“The Architecture of Democracy”

An aerial view of the Lincoln Memorial and nearby construction in Washington D.C.

View of Resurrection City site from Washington Monument, 1968. Architects: Tunney Lee (American, 1931-), John Wiebenson (American, 1935-2003), James Goodell (American, Mid 20th Century-), and Kenneth Jadin (American, Mid 20th Century-). (c) Tunney Lee

The GSD is pleased to present a series of talks and webinars broadcast to our audiences via Zoom.

*This lecture will be ONLINE ONLY. For security reasons, virtual attendees must register. Scroll down to find complete instructions for how to register.

Event Description

In the week before the U.S. general election, Harvard and MIT will share a public discussion on the role of architecture in a representative democracy. Azra Aksamija, Michelle Chang, Nicholas de Monchaux, Iman Fayyad, Huma Gupta, Mark Lee, Rafi Segal, and Yasmin Vobis will join in dialogue on the profession’s role in supporting democratic society, now and in the future.

This event is convened by Mark Lee and Nicholas de Monchaux and is a collaboration between the GSD Department of Architecture and MIT Department of Architecture. Follow @harvardGSD and @mitarchitecture.

Screenshot of a Iman Fayyad presenting on Zoom. Fayyad is visible in the top right corner of the image. The presentation shows two images of the U.S. Capitol Building.

Screenshot of a panel discussion on Zoom. There are 8 windows showing the 8 participants in the event.


Headshot of Azra Aksamija.
Azra Aksamija. Credit Angelika Mende, 2018

Azra Aksamija, PhD is an artist and architectural historian. She the founding Director of theMIT Future Heritage Lab (FHL) and an Associate Professor in the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT). Her work explores how social life is affected by cultural bias and by the deterioration and destruction of cultural infrastructures within the context of conflict, migration, and forced displacement. [MORE]

Headshot of Michelle Change.Michelle Chang directs JaJa Co and teaches architectural design. She founded her independent practice in 2014 after working in offices in New York, Boston, and San Francisco. Her design work experiments with the overlaps between and among film, installation, music, teaching, and building. Chang is a former MacDowell Colony Fellow, Wortham Fellow, and a recipient of the Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers. [MORE]

Headshot of Nicholas de Monchaux.Nicholas de Monchaux is Professor and Head of Architecture at MIT. He is  a partner in the architecture practice modem, and a founder of the design technology company Local Software. Until 2020 he was Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, and Craigslist Distinguished Chair in New Media at UC Berkeley, where he also served as Director of the Berkeley Center for New Media. [MORE]

Headshot of Iman Fayyad.

Iman Fayyad is a designer and lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Her independent research practice uses techniques of geometry to facilitate design transformations across scales, subjects, and media. Centered on the relationship between flatness and three-dimensional form, the work celebrates the ubiquity of projective systems to relate the tectonic and material expression of architecture with modes of inhabitation, perception of space, andthe political domain in which architecture functions. [MORE]

Headshot of Huma Gupta.Huma Gupta is the Neubauer Junior Research Fellow at Brandeis University. She is currently writing two books that deal with the political economy of architecture and urban development, titled The Architecture of Dispossession and Dwelling and the Wealth of Nations. She received her Ph.D. in History, Theory & Criticism of Architecture from MIT in 2020, where she was a fellow in the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture. [MORE]

Headshot of Mark Lee.Mark Lee is a principal and founding partner of the Los Angeles-based architecture firm Johnston Marklee. Since its establishment in 1998, Johnston Marklee has been recognized nationally and internationally with over 30 major awards. A book on the work of the firm, entitled HOUSE IS A HOUSE IS A HOUSE IS A HOUSE IS A HOUSE, was published by Birkhauser in 2016. [MORE]

Headshot of Rafi Segal.
Rafi Segal. © Bryce Vickmark. All rights reserved.

Rafi Segal is an architect and Associate Professor of Architecture and Urbanism at MIT where he directs the SMArchS Urbanism program. His work involves design and research on the architectural, urban and regional scale, currently focused on how emerging notions of collectivity can impact architecture and the design of cities. Segal directs Future Urban Collectives, a new design-research lab at MIT that explores the relation between digital platforms and physical communities asking how architecture and urbanism can support and scale cohabitation, coproduction, and coexistence. [MORE]

Headshot of Yasmin Vobis, dressed in all black and standing in from of a painted black circle on canvas.Yasmin Vobis is co-founder of Ultramoderne, an office committed to creating architecture and public spaces that are at once modern, playful, and generous. Their view that architecture is not a boutique luxury but plays an important role in all aspects of urban life, has driven them to mine the rich possibilities for contact between the discipline and the everyday. [MORE]

How to Join

Register to attend the panel discussion here. Once you have registered, you will be provided with a link to join the lecture via Zoom. This link will also be emailed to you.

The event will also be live streamed to the GSD’s YouTube page. Only viewers who are attending the lecture via Zoom will be able to submit questions for the Q+A. If you would like to submit questions for the speakers in advance of the event, please click here.

Live captioning will be provided during this event. A transcript will be available roughly two weeks after the event, upon request.

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