictorial and architectural analysis converged once again.

Bio: Raúl Martínez, Department of History and Theory of Architecture, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya-BarcelonaTech.
Raúl Martínez is an adjunct lecturer at the Department of History and Theory of Architecture and at the UPC School of Professional & Executive Development for graduate studies, both at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya-BarcelonaTech, and was a visiting Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in 2014, 2015. He earned his Ph.D from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya-BarcelonaTech: ‘Space and Empathy at I Tatti. Conceptual Basis of Architecture Criticism after World War II’. Specializing in the historiography of modern and postmodern architecture, Raul has published articles in La Arquitectura del Movimiento Moderno y la Educación (2015), ZARCH. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Architecture and Urbanism (2014), and Establecer el Orden en el Espacio (2013) and is currently working on publications related to physiological aesthetics applied to architectural and urban analysis methodologies after WWII.

 

12:00 Jasna Galjer, Cultural exchange as Architecture’s expanded field
With focus on the phenomena of constructing memories as concepts of culture, the proposed paper analyses the concepts and typologies of architectural criticism through representational practices of the period 1960-1990.  There has never been a thorough critical perspective of politically charged debates on history of Eastern European intellectual critical engagement or systematic study on theoretical achievements in architecture of late socialism. Nevertheless, as recent studies (Lukasz Stanek) have shown, the dynamics and the exchanges between international intellectual networks expand far beyond the disciplinary boundaries.
By exploring the context of networks, critiques, debates, dialogues and collaborative practices, the proposed paper aims to clarify the position of theoretical issues involved in the project of societal modernisation.
The thematic framework are the case studies on cultural transfer in the field of philosophy, theory, sociology, spatial research, and architectural discourse. Theoretical and methodological point of departure is the analysis of the Praxis circle in disseminating the intense intellectual exchanges and Summer School of Philosophy held in Korčula (1964-1974) with its guest speakers Henri Lefebvre, Herbert Marcuse, Erich Fromm, Lucien Goldmann, Jürgen Habermas, Ernst Bloch, Agnes Heller, Leszek Kolakowski, followed by comprehensive translations and publications of their writings in the periodical press, particularly Praxis journal. This paper investigates the reception of ideas and ideologies, from Lefebvre’s theoretical studies and Habermas’s thesis of modernity as an incomplete, i.e., unfinished project to Fredric Jameson’s arguments in a historical context of cultural modernity simultaneous with these texts, but in different conditions.
Wide range of phenomena are included; from the first attempts to write and rewrite the history of architecture which coincided with architecture in the expanded field of experimental and conceptual practices at the beginning of the 1970s, to postmodernist narratives redefining the questions of identity by using the strategies of performing arts through the 1980s.

Bio: Jasna Galjer, Department of Art History, University of Zagreb
Jasna Galjer holds a PhD in Art History and Comparative Literature from Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, University of Zagreb. From 1987 to 2001 she worked as a curator of the collections of design and architecture in the Museum of Applied Arts. Since 2001 she teaches at the Department of Art History, University of Zagreb, since 2014 as a full professor. In 2006-2007 she has been postdoctoral scholar at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of Ghent, Belgium. She has curated more than 30 exhibitions, among others Art Deco and Art in Croatia between the Two Wars (Museum of Applied Arts, Zagreb, 2011) and published several books, among others Design of the Fifties in Croatia: From Utopia to Reality (2004) and Modern Journals and Cultural History in Croatia 1890-1940 (2012). She has been invited scholar at the Institut national d’histoire de l’art (Paris) in 2015 (research: “French influences and the continuity of modernism in Croatian architecture”).

 

12:30 Adrian Anagnost, Critique and Complicity: The Art Critical Lineage of Projective Architecture
Over the past two decades, U.S. architectural theorists have been consumed by a perceived con-flict between so-called “projective” and “critical” architectures. Projective architecture emerged as a reaction to the dominance of “criticality” within U.S. academic architecture circles since the 1980s, exemplified in the writings of K. Michael Hays and Peter Eisenman; by extension, pro-jective architecture rejected the earlier “critical project” of Manfredo Tafuri and Colin Rowe (Baird 2004; Sabini 2010; Martin 2011; Owen 2016). In contrast to an Adornian notion of ar-chitecture as resisting or offering dialectical critiques of its conditions of possibility, projective architecture “projects forward alternative (not necessarily oppositional) arrangements or scenar-ios” (Somol and Whiting 2002).
As George Baird has analyzed, Somol and Whiting’s articulation of projective architecture hinged upon a reading of U.S. art critic Dave Hickey, a champion of sensuous plenitude in lieu of critique and aesthetic withdrawal (Hickey 1997). However, what has gone unobserved is the fact that Somol and Whiting also cited key debates within earlier twentieth century art criticism: Clement Greenberg’s 1939 “Avant-Garde and Kitsch,” Michael Fried’s 1967 “Art and Objec-thood,” and Yve-Alain Bois’ early-1980s account of landscape and the picturesque in relation to site-specific sculpture by Richard Serra. Moreover, Peter Eisenman, the bête noire of projec-tive architecture, developed many of his ideas around criticality in the 1970s, when he was in close dialogue with art critic Rosalind Krauss (Baird 2004; Epp 2007).
The presentation will show how accounts of criticality in architecture parallel art criticism sur-rounding Minimalism and institutional critique, while projective architecture inhabits a similar conceptual realm as the heterotopias of relational aesthetics (Bourriaud 1998; Bishop 2004) and artistic “complicity” with the market and “mass culture” circa 2000 (Drucker 2006). Finally, contemporary social practice art increasingly resembles architecture: artists draw upon a mix of cultural funding, government support and the art market, creating experiential works that in-volve institutions, people, objects, and the built environment. To address these new art practices – “multifaceted endeavor[s] involved in economic, technological, social and urban practices” – art criticism may of necessity complete the cirle, coming to resemble architecture criticism.

