The Ornamental Metals Institute of New York Lecture | Kersten Geers: Architecture and Everything

Tuesday, January 30, 2024, 6:30 - 8:30pm

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"Public Library," OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen, photo courtesy of Bas Princen.

"Public Library," OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen, photo courtesy of Bas Princen.

This event will be conducted in-person in the Rose Auditorium and through Zoom. 

For Zoom attendance, please register in advance here.

At a time when our world seems to become increasingly ephemeral and artificial, with technology expanding the notion of digital representation, mediated perception of reality and self-generated content are the new normal. Immersive VR and deepfakes are nothing but a highly sophisticated simulacrum of our own desires. However, despite the enticing prospect of hyperreality, the real life —as mundane and conventional as ever—still happens out there. Forty years of iterations and reflections of architecture as urbanism, architecture as event, architecture as journalism, architecture as philosophy, architecture as parametric algorithms, and architecture as anything that is not architecture, has not stopped the rest of the world building (real) buildings. Reality is the ultimate thing architecture can still offer. Accepting and dealing with the real issues—ecological, political and social aspects of our contemporary condition—and providing physical space for everything that life in all its complexity presupposes, is finally the utmost responsibility of architecture and architects. This lecture will present recent OFFICE work, focusing on architectural form and materiality as a means for shaping our urban and social reality.

The lecture will be followed by a discussion moderated by Nader Tehrani. 

Kersten Geers is an architect, writer and educator. Together with David Van Severen he is a founding partner of the Brussels-based architecture firm OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen. Since its establishment in 2002, OFFICE has been committed to the idea of architecture as a cultural undertaking aimed at improving the human environment. OFFICE projects differ in scale and type, ranging from furniture to urban design. Recent projects currently under construction include Aerospacelab Megafactory in Charleroi, Belgium; Swiss Radio and Television building in Lausanne, Switzerland; and VRT Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. OFFICE has received numerous honors and awards, including the Belgian Prize for Architecture, the Silver Lion at the 12th Venice Biennial of Architecture, and Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Kersten Geers has been teaching at various institutions, such as Columbia University GSAPP, Yale School of Architecture and EPF Lausanne. He currently holds a professorship at the Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio and is a Design Critic in Architecture at Harvard GSD. He was a founding member of the architecture magazine San Rocco. Some of his recent books are Without Content (2021), Excess of Architecture (2022) and Experiments in Thickness (2023).

This event is free and open to the public.

This lecture is sponsored by The Ornamental Metal Institute of New York with support from The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. 


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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.