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Multiplicity: Speakers

Intersecting Visions: The New, The Preserved, and The Adapted Urban(s)

Photograph of Kristi Cherami

Kristi Cheramie

Kristi Cheramie is Professor and Head of Landscape Architecture at Ohio State University’s Knowlton School. Her research explores the ways we use building to respond to and cope with the inevitable paradoxes and entanglements of an ever-fluctuating environment. Her work reconstructs the historical systems, scales, and materials that give rise to adaptability and transformation in the landscape, revealing interconnections between story, memory, ground, and time. Cheramie’s research values an interdisciplinary worldview and has been consistently recognized for this through awards that support boundary-crossing work, publications that encourage multidisciplinary approaches to the built environment, and design competitions assessed by juries comprised of diverse and multiple voices. In 2016-2017, Cheramie received the Rome Prize in Landscape Architecture from the American Academy in Rome, where she examined early modern notions of environmentalism as related to perceptions of flooding, climate exigencies, and debris. Her first book, Through Time and the City: Notes on Rome (Routledge, 2020), outlines a reading of the city that moves beyond discrete sites to see the city as a constant staging of negotiations between material agents that drive and are driven by geological, climatological, and social processes.


Multiplicity means trouble.
Now, it should be stated at the outset that I think of this as good trouble, the best and most generative trouble. But trouble nonetheless.
One need only look to the persistent and pernicious conceptions of an American Nature to see...(Read More Here)

Rahul Mehrotra

Rahul Mehrotra

Rahul Mehrotra is a  Professor of Urban Design and Planning and the John T. Dunlop Professor in Housing and Urbanization at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. He is the  founder principal of RMA Architects which has studios in Mumbai and Boston. RMA Architects was founded in 1990 and has designed and executed projects including government and private institutions, corporate workplaces, private homes, and unsolicited projects driven by the firm’s commitment to advocacy in the city of Mumbai. In 2012-2015, he led a Harvard University-wide research project with Professor Diana Eck, called "The Kumbh Mela: Mapping the Ephemeral Mega City." This work was published as a book in 2014 and the research extended in 2017 in the form of a book titled Does Permanence Matter? Mehrotra also co-authored a book titled Taj Mahal: Multiple Narratives which was published in Dec 2017. Mehrotra’s most recent books are titled Working in Mumbai (2020) and The Kinetic City and Other Essays ( 2021). The former a reflection on his practice evolved through its association with the city of Bombay/Mumbai. The second book presents Mehrotra’s writings over the last thirty years and illustrates his long-term engagement with and analysis of urbanism in India. This work has given rise to a new conceptualization of the city which Mehrotra calls the Kinetic City.  


Today, flux and uncertainty characterize our planetary condition. Flux is present in our climatic, political, economic, and cultural circumstances. The lecture will focus on the question of understanding the nature of flux and its implications for architecture within the larger culture of how the profession and the academy situate these questions...(Read More Here)

Photograph of Charles Waldheim

Charles Waldheim

Charles Waldheim is a North American architect and urbanist based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Waldheim’s research examines the relationships between landscape, ecology, and contemporary urbanism. On these topics, Waldheim is author, editor, or co-editor of numerous publications on these topics, including Landscape as Urbanism: A General Theory (Princeton University Press) and The Landscape Urbanism Reader (Princeton Architectural Press). Waldheim developed the theory of landscape urbanism in response to the industrial economies and emergent ecologies of the American city. On this topic, he curates the Harvard GSD’s Future of the American City platform with support from the Knight Foundation. Waldheim is John E. Irving Professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design where he directs the school’s Office for Urbanization. He also serves as the Ruettgers Curator of Landscape at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston where he convenes The Larger (Landscape) Conversation. Waldheim is recipient of the Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome; the Visiting Scholar Research Fellowship at the Canadian Centre for Architecture; the Sanders Fellowship at the University of Michigan; and the Cullinan Chair at Rice University. He has been a visiting scholar at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London and the Bauhaus Foundation in Dessau, Germany. In addition to his research, Waldheim advises public and private clients on questions of contemporary urbanism and collaborates with multi-disciplinary teams on urban projects around the world. His work has been published, exhibited, and presented internationally, and he has collaborated on urban projects with a range of leading designers including the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, Morphosis, Gross.Max., Preston Scott Cohen, Stoss Landscape Urbanism, and James Corner Field Operations, among others.


