Post Ductility: Metals in Architecture and Engineering


Metals, as surface or structure—as the generators of space—play a role in nearly every strain of modernization in architecture. They define complete geographies of work, production and political life. Non-architectural metals delivered in automobiles, and hard goods in the United States and world-wide have all been sourced as the engines of the sprawling late twentieth century city in all of its forms. But in the received aspects of architectural history, metals, and in particular steel, remain less diluted; they are presented as intrinsic to the profession as material precedes concepts—they are carriers of architectural meaning.

Bringing together a wide range of leading architects, engineers, and scholars, the Columbia Conferences on Architecture, Engineering, and Materials are part of a multi-year project to explore the dramatically changing limits of known and new materials in an era of rapid urbanization and within unprecedented forms of technical measurement, coordination, and production that increasingly blur the boundaries of professions and of materials. Do contemporary means of structural and material analysis suggest a way of modeling material attributes such that analysis itself might produce a new material and new practices? Do new techniques create a virtual strain or quasi-alloy, leading to a new realm of coordinated material action and conceptual action?

This conference on metals is the third in a series of conferences on architecture, engineering and materials. The conference explores the boundaries between architecture, engineering and materials science by mobilizing symposia, studios, exhibitions, books and films in an intensely focused investigation. How is a new generation of professionals and manufactures fusing engineering and architectural practices into new platforms for decisive urban action?

— Michael Bell, Professor, Chair,
Columbia Conference on Architecture, Engineering and Materials

The conference will be accompanied by the installation METALSMYTHS
Rosana Rubio-Hernandez, Curator
Alejandro de Castro Mazarro, Assistant Curator
On display in Avery Hall, 200 Level, September 30–October 9

Convened by:
The Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation,
Columbia University in the City of New York
Mark Wigley, Dean
Michael Bell, Professor, Conference Chair

In Collaboration with:
The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science
Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Columbia University
Christian Meyer, Chair and Professor

Steel Institute of New York
Ornamental Metal Institute of New York
American Institute of Steel Construction

Exclusive media sponsor:
The Architect’s Newspaper

Download the Post Ductility Program

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