OCAD University

Established scholars and emerging thinkers converge

in Toronto for Architecture is All Over

(Toronto — February 8, 2011) OCAD University is proud to support the sold-out transdisciplinary symposium Architecture is All Over, examining the pathology, ubiquity and negentropic potential of architecture, to take place on Saturday, February 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto.

Co-organized by Esther Choi, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Criticism & Curatorial Practices and Photography at OCAD U, and Marrikka Trotter, co-founder and editor of Work Books, Architecture is All Over is an international symposium featuring provocative papers from emerging thinkers and challenging conversations between established scholars both within and outside the discipline of architecture. In addition to presentations from Choi and Trotter, the symposium features an impressive panel of experts from around the world, including:

  • Dr. D. Graham Burnett, Professor of History and History of Science at Princeton University and an editor at Cabinet magazine;
  • Dr. Jill H. Casid, Associate Professor of Visual Culture Studies in the Department of Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison;
  • Dr. Sara Diamond, President, OCAD University;
  • Dr. David Gissen, Associate Professor of Architecture and Visual Studies and the Coordinator of the history/theory curriculum for architecture at the California College of the Arts;
  • Dr. K. Michael Hays, Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory at Harvard University Graduate School of Design;
  • Patty Heyda, Assistant Professor in Urban Design & Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis;
  • Dr. Sanford Kwinter, Professor of Architectural Theory and Criticism at Harvard University Graduate School of Design and co-director of the Master in Design Studies program;
  • Jennifer W. Leung, Critic at the Yale School of Architecture and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Architecture at Columbia GSAPP;
  • Trevor Patt, Researcher and Instructor at the Media X Design Lab in the School of Computer and Communications Science and School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland;
  • Dr. Andrew Payne, Senior Lecturer in the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto, where he also teaches in the Literary Studies Program;
  • Richard Sommer, Dean, John H. Daniels School of Architecture Landscape and Design, University of Toronto;
  • Olga Touloumi, an architectural historian in training, studying the disciplining of architecture in its marginal engagements with the arts and the sciences, and a PhD Candidate at Harvard University;
  • Mason White, Assistant Professor in the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto;
  • Alexander Hilton Wood, a graduate student in the S.M.Arch.S. Program in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Art and Architecture at the MIT School of Architecture and Planning.

All contributions will offer new ways to analyze, re-imagine and foment architecture’s paradoxical contraction and expansion as it both affects and is affected by a larger milieu, and is situated within a range of spatial practices.

The first of three sessions, The Pathology of Architecture will explore architecture’s (in)ability to cope with the challenges and contradictions inherent in its own indeterminate identity. Mason White (University of Toronto) will discuss how other practices have poached terms and territory from architecture as a disciplinary agent. Jennifer Leung (Yale) will examine the architectural responses to existential external threats and internal weaknesses, focusing on the strategies of heraldry, camouflage and risk. A psychoanalytic conversation between the architectural theorists, K. Michael Hays (Harvard) and Andrew Payne (University of Toronto) will close the session.

The Nebulous and the Infinitesimal will survey architecture’s simultaneous tendencies to both expand and evaporate. Alexander Hilton-Wood (MIT) will present the case for smallness in architecture. Olga Touloumi (Harvard) will take on the surprising power of architecture as electronic media. To conclude this session, the historian of science, D. Graham Burnett (Princeton), and architectural theorist, David Gissen (California College of the Arts), will discuss alternative architectural approaches to environmental modification that recognize our dawning apperception of our agential extension.

Finally, Negentropic Machines will feature speculative proposals for architecture as it could become. It will include a presentation by Patty Heyda (Washington University in St. Louis) arguing for architecture’s emergence in the waste zones created by large-scale urban infrastructural development, and a provocation by Trevor Patt (EPFL) about the agonistic potential of a forgetful, generic architectural interface. A conversation between the architectural theorist, Sanford Kwinter (Harvard), and the historian and theorist of visual culture, Jill Casid (University of Wisconsin-Madison), will explore how architectural discourse might formulate new, critical and interpretive vantages capable of reimagining the monstrous actions we release into the world as possibilities rather than pathogens.

Architecture is All Over is made possible through the financial support of OCAD University, Office of the President; University of Toronto John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design; in conjunction with the Social Sciences Humanities Research Council of Canada and Bohart.

Architecture is All Over
Saturday, February 12, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
TIFF Bell Lightbox
Reitman Square, 350 King Street West, Toronto

Organizer Biographies
Esther Choi is Assistant Professor in the Departments of Criticism & Curatorial Practices and Photography at OCAD University, an artist, and the co-founder and editor of Work Books. She is the co-editor of Architecture at the Edge of Everything Else (Work Books / MIT Press, 2010). Her current work explores the collision between empiricism and biopolitics in a range of postwar spatial practices within architecture and the visual arts.

Marrikka Trotter
is a PhD student in Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the co-founder and editor of Work Books, and the founder of the Boston-based art and design initiative, The Department of Micro-Urbanism. She is the co-editor of Architecture at the Edge of Everything Else (Work Books / MIT Press, 2010). Her current work examines the problematic yet productive intersection between aesthetic and geological notions of form and formation in topographical and architectural discourse at the turn of the nineteenth century.

Presenter biographies and a complete schedule of events.

About OCAD University (OCAD U)
OCAD University (www.ocad.ca) is Canada’s “University of the Imagination.” The University, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

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For more information contact:

While the symposium is sold out, members of the media interested in interviews or attendance may contact conference organizer Esther Choi.

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416-977-6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)

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