Bio: Adrian Anagnost Newcomb Art Department, Tulane University, New Orleans
Adrian Anagnost is Assistant Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at Tulane University. Her research addresses issues of urban space, architectonic form, and theories of the social in modern and contemporary art. Anagnost has published articles and essays in Woman’s Art Journal, Chicago Art Journal, Hemisphere: Visual Cultures of the Americas, and nonsite, and has an essay forthcoming in Art Journal. Anagnost’s current book project is entitled Real Architectures, Invented Sites: Art, Space, and the Social in Modern Brazil.

13:00 Lunch Break

 

Session 2. Political and Geographical Boundaries
Chair: Giovanni Leoni, Università di Bologna

14:30 Jianfei Zhu, Towards a New Criticism on Architecture of Contemporary China: The Case of He Jingtang (1938-)
Contemporary architectural criticism in China, as it becomes increasingly international, begins to privilege the individual – the creative hero who designs and writes. In the history of architecture of China however, such a creative figure arises only recently and still doesn’t quite reflect the whole picture. Yet the figure is predominant today, in the new criticism that speaks often to the west where the individual has been at the centre for a long time. In other words, this privileging of the individual appears to be a western bias enacted by the Chinese to match a prevalent western practice. But the reality in China, which sees an overwhelming part of the design production being carried out by the collective teams in design firms and characteristically ‘design institutes’, calls for a critique of the new ‘individualistic’ criticism. A restructuring is needed, to pay attention to social mechanism of design production in which the collective and the individual-collective dynamic feature prominently.
Following from this, a sociological framing of criticism of architecture of China is needed. We may refer to Tafuri who has advised us to do so. But such an advice originates from a broader move towards socio-political history of design of which we must be aware.
A new orientation also calls for a geographical awareness. There are now more discussions on architects of Taiwan and Hong Kong in China. To accentuate a geographical sensitivity, we need to examine local difference. Equally, we need to study Korea and Japan and other places, so that a grounded and textured picture of design practice of China and the region may be obtained.
This paper argues for a new criticism that examines a collective mechanism, an institutional framing, and a geo-regional differentiation. It is tested in a study of He Jingtang (1938-), especially his institutional setup and its intellectual lineage in the southern city of Guangzhou.

Bio: Jianfei Zhu University of Melbourne
Jianfei Zhu holds a BArch from Tianjin University and a PhD from the Bartlett (UCL). He has been teaching since 1993 in the UK and Australia. He has delivered some 70 guest lectures worldwide at institutions including GSD/Harvard, MIT, AA, the Berlage, Vienna Architectural Centre, UC Berkeley, NUS, HKU , CAA and Tsinghua. He has worked on spatial politics of imperial Beijing, on critical episodes of modern Chinese architecture, on cases of contemporary Chinese architecture, as well as issues of criticality and post-criticality. Methodologically has worked on the theories/methods concerning space-power relations, spatial politics, visibility, form, design, aspects of Marxist and critical theory, China-west comparison, ethics of statehood etc.

 

15:00 Charlotte Ashby, The Archaeology of Finnish Architectural Criticism
This paper will explore the origins of Finnish-language architectural criticism in the late-nineteenth century and traces the range of territories that fed into this tradition. Architectural criticism emerged within the pages of the Finnish Industry Gazette, the paper of the Finnish Engineers Union, in the 1890s, primarily from the pen of the architect Vilho Penttilä. Penttilä took over editorship of the whole paper in 1895, increasing the focus on architecture within its pages and going on in 1901 to launch a special supplement dedicated to architecture.
These origins are reflected in one strand of the content, that is the focus on technological innovations in the building field. However, Penttilä’s education at the Helsinki Technical University had been a classical one and he strove to introduce to his Finnish-speaking readers the principles of aesthetics (sometimes anachronistic by the 1890s) he had learned. The period of the 1890s and 1900s was one of rapid development and the contents of STL reflect a palimpsest of different written traditions and modes, from the German architectural theorists of early nineteenth century to the influence of contemporary art and design criticism in the European periodical press an a curiosity about different cultures.
Penttilä’s person preoccupation with the issue of a ‘Finnish style’ also brings in a further strand that reveals an interesting overlap with mid-nineteenth century Finnish linguists and ethnographic writing. Parallels were drawn between the ‘mother-tongue’ of the Finnish peoples, traced eastward through the Karelian isthmus and into Russia, and the ‘language of style’ traced along a similar route through the material culture of the same peoples.
The cultural hegemony of Swedish-speakers meant that Finnish-language criticism was an ideological issue for a group who strove to serve and demonstrate the intellectual vitality of Finnish-speaking people.

