Architectures of Transition | Eve Blau: Modernizing Baku — The Difference that Oil Makes

Tuesday, November 1, 2022, 6:30 - 8:30pm

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Image Credits: Oily Rocks/ Neft Dashlari in the Caspian Sea,  Arkhitektura SSSR, 1967-10.

Image Credits: Oily Rocks/ Neft Dashlari in the Caspian Sea,  Arkhitektura SSSR, 1967-10.

This lecture will be conducted in-person in room 315F and through Zoom.

For Zoom attendance, please register in advance here.
For In-Person attendance, please register in advance here

Baku is the original oil city. Since its first oil boom in the 1870s, Baku has been an urban landscape in which the extraction and production of oil and urbanism have been inextricably intertwined in the economy, politics, and fabric of the city. The long history of those entanglements provides access not only to the foundations of the oil industry and the global urbanization processes it set in motion, but also to the manifold temporalities, spatialities, scales, displacements, and contradictions entailed in the processes of carbon modernization and concept of carbon form. Baku complicates that narrative. Unlike any other site, it also gives access to those processes in the context of the Soviet command economy and the post-Socialist restructuring that followed it, shedding new light on the dynamics of surplus driving post-oil urbanization today.

The presentation will be followed by a conversation moderated by Elisa Iturbe.

Eve Blau is a professor of the History and Theory of Urban Form and Design at the Graduate School of Design and Director of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University where she is also Co-Director of the Harvard Mellon Urban Initiative. Blau has written extensively on modern architecture, urbanism, and the productive intersection of urbanism and media. She is the author of several award-winning books, including Baku: Oil and Urbanism; The Architecture of Red Vienna, 1919-1934; Project Zagreb: Transition as Condition, Strategy, Practice; Shaping the Great City: Modern Architecture in Central Europe; Architecture and Cubism; Architecture and Its Image. In 2022, Eve Blau was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; she was named a fellow of the Society of Architectural Historians in 2018, and in 2015 was awarded the Victor Adler State Prize by the Republic of Austria for her contributions to the history of social movements and the innovative methods of her scholarship.

Elisa Iturbe is Assistant Professor at the Cooper Union. Her research is currently focused on the relationship between energy, power, and form and her writings have been published in AA FilesLogPerspectaAntagonismos, New York Review of Architecture, and more. Iturbe is also co-founder of Outside Development, a design and research practice. 

This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required.

View the full Fall 2022 Lectures and Events List. 


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