Graphic design by Pentagram.
97 Kenmare Street
Thursday, December 6th, 2018
7 – 9 pm
With Lydia Kallipoliti, Peder Anker, Ross Exo Adams, Anna Dyson, Andrés Jaque, Anthony Vidler, and Mark Wigley
What do space capsules, submarines, and office buildings have in common? Each was conceived as a closed system: a self-sustaining physical environment demarcated from its surroundings by a boundary that does not allow for the transfer of matter or energy.
The history of twentieth-century architecture, design, and engineering has been strongly linked to the conceptualization and production of closed systems. As partial reconstructions of the world in time and in space, closed systems identify and secure the cycling of materials necessary for the sustenance of life. Contemporary discussions about global warming, recycling, and sustainability have emerged as direct conceptual constructs related to the study and analysis of closed systems.
From the space program to countercultural architectural groups experimenting with autonomous living, The Architecture of Closed Worlds, Or, What is the Power of Shit? (Lars Müller, 2018) documents a disciplinary transformation and the rise of a new environmental consensus in the form of a synthetic naturalism, wherein the laws of nature and metabolism are displaced from the domain of wilderness to the domain of cities and buildings. While these ideas derive from a deeply rooted fantasy of architecture producing nature, The Architecture of Closed Worlds displays their integration into the very fabric of reality in our contemporary cities and buildings.
Manifesto Series: Closed Worlds brings together a panel of architects, building technologists, and historians to discuss the complex and divergent legacies of sustainable design practice as a bodily reality, beyond the statistics of resource management. Participants will be asked to present manifestos that convey counter histories and projected futures of closed systems in order to consider the potential impact of designing environments that simultaneously provide enclosure, sustainability, and sustenance. In order to challenge the established sustainability axiom “cradle to cradle,” one may need to look at shit.
About the Manifesto Series
The Manifesto Series format invites participants to denounce a present or past condition, proclaim an alternative present, past or future situation, and indicate a strategy or method of action.
About the Book
The Architecture of Closed Worlds, Or, What is the Power of Shit?
The Architecture of Closed Worlds, Or, What is the Power of Shit? presents an archive of 37 historical living prototypes from 1928 to the present that put forth an unexplored genealogy of closed resource regeneration systems. Prototypes are presented through unique discursive narratives accompanied by historical images, and each includes new analysis in the form of a feedback drawing that problematizes the language of environmental representation by illustrating loss, derailment, and the production of new substances and atmospheres. Each drawing displays a feedback loop, wherein the human physiology of ingestion and excretion becomes the combustion device of an organizational system envisioned for humans, animals, and other live species. The moments of failure portrayed when closed worlds escape the designed loop cycles raise a series of questions about the ontology of autonomous enclosures.
The book also showcases a timeline of the 37 prototypes, illuminating the ways in which they have contributed to the idea of “net zero” in our contemporary culture of sustainability. The timeline highlights the evolution of total circular resource regeneration, from military research and the experiments of NASA’s space program, to more contemporary manifestations such as the benefits of the housing industry, countercultural practice for autonomous living in the city, nostalgia for the homesteading movement, and ecological tourism and environmental capitalism.
This book examines ecological questions viscerally, via the raw ecology of our bodies and their excrement. It studies recycling not as a statistical problem related to the management of urban resources but as a basic bodily reality affecting the water we consume and the air we breathe. To write a counter-history to the established sustainability axiom “cradle to cradle,” one needs to look at shit. Only through this raw confrontation may the ecology of life be somehow useful. To avoid clichés of sustainability, shit might be our only way out.
This book is supported by the Robert S. Brown ’52 Fellows Program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Elise Jaffe & Jeffrey Brown, and Pentagram Design. It is based on the exhibition Closed Worlds, presented at Storefront’s gallery space in 2016.
Book design by Pentagram / Natasha Jen. Afterword essays by: Michelle Addington, Bess Krietemeyer, and Mark Wigley. Comments by: Peder Anker, Daniel Barber, Wulf Böer, Christina Ciardullo, Beatriz Colomina, Ross Exo Adams, Mitchell Joachim, Janette Kim & Eric Carver, Caroline Maniaque-Benton, Jonathan Massey, Albert Narath, and Theodora Vardouli.
