Loeb Lecture: David Gissen with Sara Hendren

Cover of the book

Cover of The Architecture of Disability, University of Minnesota Press (2022)

Event Description

The Architecture of Disability, David Gissen’s newly published book, situates experiences of impairment as a new foundation for the built environment. With its provocative proposal for “the construction of disability,” this book fundamentally reconsiders how we conceive of and experience disability in our world. Gissen will be joined by GSD alum Sara Hendren for a conversation surrounding the publication and how we might look beyond traditional notions of accessibility to positively reimagine the roots of architecture.

CART captioning will be available for in-person attendees. Live captioning and ASL will be available on the live-stream.


Headshot of David Gissen, who wears a gray shirt and jacket.David Gissen is an author, designer, and educator based in New York City, where he is Professor of Architecture and Urban History at The New School University/Parsons School of Design. In 2023, David published the book, The Architecture of Disability–a provocative work of history and theory that draws on his experiences as a disabled practitioner and scholar. His other publications include the books, Subnature (Princeton Architectural Press, 2009) and Manhattan Atmospheres (Minnesota 2013), as well as numerous essays and projects. In addition to his role at The New School, David has held recent distinguished faculty positions as Dean’s Visiting Professor at Columbia University; Eero Saarinen Visiting Professor at Yale University; and University Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria.

Portrait of Sara Hendren.Sara Hendren, MDes ’13, is a humanist in tech—an artist, design researcher, writer, and professor at Northeastern University. Her book What Can A Body Do? How We Meet the Built World explores the places where disability shows up in design at all scales: assistive technology, furniture, architecture, urban planning, and more. It was named one of the Best Books of 2020 by NPR and won the 2021 Science in Society Journalism book prize. Her art and design works have been exhibited on the White House lawn under the Obama presidency, at the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Seoul Museum of Art, the Vitra Museum, and many others, and her work is held in the permanent collections at MoMA and the Cooper Hewitt. She has been an NEH Public Scholar and a fellow at New America, and her commentary and criticism have been published in Art in America, The New York Times, the Washington Post, and elsewhere.

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the Public Programs Office at (617) 496-2414 or [email protected].