This article was originally published on CommonEdge as "Women in Architecture Need a New Set of Role Models—Beyond the Star System"
Opinion: The Chilean Pavilion Offers the 2018 Venice Biennale's Most Powerful Architectural Statement
This article was originally published by Common Edge as "STADIUM: the Venice Biennale’s Most Powerful Architectural Statement."
The opening of the Venice Biennale has about it a general sense of raucousness and aesthetic cacophony. The entire scene is lush, almost overwhelmingly rich. There are thousands of places for eyes to land. There are outfits: the salty, wet Venice air manages to get at least a few architects to ditch the all-black outfit for its all-white summer counterpart, often cut through with brightly colored, geometric jewelry. There are events: at any given moment, at any point throughout the weekend, there’s a dozen or so architects gathered on a panel to talk about a topic relevant to a pavilion theme, or the edition theme, or to architecture generally. There are parties, picnics along canals, Aperol spritzes that glow bright orange, and designed-to-death tote bags that run out so quickly just carrying them is a sign that you were there, part of the early crowd, in the mix.
It’s all swirling and chaotic and bright and somehow you have to manage to pay attention to serious ideas about architecture while attempting to figure out how it’s possible that you’re still sweating even though it’s 4PM.
This article was originally published by Common Edge as "What We Talk About When We Don’t Talk About Buildings."
One of the last programs I attended as part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial was a panel titled “Making/Writing/Teaching Contested Histories” at the Chicago Cultural Center. The panel, organized by the Feminist Art and Architecture Collaborative (FAAC), aimed to “foreground issues of class, race, and gender, interrogating how they partake in the production of the built environment.”
The panelists, all academics in fields related to the built environment, were asked to bring in an object central to their practice or their teaching method. The objects on display were a painting, a pier, a refugee camp, and a living room.
Three or four decades ago, this array would’ve scandalized an audience of architects and architectural scholars, who might’ve been expecting, I don’t know, a photo of the Pantheon, or a plan of it, or even a piece of wood or a brick. Maybe even the choice of a piece of furniture would’ve induced some surprised gasps or confused looks.
This article was originally published by Common Edge as "The Politics of Architecture Are Not a Matter of Taste."
Late last month Current Affairs published an essay by Brianna Rennix and Nathan J. Robinson titled “Why You Hate Contemporary Architecture: And if you don’t, why you should.” The piece, written in a pseudo-funny Internet lexicon wherein all objects of criticism are “garbage,” is so laden with irony—the poorest of substitutes for analysis—that it is difficult to discern a core argument. Still, I’d like to question the central premise of the piece: that what the authors term “contemporary architecture” is ugly and oppressive, and that liking it is nothing shy of immoral.