China’s rapid urbanization has built upon and been enabled by its agricultural countryside. As China has urbanized, its rural villages and landscapes have been subject to increasing pressures, both local and distant. These pressures include economic disparities and environmental degradations as well as demographic shifts and societal inequities...(Read More Here)

Affirming Forces: Race, Ethnicity, and Power

Photograph of Esra Akcan

Esra Akcan

Esra Akcan is a Professor and the Michael A. McCarthy Professor of Architectural Theory in the Department of Architecture at Cornell University. She completed her architecture degree at the Middle East Technical University in Turkey, and her Ph.D. and postdoctoral degrees at Columbia University in New York. She taught at UI-Chicago, Humboldt University in Berlin, Columbia University, New School, and Pratt Institute in New York, and METU in Ankara. Akcan received awards and fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard University, Graham Foundation (3 times grantee), Canadian Center for Architecture (2 times scholar), American Academy in Berlin, UIC, Institute for Advanced Studies in Berlin, Clark Institute, Getty Research Institute, CAA, Mellon Foundation, DAAD and KRESS/ARIT. She is the author of Landfill Istanbul: Twelve Scenarios for a Global City (124/3, 2004), Architecture in Translation: Germany, Turkey and the Modern House (Duke UP, 2012); Turkey: Modern Architectures in History (Reaktion/Chicago UP, 2012, with Sibel Bozdoğan); Open Architecture: Migration, Citizenship and the Urban Renewal of Berlin-Kreuzberg by IBA-1984/87 (Birkhäuser/De Gruyter UP, 2018), and Abolish Human Bans: Intertwined Histories of Architecture (CCA, 2022). Currently, she is editing Migration and Discrimination (with Iftikhar Dadi) and writing Right-to-Heal: Architecture in Transitions After Conflicts and Disasters.


This talk identifies our time as an era awaiting for transitional justice and energy transition. It explores architecture’s role in healing societies after conflicts and disasters by discussing buildings and spaces in relation to these transitions-to-come. To insist on imagining a better future may be the most meaningful resistance...(Read More Here)

Photograph of Charles Davis

Charles Davis II

Charles L. Davis II is an associate professor of architectural history and criticism at UT Austin. He received his PhD in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and has an M.Arch from the SUNY Buffalo. His academic research excavates the role of racial identity and race thinking in architectural history and contemporary design culture. His current book project, tentatively entitled “Black By Design: An Interdisciplinary History of Making in Modern America” recovers the overlooked contributions of black artists and architects in shaping the built environment from the Harlem Renaissance to Black Lives Matter. Charles is the co-editor of Race and Modern Architecture: A Critical History from the Enlightenment to the Present (University of Pittsburgh, 2020), which traces the historical influence of race thinking in modern architectural discourses. His book manuscript, Building Character: The Racial Politics of Modern Architectural Style (University of Pittsburgh, 2019) traces the historical integrations of race and style theory in paradigms of “architectural organicism,” or movements that modeled design on the generative principles of nature.


Italo Calvino was one of several postwar Italian scholars to explore the latent productivity of architecture as a literary cipher for the hidden sentiments, anxieties, and structural tendencies of western modernity. His career was shaped within an intellectual context marked by an expansion of writerly genres of architectural criticism...(Read More Here)

Photograph of David Theodore

David Theodore

David Theodore is the Canada Research Chair in Architecture, Health, and Computation at the Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture, McGill University. His research has received support from CIHR, the Graham Foundation, SSHRC, and the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. He has co-published on the history of healthcare architecture in Social Science & Medicine, Technology and Culture, and the Canadian Bulletin of Medical History. He has also contributed to design journals worldwide including Canadian Architect, Frame, e-flux, Harvard Design Magazine, JAE, Log, and the RIBA Journal. Along with T B A he presented Impostor Cities as the official Canadian entry for the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.


