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Bartlett International Lecture Series / Vera Bühlmann / MARCH 14

  • The Christopher Ingold Auditorium (accessed through The Bartlett School of Architecture), 20 Gordon Street London, WC1H 0AJ United Kingdom (map)

A Treatise on the Current Condition of Architecture Theory 


"Critique has run out of steam, Bruno Latour recently claimed. This lecture will reformulate Latour’s observation by leaving his thermodynamic paradigm of intellectual work (steam engine) in favour of a quantum physical one. It will consider the condition of critique in the register of exhaustion rather than that of running out of energy.

To exhaust oneself is not quite the same as getting tired.

The lecture proposes a treatise for architecture theory in the age(dness) of computational reason. It takes speaking of an architecture "Big Bang" (Koolhaas) at face value and relates it to how contemporary science at large has changed its character: science no longer identifies its objects in terms of universal forms that are timeless.

Instead, the universe itself is attributed an objectively datable 'nature', such as 4.5 billion years old in the case of the Earth. Time in such dating is counted atomistically, rather than linearly or circularly, and this lecture will ask what such thinking about time entails for architecture and architecture theory.

The guiding question will be: How can we learn to think in the registers of a material notion of universality that is qualified by agedness, and how can the subject of theory relate critically to its own objective conditions (its own temper, its own juvenilia, maturity, and seniority) in doing so?"


Full Programme