96th Annual Meeting

March 27-30, 2008 | Houston, TX
Hosted by University of Houston
Co-chairs: Dietmar Froehlich, University of Houston, Michaele Pride, University of Cincinnati


Cities are expanding, exploding, their centers becoming scattered in the margins of mind and space.

Cities and civilization have been inextricably linked throughout history, and the architecture of the city has been an expression of civilization’s highest collective achievements. But in recent decades cities have become hollow: Shifting social and economic pressures are challenging traditional urban forms and rituals, while new communications technologies have changed the nature of the social and physical network within which people dwell.

A global and generic megalopolis is the city’s future.

The city exists at a collision of forces of power. Globalization has given rise to a search for identity in a world of blurred boundaries. Spatially, this teeming agglomeration of people densely accommodated does not follow conventional planning methods; the ubiquity of electronic communications replaces face to face contact, and the non-place realm grows with an energy that eludes control. Corporations see the city as a commodity and aggressively deploy their brands everywhere, draining away diversity while defending their profits at all cost. Meanwhile, classes of citizens struggle to find their place in the economic and social milieu of the metropolis, challenging globalizing forces with grassroots, community-based efforts. Architects and planners play only marginal roles of corrective interventions.

How can we understand the emerging city and mitigate cultural, economic and spatial conflict in the fluid and pluralistic society? What roles can architecture and architects play? What visions will emerge from the margins to nurture sustainable dwelling places and promote diversity of people, of ideas, and of possibilities?


  • Poster Presenters

Keynote Lecturers

Richard Sennett is a professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and Bemis Professor of Social Sciences at MIT.  In the school, he teaches in the Cities Programme and trains doctoral students in the sociology of culture.  His three most recent books are studies of modern capitalism: The Culture of the New Capitalism, (Yale, 2006), Respect in an Age of Inequality, (Penguin, 2003) and The Corrosion of Character, (Norton 1998).  He is currently writing a book on craftmanship.  Professor Sennett has been awarded the Amalfi and the Ebert prizes for sociology.  He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of Literature, the Royal Society of the Arts, and the Academia Europea.  He is past president of the American Council on Work and the former Director of the New York Institute for the Humanities.

Saskia Sassen is now at Columbia University’s Committee on Global Thought, after a decade at the University of Chicago and London School of Economics. Her recent books are Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages ( Princeton University Press 2006) and A Sociology of Globalization. (Norton 2007). She has now completed for UNESCO a five-year project on sustainable human settlement for which she set up a network of researchers and activists in over 30 countries; it is published as one of the volumes of the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS) (Oxford, UK: EOLSS Publishers) [http://www.eolss.net ]. Her books are translated into sixteen languages. Her comments have appeared in The Guardian, The New York Times, Le Monde Diplomatique, the International Herald Tribune, Newsweek International, the Financial Times, among others.

Elizabeth Diller is a principal and co-founder of the inter-disciplinary studio, Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Their work encompasses architecture, urban design, temporary and permanent site-specific installations, multi-media theater, electronic media, and print. DS+R is currently working on various projects for Lincoln Center such as the Julliard School, Alice Tully Hall, and the School of American Ballet; The High Line, a park situated on the obsolete railway running through the Chelsea neighborhood of New York; and the Kopp Townhouse, a private residence in Manhattan. DS+R’s new building for the Boston Institute for Contemporary Art opened in December 2006. DS+R has been awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the first in the field of architecture; the National Design Award in Architecture from the Smithsonian; the Brunner Prize in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the MacDermott Award for Creative Achievement from MIT; an Obie Award for Creative Achievement in Off Broadway Theater for their multi-media theater work, "Jet Lag”; and a Progressive Architecture Design Award for the "Blur Building," a building made of fog for the Swiss Expo 2002. Diller is Professor of Architectural Design at Princeton University.

Charles Renfro joined Diller + Scofidio in 1997 and was promoted to partner at Diller Scofidio + Renfro in 2004. As a collaborator with Diller+Scofidio, he has served as Project Leader on Brasserie, Eyebeam, the BAM master plan (with Rem Koolhaas/OMA), Blur, the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, and the redesign and expansion of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts among other projects. Prior to joining DS+R, Renfro was an associate at Smith-Miller Hawkinson Architects where he was project architect on several commercial and cultural facilities, and Ralph Appelbaum Associates. He was a founding partner of Department of Design in Brooklyn. His independent art and architectural work has been exhibited in several galleries including the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York and the Farish Gallery and Rice University Art Gallery in Houston. His writing has been published in Bomb and A+U magazines. Renfro is a graduate of Rice University and holds a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s GSAPP. He has been on the faculty of Columbia since 2000.

Stanley Tigerman's counsel continues to be sought after by young architects as well as by his peers. He has mentored countless numbers of young professionals and bestows his advice assiduously to all no matter their age or circumstance. For nearly fifty years Tigerman has sought design excellence in his own work, in the work of his peer, his firm, and his students. He has fought to instill an appreciation for architecture in the citizenry worldwide. Tigerman has long been known as the "architectural voice and conscience" of Chicago. He is sought by PBS, NPR, WBEZ and the Washington Post, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-times as a commentator on, and critic of, architecture. Stanley Tigerman has fought to save historic buildings, criticized as well as celebrated architecture, condemned public inertia and diligently worked as an architectural advocate and educator even without portfolio.
- taken from Topaz submission application