Ever since the theoretical turn of the 1960s, right through to the present, the status of the architectural object in the sphere of history, theory and criticism keeps taking on more and more forms. Whether as the reification of power structures, as a facilitator of participatory processes, as the locus of phenomenological content, as the hypostatization of terms pertaining to other systems of thought, as a vehicle to reflect upon unmediated practices, as a catalyst to investigate the psychology of perception, as amenable to mirror processes in the natural world—its increasing epistemological diversification is an index for the growing sophistication of our field. Within this tendency, however, the object emerges more often as a medium through which to tap into another domain—if not as altogether absent—than it does as the ultimate realm of research in its own right.
This event suggested that discussions taking the object as their primary concern can today extend the bounds of possibility for the production of discursive knowledge in a substantial fashion. In order to do so, it invoked the architectural object par excellence—the building
. A number of historians, theorists, architects and PhD candidates, from both Europe and the US, were asked to choose a building, built or designed within the last 25 years, which they could show embodied a historically significant contribution in terms of a particular design aspect or a concept relevant to the reading of buildings in general. In addition, they were invited to speculate on the possibility for such a design technique or concept to become the seed of a metadisciplinary theoretical framework. The first installment of this event took place at the Architectural Association on June 2, 2014.
With Stan Allen, Jose Aragüez, Vera Bühlmann, Marta Caldeira, Juan Antonio Cortés, Marc Frochaux, Gabriela García de Cortázar, Francisco González de Canales, Costandis Kizis, Sylvia Lavin, Mary McLeod, Michael Meredith, Joan Ockman, Jorge Otero-Pailos, Sophia Psarra, Amanda Reeser Lawrence, Etien Santiago, Alexandra Vougia, Enrique Walker, Aaron White, Michael Young and Alejandro Zaera-Polo.
Project led by José Aragüez (Princeton University) which so far has yielded two international symposia. Second one was organized along with Aaron White (Columbia University) and held at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation on November 15th, 2014.