BioCharlotte Ashby is a lecturer in Art and Design History at Birkbeck, University College London, and Oxford University. She was awarded her PhD in 2007 by the University of St Andrews, with a thesis exploring national identity and modernity in Finnish architecture. She specialises in the art, architecture and design of Northern and Central Europe at the fin-de-siècle. Her book, Modernism in Scandinavia, is out now with Bloomsbury Academic.

 

15:30 Christina Pech, Criticism on Display. The Swedish Museum of Architecture and the Production of History in the mid-1970s

This proposal presents a case study of an exhibition produced by the Swedish Museum of Architecture in 1976. Taking this as a departure, it will discuss the museum and the exhibition as a site for architectural criticism, along with criticism as a method of history writing. The study is part of an ongoing research project on the historiography of Swedish Modern Architecture.
When the exhibition The Breakthrough and Crisis of Functionalism: Swedish Housing 1930-1980 opened at the Neue Sammlung in Munich in 1976 it was not what the West German institution had had in mind when commissioning the Swedish Museum of Architecture to introduce the celebrated Stockholm Exhibition of 1930. Instead of presenting a tribute to early Swedish modernism the museum delivered a highly efficient visualization of architectural criticism, borrowing techniques both from the campaigning of the daily press as well as the narrative structure of literary fiction. Scrutinizing the cause-and-effects of the implementation of modern architecture in Sweden, the exhibition ultimately arrived at a very negative reading of modern housing. At the same time, the Breakthrough and Crisis was the first comprehensive history (without ever identifying its content as such) produced on Swedish twentieth century housing, accompanied by a substantial catalogue based on original research.
This specific exhibition endeavor highlights the complexity of the institution’s self-proclaimed and sometimes contradictory tasks: to promote contemporary Swedish architecture to a professional international audience and to examine the built environment of the welfare state. This ‘dilemma’ also calls into question the disciplinary belonging of architecture in the museum, in-between architecture as fine art and architecture as a societal enterprise, a division that could potentially also be related to the role of criticism performed by the museum.
In summary, this proposal aims to reflect on the role of the architectural museum and its activities as central to the discursive understanding of architecture, a location and a situation where there is no distinction between the dissemination of criticism and the production of history.

Bio: Christina Pech Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm
Christina Pech is a lecturer in architectural history and theory at the School of Architecture, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm. She gained her PhD in architectural history from KTH with the thesis Architecture and Resistance. Alternative Approaches in Swedish Architecture 1970-1980, published in 2011. She is currently pursuing research at ArkDes (formerly the Swedish Museum of Architecture) on the historiography of Swedish modern architecture. A related article, The Museum and the Magazine. Notes on the Historiography of Swedish Architecture, is to be published during spring 2017.

16:00 Discussion and Pause

17:00 Key-note Lecture: Marco Biraghi, Department of Architecture and Urban Studies, Politecnico di Milano, What does it mean architecture?

Bio: Marco Biraghi was born in Milan, Italy, in 1959. He graduated in architecture at the Politecnico di Milano in 1986. He is full professor at the Faculty of Architecture of the Politecnico di Milano, where he teaches history of contemporary architecture. Among his recent books: Storia dell’architettura contemporanea 1750-2008 (Einaudi 2008), Project of Crisis. Manfredo Tafuri and Contemporary Architecture (MIT Press 2013), Storia dell’architettura italiana 1985-2015 (with Silvia Micheli, Einaudi 2013). He also edited the Italian edition of Delirious New York by Rem Koolhaas (Electa 2001) and Architettura del Novecento I-III (with Alberto Ferlenga, Einaudi 2012-13). He lectured at Columbia University and Cooper Union in New York, Harvard University in Cambridge, University of Houston, Faculty of Fine Arts in Toronto, Berlage Institute in Rotterdam, HafenCity University Hamburg, Queensland University, Brisbane, FAU, São Paulo. In 2004 he co-founded GIZMO, research group dealing with history and criticism of contemporary architectural culture (www.gizmoweb.org). With GIZMO he edited a Milan Architectural Guide 1945-2015 (Hoepli 2015).

