Current Work | Lionel Devlieger: Rotor - Reverse Architecture

Tuesday, April 20, 2021, 12:30 - 2:30pm

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This event will be conducted through Zoom. Please register in advance here. Zoom account registration is required.

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.

Brussels-based Rotor was founded in 2006 as a research and design practice that “investigates the organization of the material environment.” In 2016, the firm launched Rotor Deconstruction, a cooperative that organizes the reuse of construction materials through the dismantling, processing, and trading of salvaged building components. 

Recent projects include:

  • Zonnige Kempen, an office interior and refurbishment with reused components for a social housing company in Westerlo, Belgium.
  • Multi, an ongoing circular consultancy for a large-scale office building renovation in the city center of Brussels. 
  •, a digital platform mapping small and medium-sized enterprises in Northwestern Europe active in the refurbishing and sale of second-hand building components.

Rotor cofounder Lionel Devlieger is a researcher, designer, educator, and exhibition maker. His work focuses on the material implications of contemporary culture, especially in the realm of architecture. Devlieger has taught architecture at UC Berkeley, TU Delft, Columbia University, and London’s AA School. He has curated and designed, with Rotor, exhibitions on architecture and material culture, and in 2018 coauthored Deconstruction et reemploi, a reference textbook on building component reuse.

The lecture will be followed by a conversation and Q&A moderated by Paul Lewis, partner at LTL Architects, professor and associate dean at Princeton University School of Architecture, and president of The Architectural League of New York.

This lecture has been approved to offer 1.5 AIA and New York State CEUs. Registered viewers who join the Zoom airing of the program at 1:00PM EDT and remain for its entirety are eligible to receive credit. After the program, please email with your full name and AIA number so we can report your credits. 

This event is organized by The Architectural League of New York and co-presented with The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union.

This lecture is free and accessible to the public. 

View the full Fall 2020 Lectures and Events List.



  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.