On the Duty and Power of Architectural Criticism
9, 10, 16 & 17 October 2021
Online at 14:00 – 17:30 GMT
Press Release and Conference Program, 23 Sep 2021
Why this Conference?
Should architectural criticism be enlightening? Should it help in the creation of a better built environment? Is there a factual basis to it? Does it have a duty to present evidence in the evaluation of a building? Or should it take on what architects say about their designs?
In the context of a flat internet, should architectural criticism be able to define best practices? Does it wield the power over who is in and who is out?
Architectural criticism, like all human endeavors, is at a crucial juncture. While serious architecture struggles for recognition, much so-called architectural criticism is merely a poorly paid, decorative legitimation for hyperbolic practice. Incisive architectural criticism is rare, while the definition of criticism itself has become opaque.
The international conference has gathered exceptional papers that define the purposes and methods of architectural criticism. What should the ethical basis be of architectural criticism? Can it be objective in the context of paid content? Should it outline ideal practices? Or what should it do?
All contributions address either the duty or the power of architectural criticism, in both cases offering the outline of one analysis of an existing building.
Celebrating Independent Criticism
Independent architectural criticism is disappearing due to the changes in publishing. Traditional printed media – newspapers and professional journals– are losing influence to online platforms. The latter's business model depends on architects' willingness to pay for privileged placement on a site's home page; they rarely carry critical texts. Architects themselves avoid evaluating colleagues' work for fear of reprisals.
This International Conference on Architectural Criticism is therefore an essential occasion and medium for independent criticism, dedicated to the task of enlightening the public, students and professionals with the aim of improving the quality of the designed environment in the age of the climate crisis.
Funding for the conference is made possible through the O'Neil Ford Professorship at The University of Texas at Austin. The conference and the proceedings have not had to rely on external funding. All papers were selected via a double-blind peer review. Each presentation elucidates both a cohesive ethical and methodological approach with reference to a built edifice.
Bringing together diverse voices from across the world, this conference is not only an essential, independent platform in the current media desert, it also provides concrete case studies for future generations of architectural critics. For, without independent criticism, there cannot be any search for truth.
The conference is scheduled in such a way that as many people as possible will be able to participate across the world.
There are therefore four weekend slots, structuring the conference in four sessions. Each session begins with greetings from the organizers and session chairs, followed by one of the four keynote lecturers and then the four selected presenters. A roundtable discussion with all participants concludes each session.
There are three breaks.
Please note that the conference will be recorded and posted.
Participation is free of charge, a maximum of 280 viewers can be accommodated.
The Zoom link for all sessions is https://utexas.zoom.us/j/99569...
Meeting ID: 995 6923 5856
Poster design by Leila Zein Telles
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