 

 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017: Académie d’Architecture, Paris

09:30 Manuelle Gautrand (Présidente de l’Académie d’Architecture, tbc): Welcome Address

Session 3. Judging Architecture: Professional, Popular or Academic Criticism?
Chair: Réjean Legault, Université du Québec à Montréal

09:45 Christina Contandriopoulos, Against the wall: the birth of architectural criticism in early 19th Century Paris
The barrieres of Paris built by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux between 1784 and 1789 triggered strong, immediate and unprecedented amounts of criticism. The 55 monumental tollgates and the enclosing wall that connected them and enclosed Paris were built rapidly during the final years of the Ancien régime and rallied unanimous outrage from journalists, politicians, citizens and architects. My paper will highlight how this unique project catalyzed the emergence of architectural criticism as a specific discourse.
The reception of Ledoux’s infamous project in the press has already been studied (Peysson, 1980; Vidler, 1984) yet its specific contribution to the birth of architectural criticism has not yet been the focus of attention. My paper will include a broad survey of the press coverage surrounding Ledoux’s project highlighting the wide range of formats in which architectural criticism took shape from 1785 to 1835. These formats range from early anonymous pamphlets and Mémoires, to articles in the popular and specialized press, before culminating in more structured pieces by Jacques-Antoine Dulaure and Quatremère de Quincy. My comprehensive survey will describe both the structure and the evolution of different typologies of criticism that appeared during this period. I will also draw attention to the ways in which early forms of architectural criticism borrowed from other forms of writing, especially from popular theater with its use of catchy epigrams. Such was the case with Dulaure’s “Le mur murant Paris rend Paris murmurant” a memorable phrase that helped rally public opinion against Ledoux’s wall. Another significant goal of my paper will be to underline how this new critical discourse introduced different criteria for judging architecture such as public health, hygiene, economic factors as well as complex ideas on symbolic forms and monumentality.  This paper is part of a larger project on the emergence of architectural criticism in the popular press focusing on the role of Athanase Détournelle, Léon Dufourny and Jacques-Antoine Dulaure.

Bio: Christina Contandriopoulos Department of Art History, Université du Québec à Montréal
Christina Contandriopoulos is Professor of Architectural History in the Department of Art History at the Université du Québec à Montreal (UQAM). She received her post professional Masters and a Ph.D. from McGill University. Her research and publications focus on architectural publications in the early nineteenth century. She is co-editor of the book Companion to 19-Century Architecture (with Martin Bressani, Blackwell Publishing, 2017) and the anthology Architectural Theory 1871–2005 (with Harry Mallgrave, Blackwell-Wiley, 2008) and guest editor of a special issue of the Journal of Architectural Education on Utopia in contemporary architecture (Taylor and Francis, March 2013).

 

10:15 Michela Rosso, Architectural Criticism and Cultural Satire in the 1980s: shared territories and languages
Throughout the last century, no other decade like the 1980s seems to have marked a comparable contribution in raising the visibility of architecture as a matter of general concern: no longer confined to the realm of the profession, architecture began to be regularly featured in the general press. Not coincidentally it is around that period that modernism became the object of some of the most vigorous attacks launched by commentators well outside the professional circles. Tom Wolfe’s famous pamphlet From Bauhaus to Our House or Prince Charles’ controversial architectural speeches, are telling episodes of a diffused perception of the distance separating the general public of architecture and the often self-referential world of the profession.
The aim of this paper is to examine significant examples of architectural criticism voiced by the general press during the 1980s in Britain and the USA. Particular attention will be devoted to the modes of interaction and contamination of this type of criticism with the genre of political and cultural satirical writings.
The following issues will be at stake: which rhetorics, patterns of interpretation, and schemes of narration did this type of criticism borrow from the realm of cultural and political journalism? How did the use of specific modes of description and registers of expression, such as irony, exaggeration, distortion and caricature, affect the architectural judgment? In which ways and through which languages were specific aspects of the buildings and/or the architectural profession addressed and criticized? What were the issues tackled by critics and other kinds of writers by means of satire? What were the recurring targets of this type of criticism? And finally: Did this shared set of tools and languages question the idea of architectural criticism as an autonomous or disciplinary discourse?

Bio: Michela Rosso Department of Architecture and Design, Politecnico di Torino
Michela Rosso is Associate Professor at the Politecnico di Torino – Italy, where she received a Bachelor in Architecture, and since 2001 has taught courses of History and Theory of Architecture, History and Theory of Design, History of Architectural Criticism, History of Architectural and Urban Historiography, History of Urbanism and Urban Culture, History of the Architecture of Turin to undergraduate and postgraduate students of the Degree, Master and PhD Programs. In 1998 she completed a doctorate in History of Architecture and Urbanism on the biography of the architectural historian John N. Summerson. She then extended her field of research to the English architectural scene of the 1920s -1950s and to the impact and reception of the work of the art and architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner within the English architectural and art-historical circles. On this subject she published La storia utile (Torino: Einaudi 2001) in which she has dealt with architectural history in England in relation to modernist avant-gardes, and the politics of architectural heritage.

