Five Colleges to Host Contemporary Architecture Symposium Sept. 30-Oct. 1

The Five Colleges will host a virtual symposium called “Multiplicity: Agency, Constraint, And Freedom in Contemporary Architecture” on Sept. 30-Oct. 1, an event that will bring scholars, theorists and architects together to invigorate a conversation around the conditions of architecture today and to imagine its future trajectories.


The event is co-convened by UMass Amherst Associate Professor of Architecture Pari Riahi, Amherst College Professor of French Laure A. Katsaros, and Mount Holyoke College Professor Emeritus of Art History Michael T. Davis.

“Multiplicity” will include two days of panels, lectures and discussions as speakers situate architecture within a broader framework and examine how it interacts with complex climatic, economic and demographic crises. It is the second of three Five College Architecture Symposia on contemporary architecture. “Exactitude” was held virtually in October 2020, “Multiplicity” is taking place in 2022 and “Quickness” is projected for September 2024. Inspired by Italo Calvino’s “Six Memos for the Next Millennium,” the three symposia are autonomous yet interrelated.

In “Exactitude,” the group examined the ever-increasing demand for precision in architecture at a time when the parameters of the profession are shifting, while “Quickness” will address the rates and cycles of architectural production, from early conception to realization, scrutinizing the speed and duration of translating ideas into artifacts through digital and material means.

A full schedule of events may be found at The revised and expanded essays in each symposium will appear in an edited volume by UMass Press. The first of the series, “Exactitude: On Precision and Play in Contemporary Architecture” (UMass Press 2022), is available now.

The symposium is free and open to the public. Register for the live broadcast at