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ARCHITECTURE AND FAILURE

ARCHITECTURE AND FAILURE
31st international seminar on architectural history
Vicenza, Palladio Museum, 7-9 June 2018

Even more than for painting and sculpture, fundamental ingredients are required for the existence of architecture: time, continuity, and money. Specifically, the largest oeuvres are tied to political will or to transgenerational visions which are often put into jeopardy by the long construction time-lines.

For this reason, large projects, both bold and visionary, were not built and remained projects on paper, or interrupted by the changing fortunes of individuals, families, or institutions, or by politics. The reasons were often traumatic, like the death of the architect or patron, natural disasters, or the onset of war. They were sometimes precipitated by economics, or derived from a misalignment with the course of history, either becoming obsolete or, by contrast, being too far ahead of their time. They were sometimes too complicated or overly ambitious to be fully executed. Sometimes, however, a failure is the impetus for subsequent successfully realized projects.

Beginning with mythical constructions like the Tower of Babel, the seminar will explore interrupted or never executed architectural projects from ancient times to the present, across the great medieval cathedrals, from the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome to projects of urban scale, from the reconstruction of London in 1666 to Le Corbusier and the Algeri project.

Christ of Thoenes (Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History, Rome) had the original idea for the seminar, which is being developed by Guido Beltramini (Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio, Vicenza) and Howard Burns (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa).

Each contribution, which will be read either in Italian or in English, cannot exceed 20 minutes (corresponding to circa 2500 words), which allows for about ten minutes of discussion afterwards. Those interested in participating should send an outline (250 words or less) and brief CV (no more than 100 words) to cfp@cisapalladio.org by November 1, 2017. Geographic area and time period are open, as long as the paper deals with architecture conceived with the intention of being constructed. Scholars may apply individually or propose a theme to be carried through in a single session by a group or team.
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SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
1365 N. Astor Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610
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