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Spring 2016 Lecture Series

Lectures are free and open to the public. For some lectures, members of the MIT community with IDs will be admitted 30 minutes prior to the lecture and the general public will be admitted as space permits.

Except as noted, lectures are at 6:00 pm in Room 7-429, located at 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA.  An interactive map may be found on-line at: http://whereis.mit.edu/map-jpg

Videos of our recent lectures are available on our YouTube channel.   Videos are uploaded within the week following each lecture.

Apr 29, 2016 - 12:00pm

This symposium focuses on the role of creativity in engineering, featuring three international leaders who work on design and technology in the built environment. 

Laurent Ney of Ney and Partners
Mike Schlaich of schlaich bergermann partner
Sheila Kennedy of KVA MATx

Apr 29, 2016 - 12:00pm

Karthik Rao Cavale
The Road to Dalit Mobility: Rural Roads and Caste Relations in India
Tamil Nadu, India

Dina El-Zanfaly
Making to Learn and Learning to Make

Alpen Sheth (Via Skype)
Disaster Insurance as planning? Field Visit to Disaster-prone Areas.

Feb 4, 2016 - 6:00pm
7-429: Long Lounge

Today we find ourselves surrounded by screens – on our iPhones, our tablets, our desktop computers. Little do we know that we are living out the multimedia dreams of several dozen Cold War social scientists, a handful of Bauhaus artists, and the musician John Cage. This talk will track those dreams and the politics that drove them from World War II to the psychedelic sixties. It will lay bare the long-buried cultural roots of today’s multimedia revolution and in the process, provide a rich historical context for thinking about the design of highly interactive digital environments.

Feb 9, 2016 - 6:00pm

Despite being collaboratively designed by eight of the most famous modern architects of the mid-20th Century, the UNESCO House complex in Paris became known as a “cliché” as soon as it was built in 1958. This lecture revisits the intrigue of its design—the protracted site negotiations, the sketch-by-sketch refinement of its Y-shaped plan, the struggle to define UNESCO’s core mission, and even the connection with contemporaneous heritage projects.

Feb 18, 2016 - 6:00pm

From 1983 to the present, Sancho-Madridejos has developed a number of lines of work and research related to the architectural space. One of these lines centers on the theme of “the fold” and its use in the architectonic field with the means inherent to the architectonic discipline.

The aim of this lecture will be to explain the development of their research regarding “folding”, its evolution over the years and its interaction with other themes as a means of addressing complex projects and different ways of approaching the world of “the fold”.

Feb 22, 2016 - 12:30pm

Building energy modeling—physics-based simulation of building energy consumption—is a multi-purpose tool for building energy efficiency, supporting design, code-compliance, and even commissioning and operations. DOE has been an active participant and contributor to the BEM field since the 1970s—before it became a cabinet-level agency!—most notably with its work on the engines CAL-ERDA, DOE-1, DOE-2, and EnergyPlus.

Feb 22, 2016 - 6:00pm

The seventeenth century Mughal gardens of Indian-administered Vale of Kashmir are an exceptional testimony of the creative and innovative ingenuity demonstrated by the Mughals in taking maximum advantage of the natural settings for garden-making. It is said that several hundreds of Mughal gardens were created in Kashmir but since the decline of the Mughal Empire most of these sites suffered neglect, with only a handful of well-known sites now developed as popular visitor destinations.

Feb 25, 2016 - 6:00pm

Part of the Spring 2016 Architecture Lecture Series.


image by Hedrich Blessing

Feb 29, 2016 - 12:30pm

At The Edge in Amsterdam a new type of working community is emerging. The ambition for the project was two-fold:  to consolidate the main tenant Deloitte’s employees, previously spread around multiple buildings throughout the city, within a single environment shared with other users; and to create a ‘smart building’, intended as a catalyst for the company’s transition into the digital age. What is the role of architecture when the workplace is permeated by layers of technology that fundamentally alter the way that we interact with our environment?

Feb 29, 2016 - 6:00pm

Drafting exhibitions: empathy and artistic relations. An old way that might be the best way of doing things – beyond the notion of professionalism.

Mar 3, 2016 - 6:00pm

The exploration of the relationships between interior and exterior center the work produced by Cadaval and Solà-Morales. The construction of a spatial threshold is key in their work, at all scales.

Their practice is developed mainly within two continents, two different construction cultures: Mexico and Spain;  Cadaval  & Solà-Morales is a young architectural practice that reveals its spatial research through an array of tectonics and construction techniques.

Mar 8, 2016 - 1:00pm
7-429, Long Lounge

When considering the relationship between science and art, in a sense they are both concerned with finding out what already exists. Science in a literal sense and Art in a less tangible sense, rather like holding a mirror up to ourselves. But in the area of technology, alongside art, creativity is king and innovation comes out of all our applied inventiveness.

For Architecture, straddling both domains, it is clear that the creative process applies as much to technology as it does to developing an aesthetic idea.

Mar 8, 2016 - 6:30pm

New York-based architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien will present three projects and discuss the concept of experience as the core understanding of a building.

