Spring 2023 Lectures and Events
Humanity has reached an ecological brink and against this daunting horizon, architecture’s environmental response, focused largely on building technology and techno-optimism, has failed. The climate crisis is intensifying unabated, in part because architecture, as both a discipline and a practice, continues to replicate the spatial, cultural, and material patterns that constitute an energy-intensive way of life.
This year’s lecture series, curated by Elisa Iturbe, interrogates architecture’s alliance with the project of carbon modernity, from the early moments of industrialization to today’s advanced stages of fossil capitalism. At stake is architecture’s role in broad civilizational transition—unquestionable and problematic in the context of our last energy transition into fossil fuels, yet indeterminate and full of possibility in relation to the transitions to come.
Together, these lectures and discussions will bring space and form into dialogue with energy and power, reframing the causal landscape of the climate crisis and reimagining our vocabulary of alternatives.
The Eleanore Pettersen Lecture Series
The Eleanore Pettersen Lecture, established through a generous gift to The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, is dedicated to the voices of women in architecture as a lasting tribute to Ms. Pettersen's significant impact in the world of architecture and her love of The Cooper Union. Pettersen, who had worked as an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright and would later design the post-White House home of Richard M. Nixon, was one of the first women to be licensed as an architect in New Jersey, and developed a successful practice there that spanned over fifty years.
Lectures in this series have been given by Toshiko Mori (2005), Phyllis Lambert (2006), Elizabeth Wright Ingraham (2008), Billie Tsien (2009), Francine Houben (2011), Sarah Wigglesworth (2013), and Farshid Moussavi (2014), Mabel Wilson (2020), Lesley Lokko + Sumayya Vally (2021), Samia Henni (2022).
The Fariba Tehrani Lecture
The Fariba Tehrani Lecture was initiated in honor of Biba Tehrani, whose decades-long commitment to education has served as a radical alternative to the very models of conventional pedagogies of which she is both beneficiary and victim. Her commitment to discursive interaction, speech, and oratory makes this endowment an apt tribute for her contributions to generations of students.
The YC Foundation Lecture
The YC Foundation, Inc., New York, makes grants for lectures in Architecture that inspire young architects to leadership through the experiences and stories of the lecturers.
Student Lecture Series 2022-23
This year, the Student Lecture Series has invited the student body to nominate potential speakers based on their varied interests. This is an opportunity to bring a diverse list of speakers and topics that we are interested in as a student collective.
In Conversation Series
The primary purpose of the In Conversation Lecture Series (IC) is to engender discussion of timely issues and ideas among Cooper faculty and students. There is a time and place for the expert monologue, but IC is neither. A few times a semester, IC stages a dialogue between invited faculty members, through a process mediated by the active inquiry of a student audience. This translates to quick faculty presentations followed by a meaty question-and-answer based discussion led by student organizers and the audience.
Current Work is a lecture series co-sponsored with The Architectural League of New York featuring leading figures in the worlds of architecture, urbanism, design, and art. The spring 2021 Current Work series examines some of the inherited histories, conventions, fabrics, and systems - often taken for granted - that constitute and shape the built environment. How might we reconsider the ways we engage with and construct the places that surround us? Speakers will address issues including transforming architectural pedagogy; protecting threatened historic sites; conserving resources by adapting existing buildings and reusing materials; and reimagining and regenerating places scarred by racism, neglect, and environmental emergencies.