Lectures + Events

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Fall 2018

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

Sep 7, 2018 - 6:00pm
McDermott Court, near Green Building

Join us at 6 PM at McDermott Court (near the Green Building) to see Janus, a 2,000kg concrete sculpture, come to life. Janus is designed by Assistant Professor Brandon Clifford with CEMEX Global R&D, composers Federico Gardella and Simone Conforti, and performer Terez Lowry.

Sep 24, 2018 - 6:00pm
Room 3-133

Amid increasing international mobilization to protect cultural heritage threatened by war, looting, and climate change, it is essential to step back and ask: why? What justifies considerable financial expenditures and even risk to human lives for the sake of preserving ancient artifacts and structures?

Sep 28, 2018 - 9:00am
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

Limits | Frontiers will explore alternate, divergent, or expanded modes of practice that leverage design and architecture in new contexts and economies. From working community interfaces, to new forms of manufacturing, work and fabrication, to design constructors, to working with emerging sources of capital and resources, architects are positioning themselves as being proactive entrepreneurs to rethinking the role of the architect.

Sep 28, 2018 - 6:00pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

Part of the Fall 2018 Experiments in Pedagogy / Fear and Wonder: The Shape of the Future

Oct 5, 2018 - 5:00pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge
Oct 11, 2018 - 2:00pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

Fall 2018 / Experiments in Pedagogy
Architecture Design Core 1 Studio
(Brandon Clifford, Jennifer Leung, and Hans Tursack)  with Joshua Longo
September 13–October 11, 2018

Oct 12, 2018 - 6:00pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

Part of the Fall 2018 Experiments in Pedagogy: Agit Arch Experiments, organized by Ana Miljacki

Oct 15, 2018 - 6:00pm
Room 3-133

Lecture cancelled -- to be rescheduled in Spring 2019.

Oct 16, 2018 - 6:00pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

The discoveries of Columbus focused attention on the newly discovered but barely known regions on the far side of the earth, a new zone of convergence where East and West met and crossed over into one another. It was now possible to think beyond the "inhabited world" known since Antiquity and to consider the earth in global terms, which is to say as a geometric object viewable from more than one side.

Oct 19, 2018 - 9:00am
Room 7-429

The progression of 21st-century civil rights movements from Occupy (Wall Street) to #BlackLivesMatter to #TimesUp#MeToo#MeTooWhatNext, to #Dreamers have all sought to draw attention to forms of discrimination whether economi

Oct 22, 2018 - 6:00pm
Room 3-133

Reconstruction of the built environment is often tied to the end of war and the start of a post-conflict period but this link maybe misplaced. Reconstruction can also result in violence, displacement and social discord that is more commonly associated with the built environment’s destruction. To comprehend how reconstruction can be violent and tied to conflict, it is integral to recognize that war is not only about the destruction of the built environment. Construction and the control of mobility, in particular within urban areas, can be utilized to impose violence on others.

Oct 22, 2018 - 6:00pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

Screening and conversation with Director Fabrizio Terranova

Organized by Rania Ghosn as part of 'Earth on Display: The Anthropocene Museum of Natural History', Experiments in Pedagogy


Oct 23, 2018 - 6:00pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

We live in a rapidly urbanizing world which is undergoing extensive change that is impacting on every part of our lives. Our cities are characterized globally by a growing population that is older, more ethnically and socially diverse.  Changes in technology are transforming the way we communicate and relate, as well as the way we manage resources, shop and travel. Changes in technology are also changing the way, where and when we work.  Our ecological systems and climate are changing. 

Resiliency (rəˈzilyəns):

Oct 26, 2018 - 5:00pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

Between 1966 and 1971, in Chicago and Cambridge, architect Howard Fisher laid the foundation of today’s ubiquitous computer-mapping technologies. Elucidating these origins, de Monchaux shows how the increasing use of geospatial data at architectural scales represents not a new form of practice but rather a return to fleeting, if essential, origins.

Oct 29, 2018 - 12:30pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

When architecture becomes robotic, its autonomy means that the design process must extend beyond schematics, design development, and construction, and into the lifespan of the building, becoming a learning process in the context of its environment. Design is therefore not to be understood as an isolated process at the beginning of a sequence that entails fabrication and inhabitation, but rather treated as one continuous process, linking the design process with the process of use.

Nov 1, 2018 - 6:00pm
Lecture Hall 10-250

Nader Tehrani is the Dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at the Cooper Union in New York. He was previously a professor of architecture at MIT, where he served as the Head of the Department from 2010-2014. He is also Principal of NADAAA, a practice dedicated to the advancement of design innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, and an intensive dialogue with the construction industry. 

Nov 2, 2018 - 6:00pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

Apprehension and comprehension of both images and text isn’t what it used to be. How? This illustrated lecture will address how we might have arrived at today's global image/text economy and how we adjust our inputs and outputs to remain responsive on a contemporary media diet.

