+ PHILOSOPHY 2007 PROGRAM
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6:00pm THURSDAY, 22 FEBRUARY
BMW EDGE, FEDERATION SQUARE
RMIT Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory
When Frank Lloyd
Wright coined the term organic architecture was he thinking
about revealing life-forces within his architecture, or is his sense
of the organic limited to being one ‘of’ the architecture;
organic architecture simply an architecture that sits well with
architect Antoni Gaudí is usually among those grouped as
the organic architects. Architectural commentator David Pearson
provides eight themes to define organic architecture - ‘building
as nature,’ ‘continuous present’, ‘form
follows flow’, ‘of the people’, ‘of the
hill’, ‘of the material’, ‘youthful and
unexpected’ and ‘living music’. These are the
core ingredients for his Gaia Charter for Organic Architecture
and Design. In several ways Gaudí's inclusion seems
too easy, especially as a characteristic that helps define Gaudí's
work is the way he breathes life into otherwise inert stone in ways
others have never attempted. He achieved this through going beyond
representation and insinuating meaning into his work. He defeated
the material realities of cold hard masonry and rendered it fluid
by implication rather than through sculptured reference to nature
alone. His liquid stone engages the thinker long after the mere
admirer has moved on to fresh targets for their approbation.
MARK BURRY is director of RMIT’s state-of-the-art
Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory, which has been established
as a holistic interdisciplinary research environment dedicated to
almost all aspects of contemporary design activity. The laboratory
focuses on collocated design research and undergraduate and postgraduate
teaching with associated advanced computer applications and the
rapid prototyping of ideas. The laboratory has a design-practice
emphasis and acts as a creative think-tank accessible to both local
and international practices, including ARUP in Melbourne and London,
dECOi in Paris and Gehry Partners in Los Angeles.
of Innovation (Spatial Information Architecture) at RMIT University,
Design Institute, RMIT University
Architect and Researcher to the Temple Sagrada Família,
Professor, Liverpool University, UK.
Research Fellow, Victoria University Wellington, New Zealand.
Professor, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, University
of Newcastle, Australia.
Examiner, University of East London, UK, 2006 – ongoing.
- Member of
the Advisory Board of Gehry Technologies, Los Angeles, USA.
- Member of
Australian Research Council College of Experts.
- Chair of
the Australasian CRC for Interaction Design Research Leaders Group.
- Member of
CHASS (Council for the Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences)
RQF Working Party 2007.
- CHASS representative
on the 2007 DEST Creative Arts, Design and Built Environment Panel.
- Member of
Editorial Board of Architectural Design (premier international
architecture and design journal)
has published internationally on two main themes: the life and work
of the architect Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona, and putting theory
into practice with regard to ‘challenging’ architecture;
he has also published widely on broader issues of design, construction
and the use of computers in design theory and practice. As Consultant
Architect to the Temple Sagrada Família since 1979, Mark
Burry has been a key member within the small team, untangling the
mysteries of Gaudí’s compositional strategies for the
Sagrada Família, especially those coming from his later years,
the implications of which are only now becoming fully apparent as
they are resolved for building purposes. On February 18 2004, in
recognition of his contribution to this project, Professor Burry
was given the prestigious award … ‘Diploma I la insignia
a l’acadèmic corresponent’ and the title Senyor
Il. Lustre by la Reial Acadèmia Catalana de Belles Arts
de Sant Jordi. In May 2006 Mark was awarded an Australian Research
Council Federation Fellowship and he was recently the recipient
of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA)
Award for Innovative Research.
ARCANE OF ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION
Thursday, 29 March
7:30pm in RMIT 8.11.68
If there is
an arcane of architectural education, it concerns why architecture
is not taught anymore in university courses: "I read a few
good books, I worked for a few good architects, that's about it."
No doubt it is possible to protect something by making it invisible.
