Architecture and Politics: Between Utopia and the Powers or Materiality
April 4, 2019
Olver Design Building
UMass Amherst Campus
Architecture and Politics: Between Utopia and the Powers of Materiality
Antoine Picon is the G. Ware Travelstead Professor of the History of Architecture and Technology and Director of Research at the GSD. He teaches courses in the history and theory of architecture and technology. Trained as an engineer, architect, and historian, Picon works on the history of architectural and urban technologies from the eighteenth century to the present. He has published extensively on this subject. Four of his books are devoted to the transition from early-modern societies to the industrial era: French Architects and Engineers in the Age of Enlightenment (1988 and 1992), Claude Perrault (1988), L'Invention de L'ingénieur moderne (1992), and Les Saint-Simoniens: Raison, Imaginaire, et Utopie (2002).
With La Ville territoire des cyborgs (1998), Picon began to investigate the changes brought to cities and architecture by the development of digital tools and digital culture. Three of his recent books are dealing extensively with this question. Digital Culture in Architecture (2010) offers a comprehensive overview of this important transition. Ornament: The Politics of Architecture and Subjectivity (2013) focuses on the "return" of ornament in digital architecture to further the investigation. Smart Cities: A Spatialised Intelligence (2015) discusses its impact on cities.