The Distinguished Irwin S. Chanin Professor Lecture | Diana Agrest: The Wall and the Books

Thursday, November 11, 2021, 6:30 - 8:30pm

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Urban Agricultural Corridor, Des Moines, IA. Image Courtesy of Diana Agrest.

Urban Agricultural Corridor, Des Moines, IA. Image Courtesy of Diana Agrest.

This event will be conducted in-person and through Zoom. All participants— both in-person and online— must register in advance.

In-Person Registration: The Eventbrite service we use to keep reservations is not functioning today. If you intend to come, please do so and we will accommodate all attendees with proof of vaccination on a first come first serve basis up to capacity.

Virtual Registration: The lecture is also accessible through Zoom. Advanced registration is required, please register for virtual attendance here.

Diana Agrest will present a selection of works that define significant moments in the development of her practice. Organized conceptually, the works presented will focus on questions of urban form and its articulation through social, political, and ideological registers in discourse and as observed from actual contexts in relation to the imaginary, the symbolic, and the real. Drawing from work that ranges in scale, from urban projects to the architecture object itself, while articulating connections to her critical work on urban and architectural discourse, Agrest illustrates the determinant role of urban form and culture on architecture.

The lecture will be introduced by Dean Nader Tehrani and followed by a discussion with Kurt Forster. 

Diana Agrest, FAIA is an internationally renowned architect, theoretician, author, educator and filmmaker. She is well known for her unique and pioneering critical approach to architecture and urbanism practice and theory. She is a founding partner of Agrest and Gandelsonas Architects. Her designed and built projects ranging globally from urban projects, housing complexes and master plans to single family residences and interiors have received numerous awards. 

Her work approaches architecture as a transdiscursive field critically focusing on urban and architectural discourse, articulating it with theories of language, anthropology, film, psychoanalysis, history of science and the environmental sciences.

Her books include: Architecture of Nature/ Nature of Architecture 2019; The Sex of Architecture, (edit. Agrest, Conway, Weisman); Agrest & Gandelsonas: Works (with Mario Gandelsonas); Architecture from Without: Theoretical Framings for a Critical Practice; Places and Memories and A Romance with the City.

Her work has been exhibited in museums, galleries and universities including: MoMA; Schenzen Biennial; SFMOMA, San Francisco, MOCA, Los Angeles; Walker Art Center; Center Pompidou, Paris; Milano Triennale; The German Architecture Museum, Frankfurt, etc.

She has written, produced and directed the feature documentary film "The Making of an Avant-Garde: The Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies 1967-1984 " premiered at MoMA in 2013.

Agrest is a Full time Professor at The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of  The Cooper Union. She has taught at Princeton University as well at Columbia and Yale Universities. She was a Fellow of the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York.

This lecture is free and accessible to the public. In-person lecture attendees are required to show proof of vaccination and wear a facial covering indoors. 

View the full Fall 2021 Lectures and Events List.

Located in the Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, at 41 Cooper Square (on Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets)

  • 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.