Critical Shifts – Columbia University GSAPP


WHOAH it has been awhile, but Futures+ is back!  We have been crazy lately, but we are excited to get back to studio with Critical Shifts a student run symposium dedicated to exploring the ongoing transformations of critical practice in architecture.  It’s happening this Saturday April 5th at Studio-X in NYC.  Futures+ might even make an appearance to check it out, and we highly suggest if you are a student in the area to check it out!  All the details on this event are after the jump.

SCHOOL: GSAPP, Columbia University
EVENT: Interpretations: Critical Shifts
TIME: Saturday, April 5, 2014 1:00pm @ Studio-X NYC


Interpretations: Critical Shifts
April 5, 2014
01:00 PM–06:00 PM
Studio-X New York
180 Varick St, Suite 1610
New York, NY 10014


Critical Shifts is a one-day, student-organized symposium dedicated to exploring the ongoing transformations of critical practice in architecture. The fourth iteration of the annual series Interpretations (initiated by M.S. CCCP students in 2011), this year’s event brings together a diverse group of practitioners in order to investigate how their work—which often combines the activities and approaches of curation, editing, writing, design, teaching, and research—can begin to trace a nuanced map of the field’s current critical terrain.

Understanding this terrain as an active landscape perpetually in formation, the symposium is not concerned with developing totalizing statements about the state of criticism or criticality in architecture. Instead it intends to survey the terrain mapped by its speakers in order to identify, describe, and assess the multiple processes and energies that are actively shaping it. What sorts of critical shifts are happening within the discipline today, and how do they help expand and redefine our understandings of “criticism,” “critique,” and “critical”? What changes in modes of architectural practice do they evidence (fractures, amalgamations, transformations, etc.)? And what do these shifts indicate about architecture’s current relationship with the public, and thereby the scope of its critical concern and reach?

The symposium’s speakers will help us consider these questions across traditional sites of production—the School, the Journal, the Institute, the Studio, the Magazine, and the Museum (fully recognizing that their operations may no longer be so traditional)—as well as contemporary sites such as the Blog and Biennale.


01:00    Welcome / M.S. CCCP 2015

Conversation 1

01:10    Introductory Comments
01:15    Speaker Presentations
1 / Tina Di Carlo
2 / Aaron Levy
3 / Ligia Nobre

02:15    Panel Discussion / Mark Wasiuta (moderator), Adam Bandler (respondent)

02:45    Promiscuous Encounters Publication Launch / edited by Francisco Díaz, Nina Kolowratnik, Marcelo López, and Marina Otero Verzier

03:00    Coffee Break

Conversation 2

03:15    Introductory Comments

03:20    Speaker Presentations

1 / Cynthia Davidson

2 / Matteo Ghidoni

3 / Justin McGuirk

04:20    Panel Discussion / Felicity D. Scott (moderator), Marina Otero Verzier (respondent)

04:50    Coffee Break

05:00    Final Roundtable Discussion / Adam Bandler, Cynthia Davidson, Tina Di Carlo, Matteo Ghidoni, Aaron Levy, Justin McGuirk, Ligia Nobre, Marina Otero Verzier, Felicity Scott, Mark Wasiuta, Mark Wigley (moderator)

06:00    Reception



Adam Bandler is the Exhibitions Coordinator for the Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery at the GSAPP and teaches the Thesis Seminar in the Critical, Conceptual, and Curatorial Practices in Architecture program. He is also coordinator and teaching assistant for the Collecting Architecture Territories project. In addition to his academic work, Adam is a partner of the International House of Architecture, an architecture research office based in New York and Los Angeles. He received his BArch from the Southern California Institute of Architecture and MS CCCP from Columbia University.

Cynthia Davidson is an architecture editor and critic based in New York City. She is the founding editor of Log: Observations on Architecture and the Contemporary City, a tri-annual journal begun in 2003, and editor of the Writing Architecture Series books published by MIT Press. The 20 books and 30 issues of Log produced to date are projects of the Anyone Corporation, a nonprofit, architecture think tank she has directed since 1991. She was the founding editor of the architecture tabloid magazine ANY (1993–2000) and of the “Any” book series, which documented ten cross-cultural and multidisciplinary architecture conferences that she organized in the 1990s on the cultural condition of architecture at the end of the 20th century. Previously she was editor of Inland Architect magazine in Chicago. Ms. Davidson has also written for a number of periodicals, including Architectural Record and Artforum in New York and Arquitectura Viva in Madrid. She was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard’s GSD in 1988–89.