Mar 11, 2016 - 1:00am

The Gulf region has undergone several waves of rapid urbanization, and associated patterns of urbanism. Processes of urbanization in the Gulf may be more advanced than the urban lifeways, livelihoods, and design that should guide them. This symposium, presented by the Aga Khan Program & the Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT, seeks to redirect the relationship between urbanization and urbanism in the Gulf region through a combination of critical reflection and a creative student-faculty driven agenda.

Mar 11, 2016 - 5:00pm

Today, growing concerns with climate change, energy scarcity, and economic collapse have turned the focus of urban planners, investors, and governments towards the term “infrastructure” as a site of value production and potential salvation from a seemingly ever more apocalyptic world. From discussions about “disaster capitalism” to the embrace of a world after humans, the idea that the world is over, and the environmental, economic, or security catastrophe has arrived is almost unquestioned.

Mar 14, 2016 - 6:00pm

This talk will focus on two oasis settlements (Birkat Al-Mawz and Al-Hamra) developed through collaboration between the Ya'aribah imamate and newly formed tribal confederations (Bani Riyam and 'Abriyeen) and introduced a new set of intermediate settlements between the isolated mountain villages and the large oasis towns of the plains. Both settlements are the product of new water harnessing systems (aflaj - qanat in Persia), which the Ya'aribah help develop. The settlement leadership experience different fortune as they enter the twentieth century.

Mar 17, 2016 - 6:00pm

The lecture, after a short introduction to the cultural context in which SPBR develops its practice, takes three works, at three different scales — a New Museum of Modern Art to Sao Paulo, an apartment building in Lugano, Switzerland and a weekend house in downtown Sao Paolo — to illustrate some ideas turned into pieces of architecture.

The lecture will take place in Lecture Hall 10-250, accessible from 77 Massachusetts Avenue. A map is available here: http://whereis.mit.edu/?go=10


Mar 28, 2016 - 6:00pm

Arguing that current matters in natural history are messier than some of the most compelling scientific and artistic representations seem to suggest, Springer will discuss her current research and previous exhibitions and publications which have engaged a complex spectrum of species and spaces to create possible affective and conceptual affinities beyond representation.

Apr 4, 2016 - 6:00pm

In 1958, 1962 and 1968, C.A. Doxiadis, G. Candilis (with A. Josic and S. Woods) and M. Ecochard drafted three urban schemes for Khartoum (Sudan), Fort-Lamy (Chad) and Dakar (Senegal), experimenting new positions in Modern urban planning and trying to go beyond the CIAM discourses on urbanism. These plans share similar historical circumstances and geographical conditions, as Dakar, Fort-Lamy and Khartoum lie across the southern Saharan frontier, along the northern boundary of the tropical zone.

Apr 7, 2016 - 6:00pm
E14: 6th Floor

Graduate Open House and part of the Spring 2016 Architecture Lecture Series.

Apr 11, 2016 - 6:00pm

Jane will talk about how she sees collaboration between the architect, client and all the members of the design team as the key to developing designs that not only perform well and meet the brief, but also bring delight to those who experience them.  She will talk about projects that she has worked on, and the process by which the ideas were developed.

Apr 14, 2016 - 6:00pm

This lecture has been cancelled

Apr 20, 2016 - 6:00pm

The Caribbean offers a useful vantage point onto current controversies about the materiality of culture and the geography of movement. Where the rhetoric of globalisation has taken hold in the public funding and exhibiting of contemporary art, artists have come to experience a mixed picture of the opportunities posed by global flows of money, artworks and the ideas about them. This presentation will examine multiple sites in this changing political geography, drawing out some patterns of connection between Suriname, the Netherlands, Barbados and the wider Atlantic.

Apr 21, 2016 - 6:00pm

How might architecture respond to issues of ecology and sustainability whereby buildings behave more like organisms in their built environments? This talk will present ongoing trans-disciplinary research and design spanning across the fields of cell biology, materials science, physics, fiber science, fashion, electrical and systems engineering, and architecture. Sabin’s collaborative research, teaching and design practice focus on the contextual, material and formal intersections between architecture, science and technology.

Apr 22, 2016 - 5:00pm

The work interrogates everyday technologies that form and inform the multiplicity of worlds we live in today – from social networking, anomalies, control, mediation and political identities. The work positions itself where the poetic crosses between science fiction(s) and built realities through a range of mediums/fields.

Apr 25, 2016 - 6:00pm

Diserens’s presentation addresses the notion of exhibition as medium. She will begin by examining exhibitions and artist retrospectives that she organized, such as Dieter Roth, Lygia Clark, Marcel Broodthaers, and the inherent resistance embodied in their oeuvres. She will also discuss issues surrounding translation, transmission, and reception in the frame of exhibition and publication as well as the Hamilton/Duchamp relationship. She will also reflect on the medium of exhibition in relation to the 2016 Taipei Biennial.

May 2, 2016 - 6:00pm

Counterintuitive to the idea of critical practice, how can a work of art be “holistic” and at the same time problem-oriented, conflict-aware, self-critical, and engaged in cultural and social struggles? Using the concept of mediation as its point of departure, this lecture develops a critical perspective on curatorial practice and its limits.