This paper explores the role of architecture and computer technologies in the history of the North American carceral state. The concern is that multiple technologies affirm and mediate the processes through which the state creates socially marginalized people: buildings and computers help subject citizens to penal regimes...(Read More Here)

Novel Methodologies and Processes: Theories for an Expanded Practice

photo of Ana Miljaki

Ana Miljački

Ana Miljački is a critic, curator and Professor of Architecture at MIT, where she teaches history, theory and design. She co-curated the US Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale with Eva Franch I Gilabert and Ashley Schafer. Her Un/Fair Use, an exhibition with Sarah Hirschman was on the view at the Center for Architecture in New York in the fall of 2015 and at Berkeley University’s Wuster Gallery in 2016. In 2018 Miljački launched the Critical Broadcasting Lab (CBL) at MIT, engaged in critical curatorial and broadcasting work, including an ongoing radio show titled "Conversations on Care." CBL’s “Sharing Trainers” was included in the São Paulo Architecture Biennale in the fall of 2019, its “Play Room” exhibition was in display at the Keller Gallery at MIT in the Spring of 2020. Miljački is the author of The Optimum Imperative: Czech Architecture for the Socialist Lifestyle 1938-1968 (Routledge, 2017), co-editor of the OfficeUS series of books, guest editor of Praxis 14: True Stories, the editor of Terms of Appropriation: Modern and Architecture and Global Exchange with Amanda Reeser Lawrence (Routledge, 2018), as well as of The Under the Influence symposium proceedings (Actar, 2019). She is currently guest co-editing Log 54: Coauthorship, as well as the issue 76.2 of JAE titled: Pedagogies for a Broken World.


The work of the Critical Broadcasting Lab engages the question of multiplicities in two different ways. It is situated in and comments on an expanded mediatic context, in which messages about architecture refract through different media and towards different audiences — which in turn modifies those messages....(Read More Here)

Photograph of Jessie Reiser

Jesse Reiser

Jesse Reiser is an architect, principal of Reiser+Umemoto, RUR Architecture, and a Professor of Architecture at Princeton University. He was a fellow of the American Academy in Rome in 1985, and he trained in the offices of John Hejduk and Aldo Rossi prior to forming his office with Nanako Umemoto. Since then, he has overseen the design of O-14, a 22-story office tower in Dubai; the forthcoming Kaohsiung Port Terminal; and the recently completed Taipei Music Center, an innovative cultural district for Taiwan’s burgeoning music industry. Jesse has previously taught at various schools in the US and Asia, including Columbia University, Yale University, Ohio State University, and Hong Kong University, and he has lectured widely at various educational and cultural institutions throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. He is also an honorary fellow at the University of Tokyo’s School of Engineering. Awards and honors include the Chrysler Award for Excellence in Design, the Academy Award in Architecture by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Presidential Citation and John Hejduk Award from the Cooper Union, and the USA Booth Fellowship from United States Artists for Architecture & Design. 


The 11-year gestation of the Taipei Music Center, a new cultural district on the outskirts of Taipei, suggests an expanded mode of architectural practice whereby architectural form impacts and negotiates a broader political, environmental, economic, social, and cultural landscape. Though these spheres typically reside outside...(Read More Here)

Photograph of Jenny Sabin

Jenny Sabin

Jenny E. Sabin is an architectural designer whose work is at the forefront of a new direction for 21st century architectural practice — one that investigates the intersections of architecture and science and applies insights and theories from biology and mathematics to the design of responsive material structures and adaptive architecture. Sabin is the Arthur L. and Isabel B. Wiesenberger Professor in Architecture and Associate Dean for Design at the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning at Cornell University where she established a new advanced research degree in Matter Design Computation. She is principal of Jenny Sabin Studio, an experimental architectural design studio based in Ithaca and Director of the Sabin Lab at Cornell AAP. Her book, LabStudio: Design Research Between Architecture and Biology co-authored with Peter Lloyd Jones was published in 2017. Sabin won MoMA & MoMA PS1’s Young Architects Program with her submission, Lumen, 2017.


