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Sustaining Architecture: Design Practice and the Matter of Care

Tuesday, March 24, 2015, 12 - 2pm

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'Entrega Final, Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño, y Urbanismo, Universidad de Buenos Aires,' Nicholas D’Avella

'Entrega Final, Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño, y Urbanismo, Universidad de Buenos Aires,' Nicholas D’Avella

Lecture by Nicholas D’Avella

This talk is based on fieldwork in the architecture school at the University of Buenos Aires in the years following Argentina's economic and political crisis in 2001.  In the aftermath of the crisis, buildings had become an important form of economic investment for many middle class Argentines, resulting in a boom in investment-driven construction.  The talk examines the politics of architectural education in this context, taking a longer historical view at the politics of architectural education in Buenos Aires from the dictatorship years of the 1970s through the neoliberal policies of the 1990s and into the present.  I analyze drawings and models as political technologies through which students were invested with ways of caring for the built environment that extend beyond market value, offering the possibility to conserve particular human-building relations in the face of the economic priorities that threatened to overtake them.

Dr. D’Avella is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at The Cooper Union.  He is an anthropologist and ethnographer of contemporary Argentina.  His current manuscript, Concrete Dreams:  Markets, Politics, and the Lives of Buildings in Post-Crisis Buenos Aires is an ethnographic study of a construction boom in the years following Argentina’s economic crisis of 2001.  Based on fieldwork with real estate investors and market analysts, architects, and neighborhood residents, the book describes how buildings were incorporated into emergent practices of economic investment, and how other forms of value were made to endure in the face of buildings’ increasingly central place in Argentine investment cultures.

Tuesday 24 March at 12:00PM in Room 315F | The Foundations Building

Lunch will be provided

Sponsored by The Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design

In collaboration with the Center for Career Development

Open only to current students/faculty/staff of The Cooper Union

  • 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.