Tina Di Carlo is a PhD Fellow in the Place and Displacement: Exhibiting Architecture project at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. Her research focuses on the 1988 “Deconstructivist Architecture” exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art to reconsider the exhibition as a critical project and apparatus. From 2000–07 she was a curator of architecture and design at MoMA. In 2009 she founded ASAP, an archive project dedicated to collecting art and architecture as part of a broader social, political and aesthetic discourse. Di Carlo lectures internationally and has published widely on art, architecture and exhibitions, most recently in Artforum. She was the consulting editor for Log 20, a special issue on curating architecture in 2010. She holds MAs in art history and visual cultures from the Courtauld Institute of Art and Goldsmiths College, University of London and an MA in architecture from the Harvard University GSD.

Matteo Ghidoni is an architect, editor and publisher based in Milan. He was a founding partner of the research agency Multiplicity from 2002 to 2006 and he leads the architectural office Salottobuono since 2005. Salottobuono has served as editor of Abitare magazine (2007–10) and as creative director of Domus magazine (2011–12). The office published the Manual of Decolonization (2010), has taken part in the Venice Biennale (2008, 2012), and designed the Italian Pavilion (2010). Ghidoni is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of San Rocco magazine, an independent international publication about architecture. San Rocco has taken part in the Venice Biennale (2012), was awarded the Icon Award as best emerging architecture practice (2012), and the Graham Foundation Grant for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts (2013).

Aaron Levy is the Director and Senior Curator of Slought. He is committed to reflecting on the responsibilities of cultural institutions, and developing the institution itself as a critical and performative work. He is also a Senior Lecturer in English and the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his PhD from the School of Fine Art, History of Art, and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds on the cultural politics of memory and display. Publications include Cities Without Citizens (2002); On the Living History of the Venice Architecture Biennale (2010); Evasions of Power: On the Architecture of Adjustment (2011); and On the Political Equator: Teddy Cruz, Sergio Fajardo and Oscar Romo in Conversation (2012). Curatorial projects include “Into the Open, the US Pavilion for the Venice Architecture Biennale” (2008–09), and “Mixplace Studio,” an urban education initiative with People’s Emergency Center and PennDesign (2012–).

Justin McGuirk is a writer, critic, and curator based in London. He is the director of Strelka Press, the publishing arm of the Strelka Institute in Moscow. He has been the design critic of The Guardian, the editor of Icon magazine, and the design consultant to Domus. In 2012 he was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture for an exhibition he curated with Urban Think Tank. His book, Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture, will be published by Verso in June 2014.

Ligia Nobre is an architect and curator based in São Paulo. Her practice-research focuses on experimental platforms for artistic and urban-architectural projects. She has been co-curator of the X São Paulo Architecture Biennale in 2013. Previously, she was the local curator with Urban Think Tank for the Audi Urban Future Initiative Award (2012); collaborator of São Paulo Lab/Studio-X GSAPP Columbia University (2009–12); and architecture consultant at the Brazilian Ministry of Culture (2009–10). She holds an MA in Histories and Theories from the Architectural Association. Nobre was a researcher and teaching assistant at ETH Studio Basel (2007–08) and a guest teacher at FAU Mackenzie University (2009–11). She is also the co-founder of exo experimental org, a not-for-profit platform for research in the fields of art and urban-political issues in São Paulo (2002–07).

Marina Otero Verzier is the Director of Global Network Programming at Studio-X, GSAPP. She studied architecture in Delft (TU) and Madrid (ETSAM), where she is also a doctoral candidate. In 2013, and as a Fulbright grantee, she graduated from the MS in Critical, Curatorial, and Conceptual Practices in Architecture program at GSAPP with the thesis “Evanescent Institutions: Capturing a Global Democratic Imaginary,” which analyzed the emergence of new paradigms for global cultural institutions. Marina has collaborated with the New Museum, The Glass House, the Istanbul Design Biennial, and the Consulate General of Spain in New York, among others. Her work has been published in Domus, Quaderns, Circo, Arquitectura Viva,and the Spanish newspaper El País, and has been awarded in international competitions including Europan.

