Fulton Center Metro, Manhattan, New York. Grimshaw Architects, 2014. © Douglas Spencer, 2016
ARCH+ Salon

ARCH+ Salon: Presentation of the Book Critique of Architecture

Douglas Spencer in conversation with Harald Trapp
With an introduction by Angelika Schnell
Thursday, March 18, 7 p.m., online-talk in English
Attend the zoom-meeting here (no registration required)
Live stream on Facebook here (no private account required)

On March 18, 7 p.m., the author Douglas Spencer will discuss his latest publication, in which he renews his radical theorization of the relations between capital and architecture, with Harald Trapp, sociologist and architect. Angelika Schnell, professor for architecture theory and history at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, co-editor of Bauwelt Fundamente will introduce both.

Critique of Architecture explicates the theoretical gymnastics through which architecture legitimates its services to neoliberalism, examines the discipline’s production of platforms for happily compliant consumers, and challenges its entrepreneurial self-image. Critique of Architecture also addresses the discourse of autonomy, questioning its capacity to engage effectively with the terms and conditions of capitalism today, analyses the post-political turns of contemporary architecture theory, and reckons with the legacies and limitations of critical theory.

This conversation between Douglas Spencer and Harald Trapp can be seen as a sequel of their talk about “The Architecture of Neoliberalism Disavows Labor” which was first published in German in: ARCH+ 231 The Property Issue (sold out, available as E-Paper here). The English version was published in collaboration with Birkhäuser in the ARCH+ English edition The Property Issue – Politics of Space and Data

Douglas Spencer: Critique of Architecture. Essays on Theory, Autonomy, and Political Economy
In: Bauwelt Fundamente, 168
Birkhäuser, 2021
228 pages, with 30 images, € 29,95
ISBN: 9783035621648

Douglas Spencer is Director of Graduate Education and Pickard Chilton Professor in Iowa State University’s Department of Architecture. He has previously taught at the Architectural Association, the Royal College of Art and the University of Westminster. He has delivered keynote and guest lectures internationally, and contributed essays for publications including Log, The Journal of Architecture, Radical Philosophy, Architectural Design, e-flux, The Avery Review, AA Files, New Geographies, and Volume. He has also contributed chapters for collections such as Architectural Affects after Deleuze and Guattari (Routledge, 2020), Architecture and Feminisms (Routledge, 2017), Landscape and Agency (Routledge, 2017), This Thing Called Theory (Routledge, 2016) and Architecture Against the Post-Political (Routledge, 2014). His The Architecture of Neoliberalism (Bloomsbury 2016) has become a critically acclaimed, widely-cited, and standard point of reference in the analysis of contemporary architecture. His subsequent book, Critique of Architecture: Essays on Theory, Autonomy, and Political Economy, was published by Birkhäuser/Bauwelt Fundamente in 2021.

Harald Trapp is a sociologist and architect. He co-curated and designed the Austrian Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2014. From 2015-2018 he was head of the MArch-programme at the University of East London. Since 2017 he is running the research project Capital Architecture with Prof. Robert Thum, Hochschule Trier. In 2019 he co-founded AKT, a collective of young architects in Vienna. Currently he is a guest professor at the University of Innsbruck, UAC Skopje and teaches at Vienna University of Technology.

Angelika Schnell is professor for architecture theory and history at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. She is co-editor of Bauwelt Fundamente.