THE BUILDING: Part Two Review

by Etien Santiago (PhD candidate at Harvard)

31 July 2014
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

 

Egoistic Doctoral Research has left “The Building.”

 

Participants of The Building gather around the table to discuss Image credit: Etien Santiago

Participants of The Building gather around the table to discuss
Image credit: Etien Santiago

Colloquia and presentations by architecture PhD students usually obey an unwritten protocol that prescribes meekness, tedious fact-checking, reserved standoffishness, a quick reflex for apologising, a general reluctance to take intellectual risks, and esoteric specialisation. However, “The Building” conference held at the AA on 2 June 2014 constituted an entirely different kind of beast.

 

 

 

 

 

There I encountered a spirited light-heartedness, an uncanny naturalness, and a feeling of camaraderie which belied the fact that many of the participants had just met for the first time. Students and faculty alike graciously plunged into the melee with no regard for academic rank or age, much like a group of long-lost friends resuming an interrupted conversation.

 

The conversation continues over lunch Image credit: Etien Santiago

The conversation continues over lunch
Image credit: Etien Santiago

Besides the tone, the content too linked us as co-conspirators. Rather than getting weighed down amidst a miasma of varied subjects and methodological issues, the conversation moved smoothly across architectural topics we all could relate to. My visceral delight at listening to the brisk presentations and repartee about fascinating building designs almost obscured the lingering realisation that we had, on the whole, left by the wayside the higher challenge originally posed to us by the organisers: how can architecture and its analysis reconfigure the terrain of thought available not only to it, but also to other fields? This is by no means a simple question, and cogent attempts to answer it will, in my opinion, require precisely the kind of combined, collegial effort that “The Building” began to construct.

 

For more information:

The Building: Part One by Gabriela Garcia de Cortazar

The Building

AA PhD Programme

PhD Programme on Projects Review 2014

Harvard GSD PhD programme