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Monthly Archives: October 2014

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The Exhibition Africa Big Change Big Chance has recently opened in La Triennale in Milan curated by Benno Albrecht

Africa Big Change Big Chance is an overview of the architecture and transformations in progress in Africa. The changes affect the control of large numbers, they show huge shifts of people, pressure caused by urbanization, the inappropriate use of natural resources and territories. The transformation – the Big Change – and the opportunity – the Big Chance – reflect the order of prospects available today for a better and sustainable future in Africa. The continent will be the theatre of a new modernity, where a different global and cosmopolitan culture may be developed.

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Jacopo Galli curated the section of the exhibition regarding the Architectures of Modernity presenting 90 projects developed in Africa from 1945 to 2015. TAG member Iain Jackson and Ola Uduku contributed to the exhibition.

The possibility of change is personified by the key players on the African architectural scenario, from the end of World War II to the present. The spotlight turns to the figures involved in design projects committed to proposing a new modernity. Projects are fielded to remedy extreme situations that show the technical horizons of architecture related to passive environmental control. The exceptional nature of these experiments suggests that Africa was – and is – a training ground for a challenging concept of modernity.

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A catalogue has been published by Editrice Compositori both in italian as well as in English and it’s available at this link

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Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative at MIT

How do we teach the global history of architecture? What should we include in our classes and where can we gather the information, knowledge and sources that enable meaningful narratives to emerge? Is the global survey course even possible, or should we be utilising distinct and precise case studies to discuss the global condition instead?

These are just some of the questions that Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative is attempting to answer as well as to create a community of scholars who will share and exchange knowledge to change the way we think about the history of architecture.. The GAHTC has been established by Mark Jarzombek and Vikramāditya Prakāsh with funding provided from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, see http://gahtc.org for more information.

Grants are available for teaching teams to develop new teaching material and modes of teaching that deal with global history, from the beginning of time to the modern. This is a major challenge, but very exciting. In the current round of grants 9 teams have been accepted with the following ambitions:

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Panorama of the participants (photo by Rachel Lee)
  • Architecture and Climate in a Global Perspective – Team Daniel Barber
  • Sites and Networks of Global Modernity – Team Bob Cowherd
  • Globalizing a Humanities Approach to Architectural History – Team Ann C Huppert
  • Scales of Modernity – Team Jonathan Massey
  • The Architecture of Global Modernity, 1000-2000 CE – Team Kenny Cupers
  • The Global Turn: Architecture and the Built Environment Since World War Two – Team Michelangelo Sabatino
  • Technologies of Movement and Communication – Team Shundana Yusaf
  • East Asian Architecture from A Global Perspective: Cultural Transactions and the Development of Traditions – Team Shuishan Yu
  • The Modern Metropolis – Team Eric Mumford

At the first workshop, held in MIT (9th and 10th October 2014), each group gave a presentation that outlined their position and ambition. Most also proposed a distinct module of lectures/seminars and a discussion/critique followed. Day two was composed of a number of workshops that discussed ‘Deliverables and Digitisation’, ‘Pedagogy’, ‘The problem of teaching architecture made before 1800’, and ‘future ambitions’. A digital resource has been developed that will contain some of the data: http://www.timescape.io/login

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Vikram Prakash addressing conference.

Team Daniel Barber became known as the ‘Climate group’  – which is a perfectly accurate and succinct way of describing us, with the caveat that climate is not the only factor to determine the architecture we’re interested in.

We are proposing six themes/lectures, each to be lead by one team member:

“Architecture without Architects” and the Timeless Climatic Type [Albert Narath]

Colonial Architecture and Climate in Africa and Asia [Ola Uduku]

Sanitation, climate and statecraft in colonial societies [Iain Jackson]

Modernism, Climate, and Post-colonial development [Rachel Lee]

Universal Science and International Architecture after World War II [Daniel Barber]

Air Conditioning Takes Command [Jiat-Hwee Chang]

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Panorama of the Participants (photo by Rachel Lee)

TAG will continue to track the developments of GAHTC and to report on future developments…