Seminario Internacional de Investigación en Urbanismo
Paper: "Whatever Happened to Aesthetics within Urbanism? Oblivion or Prejudice?”
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain
June 16 - 17, 2022
Most contemporary architectural and urban debates have overlooked, if not diminished, the critical character of aesthetics as branch of philosophy and mediator of our social interactions. Urban transformations entail social, economic, environmental, political, technological, psychological, and aesthetics changes. Thus, the ubiquity of aesthetics demands more sophisticated critical methods to counter the pragmatism and technocratic approaches within contemporary design practices. But the urgency to tackle the challenges of urbanization has condemned the critical framework that aesthetics provides to oblivion within design. In contrast, this text situates aesthetics at the center of contemporary urban debates and defends its analytical power to tackle the challenges of urbanization, such as climate change, social inequity, and migration crises.
Cumulus Conference 2019
Paper: “Everyone Designs: Identity and Determinism in the Digital Age”
Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá
October 30 - November 1, 2019
Design has rapidly permeated our lives since the last century. Its ability to project a desirable scenario at any scale—its fiction: how the world “should” be—seduced us during a 20th century whose character was technological. This paper explores some challenges that the pervasiveness of design in the digital age entails. It argues that the increasing importance of the logic of design demands a theoretical reflection to counter the merely practical or decorative. It considers that concepts, such as innovation, identity, choice, and aesthetics, need constant redefinition, at the deepest cultural level, in the highly globalized world of the 21st century. This effort analyzes the prospects of a theoretical reflection based on the Latin American experience, during the transition from a technological to a digital or information age, to left behind the primacy of imported theoretical and practical models from Europe and the United States.
Celebrating 30 Years of the Doctor of Design Program
Paper: “Architectural Autonomy and Urbanism” invitation
Harvard Graduate School of Design
April 11, 2017
The Doctor of Design (DDes) program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design is a leading doctoral degree program for highly creative and motivated professionals who wish to conduct rigorous, intensive design research.
Harvard GSD’s Office for Urbanization
Paper: “Ludwig Hilberseimer’s Organic Principle as a Reconciliation of Urban Form with Itself” invitation
Inaugural Conference of the Harvard GSD Office for Urbanization: “Heliomorphism”
September 15, 2016
The topic of solar orientation and urban form is both perennial and, once again, timely. The discourses and practices of ‘ecological urbanism’ have turned our focus to the terrestrial topics of hydrological connectivity and ecological function. Heliomorphism proposes to revise and extend the ecological urbanism agenda by returning to solar performance. Recent projects by a number of leading architects and urbanists have suggested new forms of urban order through solar orientation. In many of these projects, designers correlate the shape of the city to a complex and contradictory economy of solar performance.
The topics of solar orientation and social order, public health, and political economy were fundamental questions for many protagonists and projects of modern planning. In the wake of the collapse of modern planning, singular models of social urban order based on latitude and solar equity have given way to neoliberal models of market driven urbanization. The inaugural conference of the Harvard GSD Office for Urbanization returns to this archaic aspect of urban order, and convenes an international group of GSD faculty and doctoral candidates, as well as a select group of GSD alumni to examine its present potentials through three discursive frames: plug-ins, commons, and zero-sum.
Tongji University, Shanghai and The World Bank, Beijing
Harvard GSD Master’s Thesis Proposal: “Morphologic: Mexico City” invitation
The events were organized by the China GSD group from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
Roots for a XXI Century Urbanism Manuel de Solá-Morales
Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Presentations: Rafael Moneo, Joan Busquets, and Marcel Smets
I organized the symposium along with the student Santiago Orbea and Professor Joan Busquets
Piper Auditorium, Gund Hall, 48 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA October 10, 2013
For Manuel de Solà-Morales (1939–2012), urbanism necessarily entailed the application of ideas to different realities. He saw urbanism as a social construct, subject to political debate, but he knew that the design project must define strategies and actions for diverse conditions. After studying at Harvard GSD, he returned to Barcelona to establish his practice. His projects reflect the influence of his professor Josep Lluis Sert, as well as Ludovico Quaroni, Aldo Rossi, and Henri Lefèbvre. This symposium celebrates Solà-Morales’s synthesis of the roots of urbanism with contributions by Lorena Bello, Joan Busquets, Felipe Correa, Jean-Louis Cohen, Alexander d’Hooghe, Alex Krieger, Rafael Moneo, Marcel Smets, Marion Weiss, and Mirko Zardini.