10:45 Break

11:00 Kristen Gagnon, Popular Architecture Criticism: A definition, a delineation and a débâcle
This paper will work to help define and delineate the boundaries of ‘popular architecture criticism’, through an etymological analysis and exploration of the dividing lines between public and academic criticism in architecture. Stemming from the discussion that took place at the recent symposium POP CAN CRIT: Current Conditions in Popular Architecture Criticism, held in Ottawa, Canada, in October 2016, the dividing lines and divided audiences of popular and academic architecture criticism will be analyzed and situated within the seminal contexts set out by Peter Collins in Architectural Judgement (1971) and Wayne Attoe in Architecture and Critical Imagination (1978). For as Ronan McDonald notes in The Death of the Critic: “So the public critic has been dismembered by two opposing forces: the tendency of academic criticism to become increasingly inward-looking and non-evaluative, and the moment for journalistic and popular criticism to become a much more democratic, dispersive affair, no longer left in the hands of the experts.” (McDonald, ix). In this way, three overlapping territories will begin to emerge: that of the academic critic, the professional critic, and the lay or public critic. It is the hope of the research that this will lead to a better understanding of the contemporary and vital role of the popular (professional-public) critic, as well as work to reassert their authority within their specific territory.

Bio: Kristen Gagnon Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism, Carleton University, Ottawa
Kristen Gagnon is a PhD student in architecture at the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism, at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. Her research focuses on the current state of popular architecture criticism, with an emphasis on the Canadian context, and led to the organization of the national symposium POP CAN CRIT: Current Conditions in Popular Architecture Criticism, held in Ottawa in October 2016. In addition to her research, Kristen has taught various courses and studios at the School of Architecture, and is the architecture editor for Spacing Magazine, as well as a member of the Doors Open Ottawa Advisory Council. She has presented her research in the U.S., Greece, Northern Ireland, and Turkey.

 

11:30 Detlef Jessen-Klingenberg, Architectural criticism as cultural criticism (“Kulturkritik”) and professional criticism (“Fachkritik”). A case study on the example of Werner Hegemann
Architectural criticism as cultural criticism (“Kulturkritik”) and professional criticism (“Fachkritik”). A case study on the example of Werner Hegemann
Architectural criticism at the beginning of the 20th century can be considered as a facet of the more comprehensive term of cultural critique (“Kulturkritik”) which accompanied modernity from its very beginnings – especially in Germany and Austria. From this point of view architectural criticism unveils its own characteristics that differ clearly from architectural theory: it oscillates with multiple cultural references between tradition and modernity and often rejects explicitly any theoretical foundations.
In order to understand architectural criticism as cultural criticism it is necessary to take a closer look at recent historical and literary studies. In those disciplines it is essential « to understand concepts, functions, and forms of critiques historically, and to refer to concrete situations. » This means necessarily that one has to leave any attempt of a normative definition of criticism behind in order to examine instead significant case studies in detail.
The most brilliant and most feared critic of architecture in the German-speaking Countries”, as the architect J.J.P. Oud put it, was Werner Hegemann (1881-1936). With numerous scandals his writing about architecture had been successful in so far as it seemed to breach against all the rules of a serious criticism. Furthermore, in his time, critique in literature, film or theatre proclaimed the role of the critic as an active and „pragmatic professional critic”. According to this concept, the professional critic considered himself as a practical consultant who directed his critique primarily to the author or producer rather than towards the recipient. Actively becoming involved, the critic wanted to contribute to the emergence of a new social program and aesthetic vocabulary. This attitude, hardly conceivably today, has been broadly accepted by architects of Hegemann’s time. One architect even changed the design of his own house after having been criticized by Hegemann – something unheard of in recent architectural history!
Finally: « criticism » and « crisis » are related, not only etymologically. During most of the 20th century, criticism of literature and art seemed, like architectural criticism, to be determined by the same underlying concept of decay. From this point of view crisis is an inherent part of the criticism as an accompanying phenomenon of modernity.

Bio:Detlef Jessen-Klingenberg independent Scholar, Germany 
Detlef Jessen-Klingenberg holds a Diplom in Architecture at Technische Universität Braunschweig (1999). From 1999 to 2008 he has been a research and teaching fellow at Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture and Urbanism (gtas) Technische Universität Braunschweig. From 2009 to 2014 he was lecturer at Hochschule Bremen, School of Architecture. Since 2015 he works as architectural historian in the public-relation-office at „gmp Architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners“, His research and teaching focus on history and theory of architecture and urbanism of 19th and 20th century.