Design & technology have never been more important. A beleaguered planet still in the depths of a pandemic and an urgent climate emergency demand that design and technology integrate to cultivate new collaborative models and transformative, highly creative applications to comprehend key social, environmental, and technological issues...(Read More Here)

Overlapping Spheres: Environmental Humanities and the Built Environment

Lucia Allais

After Concrete is an interdisciplinary research project directed by Lucia Allais and Forrest Meggers. Once conceived as the quintessentially modernist material, a veritable “liquid stone” that announced the arrival of an eternal present, reinforced concrete should be reconceptualized in energetic and environmental terms, to account for the fact that it is in fact a highly dynamic technological system, subject to inevitable failure. Allais will present one aspect of this rethinking, based on research about the “carbonation equation,” its history and its impact. First proposed in 1928 based on research begun in 1911, then published internationally in 1968, and today fully incorporated into the field of materials science engineering, this equation marked a major transition in the understanding of reinforced concrete: from thinking of reinforced concrete as a permanent material, to realizing that it is explicitly impermanent, an assemblage that inevitably decomposes into its constituent parts. Allais and Meggers address this transformation and the need for greater interrelation between architectural and scientific knowledge in producing narratives of anthropogenic change.


We tend to think of multiplicities as structured like a network: fibrous, webbed, light and elastic. But if we look at architectural design through an environmental lens, we find not only supple nets and free-flowing spaces: we find that environmental forces are congealed...(Read More Here)

Aleksandra Jaeschke

Aleksandra Jaeschke is an architect and an assistant professor at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture. A licensed architect in Italy, she holds an AA Diploma from the Architectural Association in London and a Doctor of Design degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. 
Jaeschke’s interests range from ecological science and thought, through definitions and models for sustainability in architecture, to systems theory and cross-scalar integrative design strategies. A book based on her doctoral dissertation The Greening of America’s Building Codes: Promises and Paradoxes is forthcoming with Princeton Architectural Press in 2022.
She was the winner of the DigitalFUTURES's 2021 Mark Cousins Theory Award given to "a leading theorist in architecture and design who has over the past year represented the future thinking of the field." She has recently contributed to LOG 51, and participated in Log’rithms, an event series held in the Italian Virtual Pavilion at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale.
Jaeschke was the winner of the Harvard GSD’s 2019 Wheelwright Prize. Her proposal and ongoing research, “Under Wraps: Architecture and Culture of Greenhouses,” explores the ecological, cultural, and spiritual implications of the ever more pervasive use of greenhouses in agriculture, horticulture, conservation, and leisure. 


Italian writer Italo Calvino foresaw "two paths forward for the novel: either to ‘become implicated into networks of relations’ or to ‘understand things in their multiplicity of codes and levels’ from a distance.” I suggest that to understand and address architecture’s contribution to the various crises of our times, architects must learn how to alternate between...(Read More Here)

Sanford Kwinter


Jennifer Mack

Jennifer Mack is Associate Professor and Docent at KTH Stockholm and a Pro Futura Scientia Fellow of the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study. Broadly, Mack’s work links theories and methods from architectural history and anthropology to investigate questions of equality, power, ecology, and social change in the built environment. Her current research focuses on Nordic modernist suburbs built during the second half of the 20th century and their green, open, and public spaces. Mack’s book The Construction of Equality: Syriac Immigration and the Swedish City (University of Minnesota Press) received the Margaret Mead Award from SfAA/AAA in 2018. She has co-edited the anthologies Rethinking the Social in Architecture (Actar, 2019) and Life Among Urban Planners (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020) and is a member of the editorial board of Thresholds. Mack holds a PhD (Architecture, Urbanism, and Anthropology) from Harvard University and an MArch and MCP from MIT.


In the face of dystopian climate futures, contemporary planning models often promote “sustainability” or “greening.” In the Nordic countries, however, neighborhood designs predicated on symbioses between architecture and nature have a much longer history: architects, landscape architects, and planners have detailed intimate relations between residents...(Read More Here)