Nov 5, 2018 - 12:30pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

As ~40% of the U.S. population live in regions requiring intensive space heating, and vast majority of the space heating relies on fossil fuels, the role of renewable heating is critical to our society’s decarbonization efforts. Renewable electricity-driven heating pump systems can potentially serve as a sustainable solution. With a number of state-level incentives and community-based programs, especially the Northeastern U.S., the electrification of the heating sector presents both challenges and opportunities in achieving a sustainable energy system.

Nov 6, 2018 - 6:00pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

Body Extensions and Environment Hacks
Moderators: Gabrielle Heffernan, Marisa Waddle

This duet-lecture showcases critical and experimental attitudes toward designing for disability enabled by artistic practice, often approaching design from the bottom-up through user-generated hacks. 

Nov 7, 2018 - 6:00pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

Disability and/or Preservation
Moderator: Emma Pfeiffer

A building generally reflects the accommodation sensibilities and/or requirements (or lack thereof) of its time. The International Building Code largely allows existing/historic buildings to defer compliance with contemporary accessibility standards, often rendering accessibility at odds with the some approaches to preservation. This tension is the subject of this duet-lecture. 

Nov 8, 2018 - 6:00pm

Our environment is marked by the built form, and our quality of life is dependent on it. A building may have limited life expectancy, but infrastructure is more resilient, it structures the landscape, in fact it becomes the landscape. In a world that is characterized by finality, we must bear in mind that any major intervention in the landscape will leave its mark for hundreds of years to come, and so must be carefully conceived. Architecture, in the broadest sense, and bridge design in particular, are the physical manifestation of a wider culture.

Nov 9, 2018 - 9:00am
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

Who do architects serve? What is the architect’s contribution to the field and to society? When is a building much more than a building, and when is it not enough? Where are the resources to fund meaningful work? Why do we do what we do?

Nov 13, 2018 - 6:00pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

Over the course of the twentieth century in the United States it became increasingly possible to invest in buildings like one might invest in stocks, buying small shares and trading them as easily. The history of finance describes how new financial instruments presented novel ways for individuals, corporations, banks, and pensions to invest in new construction. Following the introduction of the real estate investment trust (REIT) in 1960, the 1970s and 1980s represent a period of experimentation in finance for new construction through REITs, syndicates, and other investment devices.

Nov 13, 2018 - 6:00pm
E15-001/ACT Cube
Nov 15, 2018 - 6:00pm
room 7-429/Long Lounge

Disability Tech
Moderator: Michelle Xie

This duet-lecture brings together expert voices in the nascent field of disability STS alongside designers of state-of-the-art prosthetics for a conversation about the ethics, history, and processes of using/understanding technology as an extension of the body. 

Nov 16, 2018 - 5:00pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

Universal Design and Its Discontents
Moderator: Emma Pfeiffer

This duet-lecture investigates the history of how and under what circumstances principles of “Universal Design” came to be, asking who has come to count as “universal” and considering how politics of universalism have worked to erase difference.

Nov 19, 2018 - 6:00pm
Room 3-133

Refugee studies rarely address historical matters; yet understanding ideas about sanctuary, refuge, and belonging have long roots in both Western and Eastern history.

Nov 29, 2018 - 6:00pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

This screening is organized by Rosalyne Shieh, Marion Mahony Emerging Practitioner Fellow. Hira Nabi will screen extracts from a work-in-progress film; this will be followed by a conversation between Hira Nabi and Rosalyne Shieh.

Dec 3, 2018 - 6:00pm
Room 3-133

Reviving Architectural Heritage and the Collective Memory of Mosul

Dec 4, 2018 - 6:00pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

In late 1862, a curator from London’s Patent Museum named Francis Pettit Smith traveled to Birmingham on a collecting mission. Seeking to acquire a prototype of James Watt’s steam engine from the Soho manufactory established by Matthew Boulton in the mid-1760s, Smith unearthed an unusual set of chemo-mechanical images. With these images, Smith made a daring intervention as much into the imagining of Enlightenment industrial history as to consolidating narratives of photography’s origins.

Dec 7, 2018 - 5:00pm
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

A century ago, American children regularly played at city building in schools and youth serving institutions. Much of this activity took the form of “junior republics” – miniature cities, states, and nations run by kids. With supervising adults in the background, the young officials made laws, took civil service exams, paid taxes, ran restaurants, printed newspapers, and role played other civic activities. This talk, which draws on my forthcoming book States of Childhood, explores the historical and contemporary significance of these participatory simulations.

Dec 10, 2018 - 6:00pm
ACT Cube/E15-001
Dec 18, 2018 - 11:00am
Long Lounge, Room 7-429

Dancing About Architecture: A Performance After Georges Perec’s Species of Spaces
December 18, 2018, 11 AM - Long Lounge – Room 7-429

Space/Dance is part of the Fall 2018 Experiments in Pedagogy organized on occasion of the 150th Anniversary of architecture education at MIT.