The Open University’s Course A305 and the Future of Architecture Education

Image of a woman watching Open University course about about Architecture on her tv set.

Taking The Open University‘s Course A305 as a starting point, this panel discussion will examine and interrogate experimental, open, and technological possibilities for the future of architecture education. Participants include Tim Benton, Lisa Haber-Thomson, K. Michael Hays, John May, and Mirko Zardini.

Tim Benton is Professor Emeritus of Art History at the Open University.  In 2008 he was visiting Professor in the Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University. In 2009 he was the Robert Sterling Clark Visiting Professor of Art History at Williams College, Massachussetts. From 2010, he was visiting Professor at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

Lisa Haber-Thomson is a PhD candidate in Architectural History and Theory. Her research explores the intersecting relationships between territory, law, and architecture. She is currently completing her dissertation, Territories of incarceration: architecture and judicial procedure across the English Channel, 1642-1945. Past research has examined the legal significance of a variety of architectural structures, and has ranged from an analysis of the use of watermills in medieval property disputes, to a study of the contemporary usages of Maginot Line casemates in eastern France. Lisa has been the recipient of the Julia A. Appleton Traveling Fellowship in Architecture, and the Frederick Sheldon Fund Traveling Fellowship. Additional support for her research has been awarded by the Soane Foundation and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.

Lisa has a Masters in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and a Bachelor of Arts in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard University. Prior to beginning her PhD program, Lisa worked as an intern architect at Ateliers Jean Nouvel; as a video and sound editor for the Science Media Group; and as a freelance animator and sound designer. Continuing work in educational video production includes the design and implementation of the online course, The Architectural Imagination, a co-production of HarvardX and the GSD.

K. Michael Hays is Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Hays joined the Faculty of Design in 1988, teaching courses in architectural history and theory. Hays has played a central role in the development of the field of architectural theory and his work is internationally known. His research and scholarship have focused on the areas of European modernism and critical theory as well as on theoretical issues in contemporary architectural practice. He has published on the work of modern architects, as well as on contemporary figures. Hays was the founder of the scholarly journal Assemblage, which was a leading forum of discussion of architectural theory in North America and Europe. From 1995 to 2005 he was Chair of the PhD Committee and Director of the GSD’s Advanced Independent Study Programs. In 2000 he was appointed the first Adjunct Curator of Architecture at the Whitney Museum of American Art, a position he held until 2009.

John May is founding partner, with Zeina Koreitem, of MILLIØNS, an award-winning Los Angeles-based design practice. MILLIØNS’ experimental and speculative projects have been featured in solo and group exhibitions at Friedman Benda Gallery, the Storefront for Art and Architecture, The Architecture + Design Museum of Los Angeles, Jai & Jai Los Angeles, Yale University, the MIT Keller Gallery, and the Museum of the City of New York. May’s publications include New Massings for New Masses: Collectivity After Orthography (MIT SA+P Press, 2015); Signal. Image. Architecture (Columbia, forthcoming 2019); and The Instruments Project: Architecture and Evidence (Minnesota, forthcoming 2019, co-edited with Zeynep Çelik Alexander). His essays and interviews on the technical and political dimensions of contemporary design have appeared in Log, Perspecta, Praxis, Harvard Design Magazine, MIT Thresholds, Project, Quaderns, and New Geographies, among many others. He previously served as faculty at MIT, UCLA, and SCI-Arc, and was named 2012 National Endowment for the Humanities Visiting Professor in Architecture at Rice University. May holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Visual Art from the College of William and Mary, a Master of Architecture from Harvard GSD, and a doctorate in Geography and Environmental Studies from UCLA.

Mirko Zardini is an architect and Director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture since 2005. Exhibitions by Zardini—or in collaboration with Giovanna Borasi—include Asfalto: Il carattere della cittá (2003) presented in Milan; out of the box: price rossi stirling + matta-clark (2003), Sense of the City (2005), 1973: Sorry, Out of Gas (2007), Actions: What You Can Do With the City (2008), Other Space Odysseys: Greg Lynn, Michael Maltzan, Alessandro Poli (2010), Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture (2011), and Rooms You May Have Missed: Bijoy Jain, Umberto Riva (2014) presented at the CCA in Montreal. Editor of Casabella magazine from 1983 to 1988 and Lotus International from 1988 to 1999, Zardini served on the editorial board of Domus in 2004 and 2005. His research on the urban fabric and context of Italy and Switzerland resulted in the publications Paesaggi ibridi (Milan: Skira, 1996) and Annähernd perfekte Peripherie (Basel: Birkhäuser, 2001). His writings have appeared in journals such as Lotus International, Casabella, ANY, Archis, El Croquis, L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui, Domus, Log, and Volume. Zardini has taught design and theory at architecture schools in Europe and the United States, including Harvard GSD, Princeton University SoA, Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio, ETH Zurich, EPFL Lausanne, University of Miami, and Syracuse University.

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