12:00 Discussion

12:45 Lunch Break

 

Session 4. Professionalism: the Critic as a Specialist
Chair: Anne Hultzsch, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, and Oslo School of Architecture and Design

14:15 Laurens Bulckaen and Rika Devos, Louis Cloquet (1849-1920): architectural writings of a critical engineer
Civil engineer Louis Cloquet was a key figure in architecture culture in Belgium at the turn of the twentieth century. Trained as ingénieur civil des ponts et chaussées, he became an important author in architecture journals and an active and appreciated architect, involved with diverse institutions, disciplines and practices. In Ghent, he was affiliated with all three schools of architecture, inspired by divergent ideologies: the catholic Sint-Lucas school (based on an arts & crafts training), the Academy of Fine Arts (following the beaux arts tradition) and the Ghent University, where the Ecole polytechnique organised the training in ingénieur civil architecte. As a professor of architecture at Ghent University, he published his teachings in the five volumes of his Traité de l’Architecture (1898-1901), an annotated, encyclopaedic work of theory that illustrates the scientific rigueur Cloquet sought to introduce, calling for a new kind of architect: ‘artiste et ingénieur’.
The paper will highlight the “critical position” of the engineer Cloquet in his writings on architecture, based on a selective reading of his Traité and his articles in the contemporary specialist press. The paper will question the impact of the specificity of the engineer’s view on architecture, built on his advanced knowledge of new building technologies and experience in the processes of “scientification” of engineering and its teachings. Can Cloquet’s ideas on architecture, as defended in his writings and illustrated in his buildings, be understood as an inherent, but pervading criticism on the contemporary state of building in Belgium, taking a stance in ongoing debates on the position of architects, the basis of knowledge in building, engineering versus art, the importance of traditional architecture, etc.?
This paper will present preliminary research results on the history of architecture criticism in Belgium (20th century), the topic of the master thesis of the first author.

Bio: Laurens Bulckaen and Rika Devos, BATir Department, École polytechnique de Bruxelles
Laurens Bulckaen is a MA2 student in architectural engineering in the Bruface programme, which is a joint degree organized by Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). Under the supervision of prof. R. Devos, he is preparing his MA thesis, “Criticism as cultural practice. A history of Belgian critics and criticism in architecture,” to be defended in 2017. The topic originates from a personal interest, built on a long-standing fascination for the challenge of “writing (in) architecture” as encountered in architecture history and theory. Rika Devos is an engineer architect and holds a PhD in engineering sciences: architecture (Ghent University, 2008). Her doctoral dissertation focused on the representation of post-war modern architecture at the 1958 Brussels world’s fair, dealing with notions of (worldwide) dissemination of modernist ideals in architecture culture. Engaged full time at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in 2012, Rika Devos is associate professor at the BATir Department of the Ecole polytechnique de Bruxelle s, where she is responsible for the research unit AIA (Architecture and Ingénierie Architecturale). Rika Devos’ research develops around two topics: exhibition architecture and the history of modern architecture and construction, focussing on shifting formats of collaboration (mainly, but not solely, between engineers, architects and building contractors), design tools (and their paperwork) and notions of (international) knowledge exchange. See: http://batir.ulb.ac.be/index.php/research/aia-architectural-engineering

 

14:45 Irene Lund, The multiple origins of modernist architecture criticism in the Belgian avant-garde magazine 7Arts (1922-1927)
Between the 1920s and the end of the 1930s, several figures of architecture criticism developed in the context of the modernist avant-garde magazines.
In Belgium, the magazine 7 Arts (1922-1927) can be considered as a laboratory in which several architecture critics developed their practice, and later became prominent critical figures for several decades.
They were not architects themselves and practiced several different disciplines or critical genres.
They seem to have responded Jasinsky’s call when he condemned (in the fourth issue of Magazine 7 Arts, November 1923) “the complete absence in Belgium of an architecture criticism”.
This paper focuses on three key figures : Pierre Bourgeois (1898-1976), a poet and literature critic, Maurice Casteels (1890-1962) a design critic ; and Pierre-Louis Flouquet (1900-1967), a painter and art critic. It aims at showing how each one elaborated his type of architecture criticism from his own practice of other genres of criticism.
This paper is part of a PhD on Flouquet’s contribution to the debate on architecture and design in Belgium and his role as a mediator in the diffusion of modernist ideals.

Bio: Irene Lund Faculty of Architecture, Université Libre de Bruxelles – Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Irene Amanti Lund (1974) graduated as an architect from ISACF-La Cambre in Brussels (Belgium) in 1999 and has a postgraduate master’s degree in architecture from the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) in 2002. Since 2002 she has been a researcher and assistant lecturer at ISACF-La Cambre, now the Faculty of Architecture of Université Libre de Bruxelles. She teaches in the design studio of “innovative housing”, in the course of architecture archives, and coordinates the collection of architecture archives of the university. In addition, she is working on a PhD on Pierre-Louis Flouquet’s writings on architecture and design (joint PhD between Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Université libre de Bruxelles).

