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Fall 2015 Lecture Series: Architecture and Its Orbits
Holistically, the series ‘Architecture and Its Orbits' asks whether architecture does in fact have a single, locatable center of gravity or whether it is a discipline that is precisely defined through an accumulation of peripheral affiliations.

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.

An interactive map may be found on-line at: http://whereis.mit.edu/map-jpg

Nov 16, 2015 - 11:00am
E15-001: Wiesner Bldg, Lower Level, 20 Ames Street, Cambridge, MA

Considering the Art, Culture and Technology graduate program? Join us for our Open House on Monday, November 16th, followed by a reception and lecture! This is your chance to meet our faculty and students, familiarize yourself with our program, tour the ACT facilities, and learn how to prepare your application and portfolio.

Nov 16, 2015 - 7:00pm

Methodology is not only the means of a system for describing realities; it is a political tool that takes part in the process of knowledge production. From the perspective of an integrated relational practice in the field of urban, pedagogy and contemporary art, Pelin Tan conveys how collective experience of the translocal production of knowledge and of instant alliances leads to the creation of common spaces. How can transversal methodology function within it?

Nov 18, 2015 - 6:30pm

The Edward and Mary Allen Lecture in Structural Design
Established in 2012, the annual Edward and Mary Allen Lecture aims to bring the world's leading structural designers to MIT to speak about engineering within the realm of architecture, design, and creativity and to interact closely with students in their design work. The program includes a public lecture in the Architecture Lecture Series as well as a workshop reviewing graduate student structural design projects.

Nov 19, 2015 - 6:00pm

There is an absurd discrepancy in the Urban vs. Rural condition of the real estate market: today it is more expensive to live an urban life than to live in the suburbs or in provinces with low urbanity and large amounts of free space. Yet living in those suburbs imposes a huge burden on the environment by exponentially increasing our commuting needs. And if we accept the over-urbanization of nature, it will be quickly lost.

The paradox is that our cities are both the problem and the answer.

Through various projects, Julien will present responses to those issues. 

Nov 20, 2015 - 5:00pm

Can we use technology to help us be more human? To smile more, to touch and to listen to each other? What if a computer could make decisions about our social relationships better than we could ourselves? Would our interactions be improved by algorithmically determining what to do and say? What happens if we crowdsource our dating lives and actually find love? A series of attempts to understand through hacking, art, and self-experimentation.

Dec 3, 2015 - 1:00pm

Ahmad Tehrani Symposium, 2015

Oct 23, 2015 - 1:15pm

If you missed a lecture or want to revisit it, videos will be posted to lecture pages below as they become available.

Sep 21, 2015 - 12:30pm

Technology startups are well known for disrupting and re-imagining the way we shop, share photos, and hail cabs, but what about the built environment?  This panel features four speakers, all MIT alumni, from recent startup ventures that address key issues in building technology in new ways, from an innovative wearable device that adjusts thermal comfort to a community-driven web platform for urban planning discourse.  Moderated by Professor Les Norford, the discussion with include insights from the panelists on both the details of their technological innovations and their experiences in fou

Sep 24, 2015 - 6:00pm

This lecture will address the Open Land communes which emerged in Northern California during the late 1960s, focusing in particular on the escalating “code wars” that their attempts to abandon private property rights, normative forms of life, and other trappings of modernity and capitalism elicited from the State. What, it will ask, might have motivated this portion of the American back-to-the-land movement to open their land to anyone who wished to settle?

Sep 28, 2015 - 6:00pm

Through a presentation of recent projects designed by Hashim Sarkis Studios, the lecture focuses on recurring preoccupations and design strategies, upholding the architectural object in the face of change.

Oct 5, 2015 - 7:00pm

History and geography, storyboard and grid- Jafri's talk will focus on the interstitial spaces between these poles opened up by three of her recent works. Jafri will discuss her ongoing photo research project "Independence Day 1934-1975." The project is fueled by Jafri's interest in questions of heritage and the archive, and the role of photography in the formation of historical and national narratives during the process of decolonization in Asia and Africa.

Oct 6, 2015 - 6:00pm

The Conversation between Timothy Hyde and George Baird will focus on the collection of essays across the span of Baird’s academic career, that are included in his new publication. Regarding two of those essays,  Christophe van Gerrewey of the journal OASE  recently observed that “’la dimension amoureuse” and “Criticality and Its Discontents” are two articles that summarize a decade and a timeless problematic at the same time.

Oct 8, 2015 - 6:00pm

In his lecture Can this be That, Michael Maltzan, FAIA of Michael Maltzan Architecture will present a series of buildings, landscapes, and infrastructures that express his interest in contemporary form, but also his interest in the form of contemporary practice and its potential for elasticity, especially as it relates to pressing questions around urbanism.  He will discuss ways architecture can embrace a broader range of capacities and abilities that allow it to be impactful, at the level of a building but also at the level of the discipline. 

