Saturday, February 27th 12-6 pm

Rose Auditorium, The Cooper Union

41 Cooper Sq., New York


Watch videos of the conference:


Panel 1 – Loops and Arrows – video here.


Panel 2 – Outerspace / Innerspace – video here.


Panel 3 – Miniature Earth – video here.



Closed Worlds, 2016. Curated by Lydia Kallipoliti. Storefront for Art and Architecture. Photo by Jake Naughton.


With Reyner Banham, Buckminster Fuller, Jacques Cousteau, Victor Olgyay, Neil Armstrong, Ray and Charles Eames, Walt Disney, Peter Van Dresser, Hans Hollein, and John McHale.


On Saturday, February 27th, Storefront for Art and Architecture and The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union will jointly present a public conference, Closed Worlds: Encounters That Never Happened. Participants will engage in debate and discussion about the history and future of closed systems in architecture and design.



The image of Earth from outer space was highly anticipated throughout the 1960s, and inspired a great deal of wonder in the general population. This iconic image reached the apex of its symbolism in 1968, through the famous Earthrise series taken by Apollo 8.


Portraying mankind entrapped in the finite space of a sphere, the image of Earth as perceived from space may be accountable, in part, for a feeling of anxiety in our collective cultural imagination. It resulted in the development of broad literature that projected plans for our future survival within what Buckminster Fuller famously called our ‘spaceship earth’.


Reyner Banham, with an environmental bubble; Hans Hollein, with a pill illustrating that “all is architecture”; Jacques Cousteau, with the Conshelf project that explored the inner space of the ocean; Walt Disney, with EPCOT as a reconstruction of a miniaturized and idealized world, and many others, have contributed substantially and in various ways to the discourse of closed worlds.


Encounters That Never Happened is presented in conjunction with Closed Worlds, an exhibition on view at Storefront for Art and Architecture. Organized in the format of three panels (Loops and Arrows, Outerspace/Innerspace, and Miniaturized Earth), the conference will explore historical and modern debates regarding the environment and the exploration of outer space, as well reflections of such debates on architectural discourse.


Contemporary historians, critics, and practitioners will participate through impersonations of historical figures, bringing to life texts, images, and theories that have shaped architecture discourse over the last five decades. The reanimated encounters between these figures, portrayed by contemporary voices whose work reflects theirs, will shed light upon a transformation in the field of ecology, from the purity of nature as a realm outside of the “manmade,” to a technologically mediated science of instrumentation.


Participants Include:


Hans Hollein / Christina Ciardullo

Victor Olgyay / Daniel Barber

John McHale / Anthony Vidler

Walt Disney / Lydia Kallipoliti

Charles and Ray Eames / Andrés Jaque

General Dynamics / Bess Krietemeyer

Neil Armstrong / Peder Anker

NASA / Michelle Addington

Jacques Cousteau / Janette Kim

Buckminster Fuller / Mark Wigley

Howard T. Odum / Anna Dyson

Peter Van Dresser / Mitchell Joachim

Reyner Banham / Eva Franch i Gilabert






12:00 Welcome and Introduction by Nader Tehrani

12:10 Encounters That Never Happened Overview by Lydia Kallipoliti and Carlos Mínguez




12:15 Hans Hollein / Christina Ciardullo

12:30 Howard T. Odum / Anna Dyson

12:45 John McHale / Anthony Vidler

1:15 Walt Disney / Lydia Kallipoliti in conversation with Hans Hollein, Howard T. Odum, and

        John McHale


1:30 Lunch Break



2:30 General Dynamics / Bess Krietemeyer

2:45 Neil Armstrong / Peder Anker

3:00 NASA / Michelle Addington

3:15 Jacques Cousteau / Janette Kim in conversation with General Dynamics, Neil

        Armstrong, and NASA


3:45 Afternoon Break



4:00 Buckminster Fuller / Mark Wigley

4:15 Victor Olgyay / Daniel Barber

4:30 Charles and Ray Eames / Andrés Jaque

4:45 Peter Van Dresser / Mitchell Joachim

5:00 Reyner Banham / Eva Franch i Gilabert in conversation with Buckminster Fuller, Victor

        Olgyay, Charles and Ray Eames, and Peter van Dresser

5:30 Closing Remarks by Lydia Kallipoliti and Eva Franch i Gilabert



This conference is presented in conjunction with Storefront’s exhibition Closed Worlds and the Closed Worlds Design Competition


If you are a member of Storefront, you can reserve a seat by contacting aa@storefrontnewsorg. To become a member, please see here.