 

15:15 Patrizia Bonifazio, “Zodiac” (1957-1973). Art and technique to define architecture in front of the mass production
In 1957 the publication of the journal «Zodiac» started. The journal was headed in a first moment by Bruno Alfieri (from 1957 to 1963), then by Pier Carlo Santini, who will be the director up to 1967, and lastly by Maria Botero (who will edit the last issues from 1968 to 1973).
The journal does not look like setting trends, nor is building an acknowledgeable intellectual group over time. It is open to a multi-level reading, proposing an interesting and original network of relationship and several scenario in the narration of contemporary architecture, alternating biographies, building analyses and a plot of columns personally directed by Alfieri, Santini and Giulia Veronesi on the coeval architectural production.
Even if the journal had some crisis shaping in time its periodicity and was elitist, the proposed themes and languages underline its experimental features in the Italian cultural framework.
This paper proposes the analysis of «Zodiac», with a particular attention for:

  1. The role of Bruno Alfieri and Pier Carlo Santini in the direction of the journal. The first plays the role of the art connesseur and was an interesting vehicle of different cultural world (from the foundation of the Italian Association of the Industrial Design (1955) to the organization of magazines as «Lotus» and «Interni»). The second, pupil of the art historian Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti, was the editor of «SeleArte» (1951-1957) an interesting popular art tabloid. Aware of the quantitative transition concerning the architectural production and of the beginning of the professional diversification of the second half of the 1960s, Santini organised the Bolaffi Catalogue (1963-1966), an impressive critical collection mapping architects and magazines and opening a new cultural field for a new generation of professionals no more limited by the academic and cultural borders of Milan and Rome.
  1. The role of the art critics in the definition of the language and of the meaning given to the techniques (in building, composition, …) in writing articles.

Bio: Patrizia Bonifazio Department of Architecture and Urban Studies, Politecnico di Milano
Patrizia Bonifazio teaches urban and planning history at Politecnico di Milano. Her area of expertise is the late 20th century architecture and urban history, with particular attention to the exchange between project cultures. She collaborated in important national research projects [“Middle class architecture in Italy between 1950s and 1970s: a comparative study about three Italian cities, Turin, Milan and Rome” (Politecnico di Milano, Politecnico di Torino, Università degli Studi Roma La Sapienza; 2011-2013) and “The structural conception. Engineering and architecture in Italy between1950s and 1960s” (Politecnico di Milano, Politecnico di Torino, Università degli Studi Roma La Sapienza, IUAV; 2011-2012)]. She was co-curator of international seminars promoted by Politecnico di Milano (among the latest, “Mapping the neighborhood. The multiple ways of an urban vision in the 20th century”, Politecnico di Milano, June 2015 and “European Design Culture Abroad. Exporting Architecture, Engineering and Planning after WWII”, Politecnico di Milano, January 2016). She was the scientific curator of the National Committee for the Centenary of the foundation of Olivetti (2007-2011) and the scientific director and editor of the nomination dossier of “Ivrea, industrial city of the XX century” to UNESCO site submitted in Paris (2012-2016). Actually, she is working on a manuscript concerning the exchange between the Italian industrial culture and the architectural culture in 1950s-1970s. The research about «Zodiac» is part of this work.

 

15:45 Lorenzo Ciccarelli, Giovanni Klaus Koenig (1924-1989): Architectural Criticism between Semiology, Industrial Design and Rail Trains
Today almost forgotten Giovanni Klaus Koenig (1924-1989) was one of the most influential architectural critics of the post-war Italy. Full professor of History of contemporary architecture in Florence between 1967 and 1989, and director of the magazines “Casabella” and “Parametro”, Koenig always shifted from different disciplines with the declared intention of blurring architectural criticism between Semiology, History of industrial design, History of material culture, History of the technics.
Next to fundamental books on architectural criticism – as L’invecchiamento dell’architettura moderna (1963) and Architettura dell’espressionismo (1967) – Koenig was one of the pioneers in transferring the themes and the methods of semiology in architecture. At the middle of the sixties he called the young Umberto Eco (1932-2016) to teach Semiology at the Faculty of Architecture in Florence. The collaboration between Eco and Koenig fostered the publication of the seminal essay Architettura e comunicazione (1970).
In years in which politics and ideology dominated the architectural debate Giovanni Klaus Koenig encouraged a technical and ‘material’ vision of architecture. As a founder of the Istituto Superiore delle Industrie Artistiche (ISIA) in Florence in 1975 – one of the first Industrial Design Universities in Italy – he wrote several essays on History of industrial design and prompted the application of methods and techniques of industrial design as a tool for renovating the contemporary architecture.
Passionate to the History of transports and the railways Giovanni Klaus Koenig also designed the Jumbo Tram (1976-78) for the Milan Public Transports and other several railways coaches.
Based on unpublished materials kept at the Giovanni Klaus Koenig Archive at the University of Florence my contribution aims to deepen the Koenig’s peculiar vision of architectural criticism, investigating how the other disciplines influenced it and comparing Koenig’s profile to his Italian colleagues like Bruno Zevi or Manfredo Tafuri.