Some might find their way back, but this would be rare. It means
reading obscure and unreadable texts, posthumously written, as one
writer would have it. But of course the city keeps being built,
and the students still come in droves. We gather them around and
create a kind of enclave, made up of intimate conversations. The
students are sometimes bewildered, confronted, scandalized –
but out of love, not malice. Nietzsche said something about wanting
his pupils to disown him; we hope they might remember us, one day,
a long time from now; how we taunted and provoked and goaded them
on to another kind of overcoming, to make their own way down toilsome
KIM HALIK tutors in the Architecture and Design faculty of RMIT.
He is currently working on an index of Hegel's Philosophy of
THE AUTHORITY OF THE ARCHITECT: CONCERNING DISCOURSE AND METHOD
Mathew van Kooy
6:00pm Thursday, April 12 at the BMW Edge, Federation Square
DOWNLOAD TRANSCRIPT PDF
recognise that any attempt to create a new sense of social cohesion
has to start from the recognition that individualism, diversity
and scepticism are written into Western culture. In such an environment,
the traditional qualitative architectural values of light, space
and order seem
without adequate substance to establish a basis for the rationale
and intent of the architect. The potentiality of the situation is
that the traditional idea of architecture, defined by its ubiquity
and permanence, is threatened with extinction.
architects are subscribing to theories and methods that are traditionally
outside the discipline of architecture to authorise or legitimise
their architectural designs. Contemporary critics contend that when
architects do this they are not permitting, in fact denying, the
ability and autonomy of their own ‘knowledge’ and ‘knowing’
to authorise their architectural designs effectively. These current
architectural theories perpetuate a discourse that has lost its
footing in the conditions of any ‘real world’ to the
extent that any ideas based in architectural discourse rely on the
activation of other factors for their survival. This increasing
reliance on knowledge that is extrinsic to the discipline is pejorative
as it dissipates the specificity of the architects epistemology.
Implying outwardly that the fundamental processes of architectural
‘knowledge’ and ‘knowing’ lack sufficient
magnitude to apply their own standards of authority both internally
and more importantly today, externally.
This poses a
serious difficulty for the authority of the architect's knowledge
and knowing as an individual and discipline as a whole. Through
unpicking current architectural theories and their associated epistemologies
one might perhaps elucidate: What if anything is the authority of
MATHEW VAN KOOY
is a graduate of the University of Queensland (2005) upon graduation
Mathew received many accolades including the Innovarchi Thesis Prize,
the Karl and Gertrude Langer Memorial Prize - Design, the Board
of Architects Prize (BOAQ) and the QIA Memorial Medallion (RAIA).
Mathew is currently part of a Melbourne based practice working both
internationally and locally on architectural projects, specifically
complex façade systems.
FROM THE CIRCULAR BOUELVARD TO THE MERRY-GO-ROUND-A-BOUT: THE LAMENTATION
(TATIVILLE) AND RESOLVE OF THE DESTRUCTION AND LOSS OF PARIS IN
JACQUES TATI'S PLAY TIME
7:30pm Thursday, May 10 in RMIT 8.11.68
days I feel sad because I have the impression that people are
having less and less fun. They obviously dress better, they clearly
wash more, they certainly have more hot water, they surely imbibe
cooler drinks; and now their windows are larger, which means that
they can get additional sun, but, in the past they lived on the
street more and got all the sun they wanted there."
I begin with
a discussion of Haussmann’s boulevards, where Tati grew up
– and the transformation of which he criticises in his films.
I then discuss Le Corbusier’s Voisin Plan in relation to Tati’s
criticism of these ideas, what effects they had, and what Tati’s
solutions are to the problems they created.
From here I discuss how Tati’s films show a change in the
way of using and experiencing the street; this also involves, for
Tati, notions of “sterile homogenisation” and “over”
rationalisation. All the “dirt” and disease of the 19th
century city (which killed people by the thousands) has been cleaned
up – removed from Tativille – but perhaps Tati is saying
that it has been taken too far, and that “all the life”
has been taken out of the city.
In PLAYTIME all of Paris, as we know it, has been removed, and (as
Le Corbusier suggested) only a few monuments remain. These are only
caught in reflection – and as far as we know, in PLAYTIME,
it is only the tourists who visit them.