About the Author
Lydia Kallipoliti is an architect, engineer, and scholar whose research focuses on the intersections of architecture, technology, and environmental politics, and more particularly on recycling material experiments as well as theories of waste and reuse. She is an Assistant Professor of Architecture and the Director of the Master of Science Program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She has also taught at Syracuse University, Columbia University (GSAPP), Pratt Institute and the Cooper Union, where she also served as a Senior Associate at the Institute for Sustainable Design and as the Feltman Chair in Lighting.
Her work has been published and exhibited widely including the Venice Biennial, the Istanbul Design Biennial, the Shenzhen Biennial, the Onassis Cultural Center and the Royal Academy of British Architects. Kallipoliti was the founder of EcoRedux, an innovative online open–source educational resource documenting the history of ecological experimentation, for which she received a silver medal in the W3 awards for environmental awareness, an honor at the 14th Webby Awards in Digital Arts and Sciences, the High Meadows Sustainability Fund, and the Lawrence Anderson Award for the creative documentation of architectural history. EcoRedux was also a traveling exhibition (including museums in Athens, New York and the Design Hub in Barcelona) and an issue of Architectural Design magazine (AD) edited by Kallipoliti in 2010.
Recently she authored The History of Ecological Design for Oxford English Encyclopedia of Environmental Science (2018) and the book The Architecture of Closed Worlds, Or, What is the Power of Shit (Lars Muller Publishers/Storefront for Art and Architecture, 2018), based on the exhibition, Closed Worlds, at Storefront for Art and Architecture in 2016, and supported by the Graham Foundation, the New York State Council for the Arts, as well as the ACSA award for creative achievement. Kallipoliti holds a Diploma in Architecture and Engineering from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, a Master of Science (SMArchS) in design and building technology from MIT and a PhD in history and theory of architecture from Princeton University.
Ross Exo Adams is the FRK Faculty Fellow Assistant Professor of Architecture & Urban Theory at Iowa State University. His research looks at the history and politics of urbanization. He has published and presented widely on social and political relations between architecture, urban design, geography, and climate change. His research has been supported by fellowships and grants from the Royal Institute of British Architects, The London Consortium, Iowa State University and The MacDowell Colony. He has taught at the Bartlett, the Architectural Association, the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam, and the University of Brighton and is the Reviews Editor for The Journal of Architecture. His monograph, Circulation and Urbanization, is forthcoming this winter.
Peder Anker is Associate Professor at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. His teaching and research interests lie in the history of science, ecology, environmentalism and design, as well as environmental philosophy. He has received research fellowships from the Fulbright Program, the Dibner Institute and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, and been a visiting scholar at both Columbia University and University of Oslo. He is the co-author of Global Design: Elsewhere Envisioned (Prestel, 2014) together with Louise Harpman and Mitchell Joachim. He is also the author of From Bauhaus to Eco-House: A History of Ecological Design (Louisiana State University Press 2010), which explores the intersection of architecture and ecological science, and Imperial Ecology: Environmental Order in the British Empire, 1895-1945 (Harvard University Press, 2001), which investigates how the promising new science of ecology flourished in the British Empire. Professor Anker’s current book project explores the history of ecological debates in his country of birth, Norway. Peder Anker received his PhD in history of science from Harvard University in 1999.
Anna Dyson teaches design, technology, and theory at the School of Architecture at Rensselaer. She is the director of The Center for Architecture, Science and Ecology (CASE) which hosts the Graduate Program in Architectural Sciences, concentration is Built Ecologies. She has worked as a design architect and product designer in several offices in Canada, Europe, and the United States. Her work has been exhibited in the MoMA Young Architects Series, and was a finalist in the international Next Generation Design Competition. Dyson holds multiple international patents for building systems inventions and is currently directing interdisciplinary research sponsored to develop new systems for on-site energy generation. Dyson received a Baccalauréat Général from Université Laval and a Master of Architecture from Yale University.
