Peter Reyner Banham is one of the most relevant architectural and design critics of the 20th century. Join us to celebrate his 100th birthday on March 4 with a symposium, organised as a collaboration between the AA and The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, which will bring together multi-generational duets of scholars and practitioners engaging on themes key to the life and intellectual legacy of the English critic.
The symposium will precede two AA Visiting Schools held from June-July 2022 – “Farewell Reveries” (online) and “A Blighty Safari” (a road trip throughout the UK) – that will reflect on Banham’s passion for travel and field exploration.
Original image by Tim Street-Porter
14:35 / 14:50 – Introduction: Ludovico Centis
14:50 / 15:20 – Society: Adrian Forty & Shumi Bose
15:20 / 15:50 – Modernism: Barbara Penner & Richard Williams
15:50 / 16:20 – Technology: Penny Sparke & Mario Carpo
16:20 / 16:50 – Pedagogy: Alice Twemlow & Curt Gambetta
16:50 / 17:00 – Break
17:00 / 17:30 – Desert: Alessandra Ponte & Kersten Geers
17:30 / 18:00 – Ecology: Paola Viganò & Albert Narath
18:00 / 18:30 – Image: Hadas Steiner & Tim Street-Porter
18:30 / 19:00 – Writing: Roger Conover & Mimi Zeiger
19:00 – Closing comments by Ben Banham
Birthday Cake & Drinks
Shumi Bose is a teacher, curator and editor based in London. She is a senior lecturer in Architecture at UAL Central Saint Martins, and visiting lecturer at the Architectural Association and at the Royal College of Art. She has worked as a curator of exhibitions at the Royal Institute of British Architects, and at the Venice Biennale of Architecture.
Mario Carpo is Reyner Banham Professor of Architectural History and Theory, the Bartlett, University College London, and Professor of Architectural Theory, Die Angewandte (University of Applied Arts), Vienna. Carpo’s research and publications focus on the relationship among architectural theory, cultural history, and the history of media and information technology. His most recent book is The Second Digital Turn: Design Beyond Intelligence (2017).
Ludovico Centis is an architect, founder of the architecture and planning office The Empire and co-founder and editor of the architecture magazine San Rocco. Centis has been the 2013–14 Peter Reyner Banham Fellow at SUNY – University at Buffalo. In 2017, he initiated the on-going exhibition series Reyner Banham: A Set of Actual Tracks. He is a post-doc research fellow at IUAV Venice and visiting school head at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London.
Roger Conover is Executive Editor Emeritus of the MIT Press, where he was responsible for the art and architecture publishing program for over four decades (1977-2019). During that time, he published over 1500 books, including three by Reyner Banham, who appointed him his literary executor in 1988. Roger has curated exhibitions in the USA and Europe, and is a widely published author and poet.
Adrian Forty is Professor Emeritus of Architectural History at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL and Honorary Curator of Architecture at the Royal Academy, London. He is the author of Objects of Desire, Design and Society Since 1750 (1986); Words and Buildings, a Vocabulary of Modern Architecture (2000); Concrete and Culture, a Material History (2012).
Curt Gambetta is a designer and historian whose work focuses on materials in postcolonial India, histories of fieldwork in architecture, and waste infrastructure. He is currently a Visiting Critic at the Cornell School of Architecture, Art, and Planning, and a PhD candidate at Princeton University.
Kersten Geers is an architect and co-founder of the Brussels-based OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen. Geers has been teaching at various institutions, such as the Columbia University GSAPP, Yale School of Architecture, Harvard GSD and EPF Lausanne. He currently holds a professorship at the Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio. Geers frequently publishes articles on architecture, and is a founding member of the architecture magazine San Rocco.
Albert Narath is a historian of modern architecture and design, specialising in the intersection of architectural history, environmental history, and the history of technology. His current book project is Modernism in Mud, which follows the “solar adobe” design movement in the American Southwest during the 1970s. He is an Assistant Professor in the History of Art and Visual Culture Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Barbara Penner is Professor in Architectural Humanities at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, and is currently a Leverhulme Major Research Fellow. She is author of Bathroom (2013) and has co-edited numerous books on gender, space, and architecture. She is a contributing editor of Places Journal.
Alessandra Ponte is Full professor at the École d’architecture, Université de Montréal. Since 2008, she has been responsible for the Phyllis Lambert International Seminar. Curator of the exhibition Total Environment: Montreal 1965-1975 (CCA, Montreal, 2009), she also collaborated to the exhibition and catalogue God & Co: François Dallegret Beyond the Bubble. Her books include The House of Light and Entropy and the series Architecture et Information 2.0.
Penny Sparke is a Professor of Design History at Kingston University, having previously at Brighton Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art. Her books include As Long as It’s Pink: The Sexual Politics of Taste, The Modern Interior, and Nature Inside: Plants and Flowers in the Modern Interior.
Hadas A. Steiner teaches architectural history and theory at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. She is at work on a manuscript, The Accidental Visitant, which studies the interactions between the modern fields of ornithology and architecture. She is also the author of Beyond Archigram (Routledge) and her scholarship has appeared in journals worldwide.
Tim Street-Porter is an internationally recognised photographer who lives and works in Los Angeles. Street-Porter spent 10 years working in London before visiting Los Angeles in early ‘70’s and making it his home in 1977. Street-Porter explored with Reyner Banham the Western American deserts and shot legendary portraits of the British historian and critic. Street-Porter has written and produced five books on architecture.
Alice Twemlow is the Wim Crouwel Special Professor in Graphic Design History, Theory and Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. She is also an associate professor in Artistic Research at Leiden University and research professor at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (KABK). She is the author of Sifting the Trash: A History of Design Criticism, (MIT Press, 2017).
Paola Viganò, architect and urbanist, is Full Professor in Urban Theory and Urban Design at the EPFL (where she directs the Laboratory of Urbanism and the Habitat Research Center) and at IUAV Venice. She received the Grand Prix de l’Urbanisme, the Flemish Award for Architecture, and the Golden medal for the career of Milano Triennale. Together with Bernardo Secchi, she founded Studio (1990-2014), today Studio PaolaViganò.
Richard J. Williams is Professor of Contemporary Visual Cultures at the University of Edinburgh. His recent books include Reyner Banham Revisited (2021), The Culture Factory: Architecture and the Contemporary Art Museum (also 2021) and Why Cities Look the Way They Do (2019). He is writing a book on urban motorways.
Mimi Zeiger is a Los Angeles-based critic, editor, and curator. She is faculty at the Southern California Institute of Architecture and in the Media Design Practices MFA program at Art Center College of Design.