Bio: Lorenzo Ciccarelli Department of Architecture, University of Florence
Lorenzo Ciccarelli (Jesi, 1987) graduated in Building Engineering-Architecture at the Università Politecnica delle Marche in 2011. In January 2016 he obtained the Ph.D. cum laude in Civil Engineering: Architecture and Construction (curriculum in History of Architecture) at the Università di Roma Tor Vergata with a thesis entitled Renzo Piano before Renzo Piano. The formative years 1958-1971. From 2013 he collaborates with the Fondazione Renzo Piano in Genoa with which he contributed to conceive and organize the following exhibitions: Renzo Piano Building Workshop. Pezzo per pezzo (Padua, Palazzo della Ragione, 2014); Renzo Piano Building Workshop. Progetti d’acqua (Genoa, Museo Navale, 2015); La méthode Piano (Paris, Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, 2015–2016). From 2016 he is Postdoctoral researcher at the Università di Roma Tor Vergata. He teaches History of Contemporary Architecture at the University of Florence.

16:30 Roundtable : Valéry Didelon (École nationale supérieure d’architecture Paris-Malaquais), Réjean Legault (UQAM), Stanislaus von Moos (University of Zurich), Paolo Scrivano (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University)

Bio:  Valéry Didelon is an architect, historian and architecture critic. He is professor at the École nationale supérieure d’architecture Paris-Malaquais where he teaches theory and design. He is the editor of Criticat a bi-annual journal he cofounded in 2008. He is the author of several books including La controverse Learning from Las Vegas (2010).

Réjean Legault studied architecture at the Université de Montréal and holds a PhD in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1996 he developed the Canadian Centre for Architecture’s Visiting Scholars Program and directed its Study Centre until 2000. Since then he has been professor at the École de design of the Université du Québec à Montréal, where he teaches the history and theory of modern architecture. His research, lectures and publications focus on the historiography of modern architecture, on the relationship between materials and architectural modernity, and on postwar tectonics. His publications include Anxious Modernisms: Experimentation in Postwar Architectural Culture (co-edited with Sarah Williams Goldhagen, 2000) and numerous journal articles, volume chapters, and exhibition catalog contributions.

Stanislaus von Moos, emeritus Professor of the History of Modern Art at the University of Zurich, is a Swiss art and architectural historian. After first teaching at Harvard, Bern and Lausanne, he was professor of the History of Art at the TU Delft (1980-83) and later held the newly created chair for Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of Zurich until his retirement in 2005. In 1997, he also served as Jean Labatut Visiting Professor at Princeton. More recently he taught at Mendrisio, at the Yale School of Architecture (where he was the Vincent Scully Visiting Professor, 2010-15) and at the EPF-L (2016).
He was a co-founder and the first editor of the Swiss architectural quarterly archithese (1970-1980). The best known among his books are Le Corbusier, une synthèse, 2014 (original edition 1968), Venturi, Rauch & Scott Brown. Projects and buildings (2 vols., 1987; 1999) and Esthétique industrielle (Ars Helvetica, vol xl), 1992. He also was the editor of L’Esprit nouveau: Le Corbusier et l’industrie 1920-1925, 1987, Le Corbusier before Le Corbusier; 2002 (together with Arthur Rüegg), and Louis Kahn. The Power of Architecture; 2012 (together with Mateo Kries and Jochen Eisenbrand). His current research involves architecture and politics in Europe at mid-century, and more generally the interactions of the visual arts and architecture in the 20th century.

Paolo Scrivano is Associate Professor of History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University. He holds a PhD degree in architectural history from the Politecnico di Torino and has taught at the Politecnico di Milano, the University of Toronto, and Boston University. His publications and activities include Tra Guerra e Pace. Società, Cultura e Architettura nel Secondo Dopoguerra (1998, as co-editor), Storia di un’idea di architettura moderna. Henry-Russell Hitchcock e l’International Style (2001), Olivetti Builds: Modern Architecture in Ivrea (2001, as a co-author), the exhibition “Building the Human City: Adriano Olivetti and Town-Planning” (2002), and the organization of the international conference “The Americanization of Postwar Architecture” (2005). More recently, he has co-edited monographic issues of the journals Architecture and Ideas (“Experimental Modernism”, 2009) and Visual Resources: An International Journal of Documentation (“Intersection of Photography and Architecture”, 2011), and has authored the volume Building Transatlantic Italy: Architectural Dialogues with Postwar America (2013). He is currently completing a new book manuscript titled ‘Modern Architecture as a Transnational Discourse: Itineraries, Exchanges and Narratives between the 19th and 20th Century’.


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