Oct 9, 2015 - 5:00pm

This talk aims to map out an important but little known branch of cybernetics as it developed in Britain from the 1940s to the present. Examples are drawn from the work of leading cyberneticians including Ross Ashby, Stafford Beer, Gordon Pask, Gregory Bateson and R D Laing in fields as diverse as brain science, psychiatry and antipsychiatry, adaptive robotics, biological computing drawing upon lively material such as ecosystems, management, the arts, entertainment and architecture, including connections to eastern spirituality and the 1960s counterculture.

Oct 15, 2015 - 6:00pm

In their lecture, Anna and Andrew will present the built work of First Office, ranging from gut rehabs to gallery interventions to full-scale mockups. They will discuss the projects through the methods for constructing physical models and their documentation. The talk will pause on several details of interiors, including walls, doors, tables, and beds.

Oct 19, 2015 - 6:00pm

Since the 1580s, elaborate urban architecture and landscape scenes appeared in the background of Mughal paintings. Such representations consisted of India’s flora and fauna, genre scenes of local men and women working the land, and the depiction of cities. These miniature urban vignettes became so common that they are visible in numerous illustrations produced at the Mughal workshops under Emperor Akbar (r.1556-1605).

Oct 19, 2015 - 7:00pm

Rosa Barba's lecture will be moderated by Bjorn Sparrman (ACT), with response from Haseeb Ahmed (MIT ACT '10 / Zurich University of the Arts / University of Antwerp) and Henriette Huldisch (MIT LIST). Barba's talk on October 19 is co-organized by Henriette Huldisch, Curator, MIT List Visual Arts Center. Huldisch curated Rosa Barba: The Color Out of Space which opens October 22, 2015. ACT's Monday night lecture series is conceived by Gediminas Urbonas, ACT director, and coordinated by Amanda Moore, ACT alumna '11, in conversation with ACT graduate students.

Oct 26, 2015 - 12:30pm

Structural optimization has been attracting increasing interest in the civil engineering industry, especially in the design of high-rise and long span structures. By selectively distributing the material in a building or a bridge, the resulting design is structurally efficient and often aesthetically pleasant. The design is usually optimized to achieve the maximum stiffness, which is typically measured by the compliance of the structural (gravity or lateral) system or by the maximum displacement of the structure itself.

Oct 26, 2015 - 7:00pm

Taking two case studies as references-- Ubuntu Park, a community-organized public space in Soweto, South Africa, and sustainable extraction reserves and Indian territories in Acre, Brazil, Potrc argues that the appropriation of space by local communities, whether this is an urban public space or a territory in the rainforest, is fundamental for the construction of a new citizenship.

Oct 28, 2015 - 6:00pm

Eva Díaz is currently at work on a book called The Fuller Effect: The Critique of Total Design in Postwar Art, which explores the legacy of R. Buckminster Fuller in contemporary art practices. In this lecture Díaz will share some of her research on changing ideas about nomadic habitation, capsule architecture, space colonization, and space tourism.

Oct 29, 2015 - 6:00pm

As architects we work with material to construct our work. How we make things depends largely on the materials we produce for our constructions. If we openly looked again at the source of the material and its production we could see the gestures we recognise in them as the start of a renewed approach. These gestures could redefine ways of making and constructing: what are the gestures that give shape to the environments we inhabit? What is the correlation between material and craft? What places of production do we see now, in the past and in the future?

Nov 6, 2015 - 5:00pm

While people have long employed technology to record and reflect upon their bodily and emotional states, the present historical moment is witnessing a dramatic expansion in the practice and scope of self-tracking as we are offered an ever-expanding array of computational devices and software with which to measure, assess, and modulate our daily actions, habits, and rhythms.

Nov 9, 2015 - 6:00pm

Between the mid-19th century and the mid-20th century, embattled Islamic art in Syria has undergone a distinct shift abscribed to three main reasons: The change of political regimes, the European economic expansion in the region, and the emergence of the notion of making-heritage process - patrimonialisation. Muslims, non-Muslims, rulers, designers and administrators, were all interested in the renewed secular Islamic art and its agrandizing commemorative expressions. However, the dissimilarity of each groups sociopolitical ideologie contributed to disparate outcomes.

Nov 9, 2015 - 7:00pm

Beauty and the Right to the Ugly was the title of an exhibition in 1981 by the Brazilian-Italian architect Lina Bo Bardi, which took a stand against bourgeois taste and values presented at her seminal building SESC Pompéia in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The exhibition was organized in collaboration with employees of a national organization for social work and medical assistance.

Nov 10, 2015 - 6:30pm

Our Architecture is very much determined by the location and circumstances under which it is developed.  We have to consider the cultural, climatic, geographical, political, topographical and situational aspects of each project and develop the architecture individually.  In the past this was called Genius Loci - the spirit of the location.  Only when Architecture can’t provide solutions for all these conditions, do we need technological support.

Nov 12, 2015 - 6:00pm

”We believe it is now timely to reopen the issue of matter and once again to give material factors their due in shaping society and circumscribing human prospects.”

        - Diana Coole and Samantha Frost, ‘Introducing the New Materialisms’

The official trajectory of this talk, in which architect Sheila Kennedy presents recent projects of KVA Matx, will be hijacked by the introduction of a stealth agenda that reflects on the predicament(s) of contemporary material culture in the practice of architecture.