Nothing of what Tati knows (and loves) of Paris remains. And yet
Tati, in the face of something which for him is devastating, closes
his film not in a position of despair, but of quite the opposite.
At the end of PLAYTIME, we find ourselves in a round-a-bout: a place
where one stays for a while, yet moves on. This round-a-bout is
also a merry-go-round. As the film ends it fades almost to black:
our travellers head off into the unknown. As we clearly see, these
travellers (albeit a bit square) do know how to have fun –
they know, just as Tati and Hulot know, about the importance of
is a graduate of the University of Melbourne (Bachelor of Architecture)
and La Trobe University (Bachelor of Arts – Cinema Studies).
Louise is currently studying for the Master of Arts in cinema studies
at La Trobe.
PANDEMONIUM IN THE OFFICE: Comparisons of uncertainty and change
with the industrial and information technology revolutions
JAMES CALDER, Global Director of Workplace, Woods Bagot
14 June from 6:00pm for drinks presented by Woods Bagot
and the presentation from 6:30pm, BMW Edge, Federation
Director of Workplace at the architecture, consulting and research
firm Woods Bagot will present the thesis that we need a better understanding
of the fundamental changes in societal and information technology,
to be able to understand better the now and the future.
of observations by contemporary observers of the industrial age
and the technological age will be presented and examined, with ideas
as to what all this may mean in terms of the workplace and our working
released WorkLife book, which James has edited, will be discussed
and case studies of emerging trends will be presented.
6:00pm Thursday, 19 July at the BMW Edge, Federation Square
2006 PROGRAM –
While we continue
to enjoy the valuable support of RMIT Architecture for the series,
Architecture+Philosophy is pleased to announce a new partnership
with Federation Square for the 2007 series. As many sessions as
possible will be held in the BMW Edge theatre, opening up the program
to the wider public, who we hoped will venture up to RMIT to enjoy
more presentations and discussions.
9: ADAM PARKER
Arche-techne: On the architectural
and philosophical scaffolding of new technology concepts for robotic
Thursday, 6:30pm at RMIT 8.11.68
PDF presentation available
A common feature
of modern robotic devices is that they are designed within the categorical
framework of the robot understood as a biomimetic system. This can
be as overt an influence as the anthropomorphic nature of an android,
or as subtle as the worker replacement of a Cartesian manipulator
arm. Biomimetic influences on robotic design can be seen to manifest
in robot morphology, where animal locomotion and perception studies
play a considerable role in suggesting engineering research directions
and solutions, as well as in control systems, which commonly use
models derived from various methods of modeling organic cognition.
Biomimesis also shapes the very categorical structures we use to
describe robots as robots, and outlines their social purpose.
A major outcome
for robotic user interfaces of this trend to biomimesis is that
the problem is often couched in terms of communication with a synthetic
organism. A lot of progress has already been made along this communicative
path, as was also made in human-computer interaction. Yet, thanks
to tangible interaction and other fields of interaction research,
we know that computers are not simply communication devices and
can be conceived otherwise - so, following this analogically, how
might a robot be alternatively conceptualized? And what might we
gain from so doing?
this problem, my research has been necessarily grounded in a pragmatic
analysis of robotic engineering. At the same time, it has operated
in an analytic-critical fashion between the twin poles of architectural
practice (in a broad sense) and philosophy. In particular, I have
been influenced by Bergson, Heidegger, Whitehead, von Glasersfeld
and de Landa (amongst others), and those visionary aspects of architectural
practice (such as the Crystal Chain, Futurism, Bruce Goff, the various
movements of the sixties and seventies and so forth) in which technological
structures were brought into question. This has led me to conceptual
design solutions for robotics that explore and exploit the categorical
nature of how we approach the artifacts we design.
