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Architecture Inside/Out Workshop #02

Between Catastrophe and Shangri-La: Sustainable Architecture

Volker M. Welter, Department of the History of Art and Architecture, University of California Santa Barbara

Taking a long view on the history of sustainable architecture, Welter will present his recent research which focuses on two points: first, the relation between sustainable architecture and catastrophes and disasters– real and perceived; and, second, how architects have incorporated sustainability into the subject matter of the profession in recent years. If the 1950s and 1960s architecture lost its sense of social mission, leaving us with an architecture that seeks 'eye popping intrusion' into the urban realm, sustainability has allowed architects to reclaim a comparable sense of mission. Looking at icons of sustainable architecture, comparable perhaps only to the international white cubes of the 1920s and 1920s, Welter sees much of what dresses up today as sustainable architecture wearing underneath its fashionable clothing traditional modernist convictions.

Volker Welter studied architecture at the Technical University of Berlin and received his PhD from the University of Edinburgh. He has published extensively on urban and architectural history from Patrick Geddes to Team X. His most recent book is Biopolis: Patrick Geddes and the City of Life (MIT 2002). 

This Workshop discussion continues the Architecture Insidel/Out Project, an interface for discussion about notions of insides and outsides in architectural discourse.

Coordinated by the PhD students in architecture history and theory at the GSAPP. Sponsored by GSAPP, the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture, and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.