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ICAC Online: International Conference on Architectural Criticism will be held on 9-10, 16-17 October

United States Architecture News - Sep 17, 2021 - 10:04   1109 views

ICAC Online: International Conference on Architectural Criticism will be held on 9-10, 16-17 October

Why this Conference?

Should architectural criticism be enlightening? Should it help in the creation of a better built environment? Is there a factual basis to it? Does it have a duty to present evidence in the evaluation of a building? Or should it take on what architects say about their designs?

In the context of a flat internet, should architectural criticism be able to define best practices? Does it wield the power over who is in and who is out?

Architectural criticism, like all human endeavors, is at a crucial juncture. While serious architecture struggles for recognition, much so-called architectural criticism is merely a poorly paid, decorative legitimation for hyperbolic practice. Incisive architectural criticism is rare, while the definition of criticism itself has become opaque.

The international conference has gathered exceptional papers that define the purposes and methods of architectural criticism. What should the ethical basis be of architectural criticism? Can it be objective in the context of paid content? Should it outline ideal practices? Or what should it do?

All contributions address either the duty or the power of architectural criticism, in both cases offering the outline of one analysis of an existing building.

ICAC Online: International Conference on Architectural Criticism will be held on 9-10, 16-17 October

Celebrating Independent Criticism

Independent architectural criticism is disappearing due to the changes in publishing. Traditional printed media – newspapers and professional journals – are losing influence to online platforms. The latter's business model depends on architects' willingness to pay for privileged placement on a site's home page; they rarely carry critical texts. Architects themselves avoid evaluating colleagues' work for fear of reprisals.

This International Conference on Architectural Criticism is therefore an essential occasion and medium for independent criticism, dedicated to the task of enlightening the public, students and professionals with the aim of improving the quality of the designed environment in the age of the climate crisis.

Funding for the conference is made possible through the O'Neil Ford Professorship at The University of Texas at Austin. The conference and the proceedings have not had to rely on external funding. All papers were selected via a double-blind peer review. Each presentation elucidates both a cohesive ethical and methodological approach with reference to a built edifice.

Bringing together diverse voices from across the world, this conference is not only an essential, independent platform in the current media desert, it also provides concrete case studies for future generations of architectural critics. For, without independent criticism, there cannot be any search for truth.

ICAC Online: International Conference on Architectural Criticism will be held on 9-10, 16-17 October

General information

The conference is scheduled in such a way that as many people as possible will be able to participate across the world.

There are therefore four weekend slots, structuring the conference in four sessions. Each session begins with greetings from the organizers and session chairs, followed by one of the four keynote lecturers and then the four selected presenters. A roundtable discussion with all participants concludes each session.

ICAC Online: International Conference on Architectural Criticism will be held on 9-10, 16-17 October

There are three breaks. Please note that the conference will be recorded and posted.

Participation is free of charge, a maximum of 280 viewers can be accommodated.

The Zoom link for all sessions is https://utexas.zoom.us/j/99569235856

Meeting ID: 995 6923 5856.

For all presenters, including keynote lecturers, session chairs and presenters of papers, please test your connection half an hour before the official start of your session.

Each participant is given an allocated time, including time for Q & As. Please adhere to your allocated time. It is a matter of courtesy to everyone else to keep to your schedule.

ICAC Online: International Conference on Architectural Criticism will be held on 9-10, 16-17 October

Time zones: Central Time: 

08:00 – 11:30

Central Europe:

15:00 – 18:30

South East Asia

21:00 – 00:30 


Session structure:

Greetings: 5 min

Keynote lecture: 30 min

Q&A: 20 min


Break: 5 min

Paper 1: 15 min

Q&A: 10 min

Paper 2: 15 min

Q&A: 10 min

Break: 10 min

Paper 3: 15 min

Q&A: 10 min

Paper 4: 15 min

Q&A: 10 min

No break, straight to

Roundtable: 35 min


Conference program

Saturday, 9. October

Session 1: Origins and Approaches

Session chairs: Ana Tostões and Robert McCarter

ICAC Online: International Conference on Architectural Criticism will be held on 9-10, 16-17 October

Keynote lecture by Frampton, Kenneth 

Tsiambaos, Kostas (Greece): A Critique of Building Construction: On Timber Construction in Pikionis' Acropolis Works 

Voet, Caroline (Flanders): Paradigms of design and deep readings. The creative emancipation of critical building analysis.

Low, Kevin (Germany): The dominant paradigm we call design

van Gerrewey, Christoph (Switzerland): Truth Content: SANAA's Rolex Learning Center


Sunday, 10. October

Session 2: High Culture in Conflict

Session chairs: Louise Noelle Gras and Elias Constantopoulos


Keynote Lecture by Zheng Shiling

Comas, Carlos Eduardo & Almeida, Marcos (Brazil): Niemeyer Do(o)med: Remembrances of Planes past

Hartung, Martin (USA): The New MoMA – Architectural Criticism 1979 – 2019

Costa Cabral, Cláudia (Brazil): On Lina Bo Bardi's Iconography: Three drawings

Zafer, Seda (Turkey): Imported Starchitect in a Local Market


Saturday, 16. October

Session 3: Criticism and its Effects

Session chairs: Hélène Jannière and Wilfried Wang

Keynote lecture by Verde Zein, Ruth

Galjer, Jasna (Croatia): Architectural Criticism in the Space for the Unexpected

Petrakos, K. (Spain): Aphaeresis and Urban Policies

Jorgensen, Morten Birk (Denmark): Verdicts on the Viking Ship Hall

Chaves, Carolina (Britain): Architectural Criticism on Post-WW II Collective Housing: Complicit in an Historical Prejudice?


Sunday, 17. October

Session 4: Explicit Criticism

Session chairs: Şengül Öymen Gür and Fernando Diez

Keynote lecture by Tumubweinee, Philippa

Widder, Lynette (Germany): "The lightest parliament in the world": Hans Schwippert's Bundeshaus

Staub, Alexandra (USA): Whose Architecture? Whose Criticism? Bank of America Tower/2226 Office

Ciarkowski, B. (Poland): The lost battle for memory: Why does architectural criticism in Poland remain silent?

Erkarslan, Özlem Erdoğdu; Altınışık, Burak & Kepekçioğlu, Batu (Turkey): The Urgency of Diversified and Positional Critical Perspectives under the Shadow of Self-Censorship

Top image courtesy of the conference.

> via The University of Texas at Austin