robotic technologies under investigation, such as massively parallel
microrobotic lattices, hold the promise of a reconceptualization
of the robotic as a material process, and thereby suggest the potential
for interaction systems based on systems embodying this approach
- systems in which the properties of such robotic materials might
be malleable, shiftable, even seemingly unnatural. Such robotic
materials would be inherently haptic, tangible and spatially transformative,
raising a range of opportunities and issues for interaction designers,
foregrounding recent key theoretical areas of concern such as embodiment
will firstly outline the current state of play in engineering massively
parallel microrobotics, then explore how my definition of a new
conceptual space for technological pr the engagement of the different
yet intertwined disciplines of philosophy and architecture. This
will serve as a point of departure for a broader discussion of the
nature of technology stewardship - what I term the arche-techne,
or the defining-principles-leading-bringing-into-being of the technical-conceptual.
PARKER escaped from Law and Philosophy at Monash University
with an Arts degree in 1994, to the relative tedium of the commercial
world of interaction design. Here he spent seven years designing
user interaction for clients such as Telstra, CUB, L J Hooker and
Lend Lease. After a brief spell as a hospital porter, where he learnt
more about life and death than in the previous thirty, he returned
refocused to interaction design as an academic in 2002, where he
lectures in the Communication Design and Industrial Design programmes
at RMIT University. His love/hate dissatisfaction with haptics,
augmented reality and interaction design in general led him to consider
robotic interaction systems, which he found to be in an even worse
state of incompletion. His exposure to architectural academics and
students reinvigorated his understanding of the links between philosophy
and design of complex systems. His PhD, being undertaken at SIAL
RMIT, aims to bring some conceptual, disruptive yet technically
grounded design thinking to the promising area of robotic interaction
16: FELICITY SCOTT
Ant Farm: Groovin' On Time
Thursday, 6:30pm at RMIT 8.11.68
will focus on Ant Farm’s early psychedelic work, particularly
the “enviro-images” and the Truckstop Network project,
in order to unpack the group’s understanding of emergent power
structures and to trace the manner in which their radical environmental
alternatives evolved into an architecture conceived of as closed
life-support modules interfacing with open-ended media systems.
The psychedelic experience of a spatial expansion of “consciousness”
and sense of an interconnected “planetary culture” was
widespread among the late-sixties counterculture (including Ant
Farm) and it involved a reflection upon new technological potentials
that, while apparently euphoric, was haunted by a politics of survival.
In addition to this spatial sensation was an equally symptomatic
sense of temporal transformation. The psychedelic experience of
the “trip” involved an “expanded time phenomenon,”
a sense of one’s ability to “dwell exponentially”
in time, or to experience not the sequential passing of time but
accelerating rates of change. Ant Farm was founded in 1968 on a
platform of educational reform that picked up on such psychedelic
tropes, a platform intending to bring architecture into an alignment
with radically transformed space-time relations and in so doing
to offer a “turned-on” counterpart to normative models
of the discipline.
FELICITY D SCOTT
is Assistant Professor of Architecture at the Graduate School of
Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University, and
a founding co-editor of Grey Room, a quarterly journal of architecture,
art, media, and politics published by MIT Press since 2000. Her
work as an architectural historian and theorist focuses on articulating
genealogies of political and theoretical engagement with questions
of technological transformation within modern and contemporary architecture,
as well as within the discourses and institutions that have shaped
and defined the discipline. Her book Architecture or Techno-Utopia:
Politics After Modernism, is forthcoming on MIT Press in November,
and another book Allegorical Time Warp: The Media Fallout of
July 21, 1969, will be published by ACTAR in association with
Ant Farm Timeline as Living Archive 7: Ant Farm.
