The discipline of architecture has always been linked to the idea of utility—albeit in a variety of ways and to different degrees. From architecture’s putative origins as a primitive form of shelter made of foliage to the Modernist dictum that form follows function, architecture, from the beginning, has been required to perform a “useful” function. Not surprisingly, utility remains a central concern within contemporary architectural practice, but alongside some of the obvious benefits—the development of more energy efficient materials and processes and the economic incentive to redevelop existing buildings before building anew—have come some strange, if understudied effects. With contributions from 14 extraordinary scholars and architects, Strange Utility: Architecture Toward Other Ends recognizes the contemporary currency of utility, and seeks unexpected ways of defining this term within and with respect to the built environment.
Strange Utility keynote speakers are Jimenez Lai (Citizens of No Place, 2012, Assistant Professor at University of Chicago at Illinois, Leader of Bureau Spectacular), Philippe Rahm (architect and principal in the office of Philippe Rahm architectes, Paris, France), and Jill Stoner (Toward a Minor Architecture, 2012, and Associate Professor of Architecture and Chair of the Master of Architecture program at the University of California, Berkeley). Concurrent exhibition, Inigo Manglano-Ovalle: Pain of Glass, features in the Littman Gallery, with gallery talk by the artist. Symposium co-organized by Nora Wendl, Assistant Professor of Architecture at Portland State University, and Dr. Isabelle Loring Wallace, Associate Professor of Contemporary Art and Theory, University of Georgia, Athens.
Registration for symposium is available at this link: http://www.pdx.edu/architecture/strangeutility