Andrés Jaque, Phd Architect (ETSAM), is an Associate Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia GSAPP, where he directs the Master of Science program in Advanced Architectural Design. Jaque is the founder of the Office for Political Innovation, an architectural practice based in New York and Madrid, Spain, and has been teaching advanced design studios at Columbia GSAPP since 2013. His architectural work includes ‘Plasencia Clergy House’, ‘House in Never Never Land’, ‘TUPPER HOME’, ‘ESCARAVOX’ or ‘COSMO, MoMA PS1’. The Office for Political Innovation has been awarded with the SILVER LION to the Best Research Project at the 14th Venice Biennale, the Dionisio Hernández Gil Award, London Design Museum’s Designs of the Year Selection, Mies van der Rohe Award (finalist) and Architectural Record’s Designers of the Year Selection. Their publications include PHANTOM. Mies as Rendered Society, Different Kinds of Water Pouring into a Swimming Pool, Dulces Arenas Cotidianas or Everyday Politics; and their work has being included in the most important media, including A+U, Bauwelt, Domus, El Croquis, The Architectural Review, Volume or The New York Times; and exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art MoMA, London Design Museum, MAK in Vienna, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, RED CAT Cal Arts Contemporary Art Center in Los Angeles, Z33 in Hasselt, Schweizerisches Architektur Museum in Basel, the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine de Paris, the Hellerau Festspielhaus in Dresden, Princeton University SoA.
Anthony Vidler received his professional degree in architecture from Cambridge University in England, and his doctorate in History and Theory from the University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands. Dean Vidler was a member of the Princeton University School of Architecture faculty from 1965–93, serving as the William R. Kenan Jr. Chair of Architecture, the Chair of the Ph.D. Committee, and Director of the Program in European Cultural Studies. In 1993 he took up a position as professor and Chair of the Department of Art History at UCLA, with a joint appointment in the School of Architecture from 1997. Dean Vidler was appointed Acting Dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union in 2001, and Dean of the School in 2002. A historian and critic of modern and contemporary architecture, specializing in French architecture from the Enlightenment to the present, he has consistently taught courses in design and history and theory and continues to teach a wide variety of courses at The Cooper Union. He stepped down from the Deanship in 2013. As designer and curator he installed the permanent exhibition of the work of Claude-Nicolas Ledoux in the Royal Salt Works of Arc-et-Senans in Franche-Comté, France, as well as curating the exhibition, Ledoux et les Lumières at Arc-et-Senans for the European year of Enlightenment. In 2004 he was asked to curate the portion of the exhibition Out of the Box dedicated to James Stirling, for the Canadian Center of Architecture, Montreal, and in 2010 installed the exhibition Notes from the Archive: James Frazer Stirling, in the Yale Centre for British Art, an exhibition that then travelled to the Tate Britain and the Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart in 2011. His publications include The Writing of the Walls: Architectural Theory in the Late Enlightenment (Princeton Architectural Press, 1987), The Architectural Uncanny: Essays in the Modern Unhomely (MIT Press, 1992), Warped Space: Architecture and Anxiety in Modern Culture (MIT Press, 2000), James Frazer Stirling: Notes from the Archive (Yale University Press, 2010), and The Scenes of the Street and other Essays (Monacelli Press, 2011). He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and received the architecture award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2011.
Mark Wigley is Professor and Dean Emeritus at Columbia GSAPP. He served as Dean from 2004 to 2014. Wigley 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). In 2005 he co-founded Volume magazine with Rem Koolhaas and Ole Bouman as a collaborative project by Archis (Amsterdam), AMO (Rotterdam), and C-lab (Columbia University). Wigley curated the exhibition Deconstructivist Architecture at The Museum of Modern Art, and others at The Drawing Center, New York; Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal; and Witte de With Museum, Rotterdam. Mark Wigley was awarded the Resident Fellowship, Chicago Institute for Architecture and Urbanism (1989), International Committee of Architectural Critics (C.I.C.A.) Triennial Award for Architectural Criticism (1990) and a Graham Foundation Gran (1997). He received both his Bachelor of Architecture (1979) and his Ph.D. (1987) from the University of Auckland, New Zealand.