MOBILITY, COSMOPOLITANISM AND PUBLIC SPACE IN THE MEDIA CITY
Thursday, September 13
6:00pm at the BMW Edge, Federation Square
ALL WELCOME - NO NEED TO RSVP
when the TV screen leaves home and moves out into the street? Public
space in the 21st century is increasingly shaped by interactions
between media platforms and architectural structures. The result
is the formation of media-architecture complexes which are fast
coalescing into 'media cities'. The social implications of the new
public spaces created at the intersection of media networks and
material structures are ambivalent. In a context where fear of strangers
is frequently promoted as a strategy of political control, new media
forms such as large public screens can play a critical role in promoting
collective interactions in public space. However, realizing the
ideal of cosmopolitan public culture demands strategic displacement
of the flexible forms of power deployed in the public spaces of
is an academic and writer with a strong interest in interdisciplinary
research linking social theory, new media, art, and urbanism. He
is currently a chief investigator on the ARC funded research project
'Large Screens and the transformation of public space', and is one
of the convenors of the major conference Urban Screens Melbourne:
Mobile Publics to be held at Federation Square in October 2008.
Scott is the author of Crossing the Digital Threshold (1997),
Visions of Modernity (1998), and Maximum Vision
(1999), co-author with Peter Lyssiotis of the limited edition artists'
book The Look of Love (1998), and co-editor with Nikos
Papastergiadis of Empires, Ruins + Networks: The Transcultural
Agenda in Art (2005). Scott teaches in the Media and Communications
Program at the University of Melbourne and his new book The
Media City will be published by Sage as part of the Theory,
Culture and Society series in February 2008.
FROM SKYLINE TO STREETLIFE: (RE)DESIGNING SINGAPORE INTO A CREATIVE
11 from 6:30pm
in RMIT 8.11.68
era of intense global competition, creative industries have assumed
an increased importance to firms and cities for capitalist success.
In order to achieve economic success and international competitiveness,
Singapore has also jumped on the creative industries bandwagon.
Singapore’s recent endeavours to develop a vibrant creative
economy have led to a strategic mobilisation of design as a means
to (re)shape and market the local urban landscape, a key apparatus
to stimulate and govern entrepreneurship, and a vehicle for exhibiting
This paper will
use Singapore as a case study to trace and interrogate the imprints
of the global ‘travel’ of the creative industries on
the local. This paper will look at some of the local policies, designers
and products to critically consider the extent, nature and implications
of the development of design as a key creative industry in Singapore.
In particular, this paper will highlight and problematise the strategic
use of “design-as-customisation” to create spaces and
commodities that will have global mass appeal. Rather than dismissing
this strategy as frivolous and banal, this paper will suggest that
it offers valuable insights into the role of design in urban cultural
economies in the Asia-Pacific region.
is a doctoral candidate in The School of Culture and Communication
at The University of Melbourne. Her research is on design and urban
cultural economies in the Asia-Pacific region, namely Singapore,
Taipei and Melbourne.
GRID EFFECTS IN ARCHITECTURE
Teresa Stoppani, Greenwich University, London
25 from 6:30pm in RMIT 8.11.68
of the use of the Grid in the redefinition of pictorial space in
the early 20th century marks the separation of the visual arts from
narrative and discursive structures, and establishes a purely relational
order that proclaims the autonomy and self-referentiality of space
in art. This use of the Grid in art, beyond the figurative and the
descriptive, proposes it not as a form or as a device for representation,
but as an agent of the making of space. An analysis of this shift
in the reading of the Grid (R. Krauss) offers possible insights
for a reconsideration of the use of the Grid in the definition of
architectural, urban and territorial systems.
concentrates on the complications of the operations of the Grid
– the ‘Grid Effect’ –- when it is employed
as an organising system in architecture and the urban space. Unlike
the modern pictorial grid, the ‘grid effect’ does not
produce a separation from the world, but, inseparable from its implementation,
it produces a dynamic and evolving space rather than a bi- or three-
dimensional form. The ‘grid effect’ is explored in a
series of cases that range from the empirically structured tool
of territorial domination of the Roman limitatio, to the grid of
the Modern tabula rasa which never found implementation without
rupture; from the geometrically relentless but socially liberating
grids of the architectural utopias of the 1960s, to the 1970s grids
used to intersect architecture’s self-referential language
with forms and narratives of the city and the territory; from the
grid torn open but enclosed in isolated fragments in the ladders
(A. Pope) of the contemporary city, to the warped surface-space
of the soft grid of Zaha Hadid’s recent large-scale projects.