Felicity D. Scottis Associate Professor of Architecture and co-director of the program in Critical, Curatorial, and Conceptual Practices in Architecture at the GSAPP, where she also teaches architectural history and theory. In addition to publishing numerous articles in journals, magazines, and edited anthologies, her book, Architecture or Techno-Utopia: Politics After Modernism, was published by MIT Press in 2007, and Living Archive 7: Ant Farm, appeared on ACTAR Editorial in 2008. She is currently working on a book entitled “Outlaw Territories: Environments of Insecurity/Architectures of Counter-Insurgency, 1966–1979” which investigates architecture’s relation to “human unsettlement” and territorial insecurity and is to be published by Zone Books.

Mark Wasiuta is Director of Exhibitions and co-director of the program in Critical, Curatorial, and Conceptual Practices in Architecture at the GSAPP. He studied at the University of British Columbia, Princeton University, and Harvard University. He is the recipient of recent grants from the Graham Foundation, NYSCA, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Banff New Media Institute. He has curated, co-curated and produced numerous exhibitions including, “Tony Oursler, UFOs and Effigies,” “No Longer Art: Salvage Art Institute,” “Collecting Architecture Territories,” and “Operators’ Exercises: Open Form in Film and Architecture.” He is co-editor and co-author of “Dan Graham’s New Jersey” and has recent articles published in Domus, Art Lies, Praxis and Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. Forthcoming projects include the exhibitions, “Environmental Communications and the Contact High,” “Love and Gravity: Buckminster Fuller’s World Game,” and the publication, “Environments and Counter Environments. Experimental Media in Italy: The New Domestic Landscape, MoMA, 1972.”

Mark Wigley is dean of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation and an accomplished scholar and design teacher. He has written extensively on the theory and practice of architecture and is the author of Constant’s New Babylon: The Hyper-Architecture of Desire (1998); White Walls, Designer Dresses: The Fashioning of Modern Architecture (1995); and The Architecture of Deconstruction: Derrida’s Haunt (1993). He co-edited The Activist Drawing: Retracing Situationalist Architectures from Constant’s New Babylon to Beyond (2001). Wigley has served as curator for widely attended exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Drawing Center, New York; Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal; and Witte de With Museum, Rotterdam.  He received both his Bachelor of Architecture (1979) and his PhD (1987) from the University of Auckland, New Zealand.


Promiscuous Encounters (GSAPP Books, 2014)

Edited by Francisco Díaz, Nina Kolowratnik, Marcelo López, and Marina Otero Verzier

Promiscuous Encounters, a day-long event held at GSAPP on March 23, 2012, examined the interplay between the critical, curatorial and conceptual capacities of architecture by asking a diverse group of theorists and practitioners to discuss their modes of promiscuous practice.

Challenging the way in which a symposium is commonly recorded, for the discussion among Keller Easterling, Andrés Jaque, Reinhold Martin, Mitch McEwen, Markus Miessen, Felicity D. Scott, Pelin Tan, Rodrigo Tisi, and Mark Wasiuta, neither audio nor video recordings were taken. Thus, the publication is a vehicle to document the encounter, and the site where the interpretations of both participants and audience are made public, thereby building up the vocabulary for a theory of promiscuous practice.



Javier Antón, Greg Barton, Caitlin Blanchfield, Matt Choot, David Hinkle, Max Lauter, Elis Mendoza, John Ramahlo, Felicity D. Scott, Carlos Solis-Keyser, Nicola Twilley, Mark Wasiuta, Mark Wigley and the Office of the Dean



Florencia Alvarez Pacheco, Martí Amargós Rubert, Alissa Anderson, Óskar Arnórsson, Anthony Graham, Liyana Hasnan, Bika Rebek, Agustín Schang, Michael Villardi, Marty Wood

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FUTURES+ Orginal Submission 

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