(DrArch IUAV Venice, DrRic Univ. Florence) has taught architectural
design and theory at the IUAV (1995-1999) and at the Architectural
Association in London (2000-02). She is Senior Lecturer in Architecture
at the University of Greenwich since 2001, where she directs the
MA in Architecture programme and co-ordinates the Architecture Histories
and Theories programme. Her recent publications include: ‘Mapping.
The Locus of the Project’ (Angelaki, 9:2, 2004), ‘Dusty
Stories of Woman. Notes for a Re-definition of Dust’ (The
Issues, 1:1, 2005), ‘The Reversible City: Exhibition(ism),
Chorality and Tenderness in Manhattan and Venice’ (in C. Lindner
ed., Urban Space and Cityscapes, 2006). Works in progress: book
Manhattan and Venice: Paradigm Islands of Anti-Modern Space, design
research Europe Studio Constructing Europe by the Public; research
WEAVING WITH WALTER BENJAMIN: AURA, HAPTIC, OPTIC, TACTILE
Thursday, 8 November
6:00pm at the BMW Edge, Federation Square
is currently undertaking a PhD at the School of Architecture and
Design, RMIT University, which explores the relationship between
architecture and textile design through the medium of photography.
With a background in architecture and fine art imaging, her most
recent project, ‘Urban Fabric’ was exhibited at West
Space gallery in March 2007.
NATURE'S LOVER: FIGURING A LANDSCAPE DESIGNER
A/Prof Katja Grillner, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm
Thursday, 6 December
6:00pm in RMIT 8.11.68
idea of landscape design as a distinct artistic practice emerges
in Europe in the 18th century. The landscape designer is characterised
at the time as a sensitive ‘lover’ of nature. A figure
that, for the purposes of enhancing the beauty of the grounds –-
his ‘mistress’ –- performs a series of actions,
taking place over time in a dynamic process of interpretation. These
may be described as interchanging reading and writing the site.
In contrast to the architect, the landscape designer does not invent,
but rewrites. This lecture presents the significant tropes that
secured the historical features of this designer figure and further
shows its firm inscription in a gendered power game that casts a
troubling shadow over the softly spoken, sensitive gardener. Do
traces of these features still remain in today’s landscape
discourse, and in its perceived relation to architecture? And what
are in that case the implications for contemporary design practice?
(M.Arch, PhD) is an architect and critic based in Stockholm, Sweden.
Associate Professor at the Department of Architecture, Royal Institute
of Technology, Stockholm, she is the director of research and PhD-studies,
and the director of AKAD. She is a member of the board of the Swedish
Architecture Museum. Her research on architecture and landscape
combines theoretical, historical and literary strategies of investigation.
Among her book publications are her PhD-dissertation Ramble, linger
and gaze – philosophical dialogues in the landscape garden
(Stockholm: KTH 2000), as main-editor 01-AKAD – Experimental
Research in Architecture and Design (Stockholm: AxlBooks, 2005),
and, as co-editor, Architecture and Authorship (London: Black
2014 / 2013 / 2012 / 2011/ 2010 / 2009 / 2008 / 2007 / 2006 / 2005 / CURATORS
YEARS' PROGRAMS 2014 / 2013 / 2012 / 2011/ 2010 / 2009 / 2008 / 2007 / 2006 / 2005 / CURATORS
+ Philosophy series provides a unique opportunity for a space of
exchange between the two disciplines. While what we provide is a
local space – Melbourne practitioners on Melbourne issues
– Architecture + Philosophy welcomes speakers from any discipline
to engage with questions of contemporary urbanism, planning, technology,
space, system, design, distribution and other issues in the productive
overlap between the two disciplines. We curate a diverse range of
presentations, from research students and established academics
to architecture and planning practitioners, policy makers, public
artists and those working in the world between theory, buildings
and the city.
The program is curated by Esther
Anatolitis and Hélène
Frichot and presented by RMIT
Architecture and Design and Federation Square.