Disruptions: Architecture at The Time of Pandemic Upheavals
Laboratorio permanente, Milan
Goethe University Frankfurt, Hörsaalzentrum, HZ 8


Disruptions: Architecture at The Time of Pandemic Upheavals

Albena Yaneva

Invading cities, occupying space, Covid-19 caused major disruptions in everyday design routines and brought some latent or hitherto invisible aspects of architecture making to the fore. Acting as a ‘breaching experiment’ (Garfinkel 1976) of a sort, the pandemic allowed us to examine architects’ reactions to the disruptions in the commonly accepted social, creative, technological and ethical norms of practice. That specific ‘breaching’ of routines empowered designers to be more resourceful than ever. Testing new possibilities, learning from mistakes, revisiting old habits, architects devised new scenographies of architecture making, new configurations of relations between humans and nonhumans.

Based on a study with 130 practices from a wide range of contexts, the lecture will explore the pandemic’s transformative impacts upon the architectural profession. It will show how the global pandemic prompted architects to re-think the state of things in practice, the invisible rules, the ‘background expectancies’ and this generated a new accountability. It will also demonstrate how the pandemics raised new questions about the intertwined natures of architectural production, science, society, and spatial practices and led us to rethink the social dimension of architecture, making a compelling argument about the changing agency of architectural design in a post-pandemic world.

Albena Yaneva is Professor of Architectural Theory and director of the Manchester Architecture Research Group (MARG) at the Manchester Urban Institute. She has been Visiting Professor at Princeton School of Architecture (2013), Parsons, New School (2015) and Politecnico di Turino (2018). She held the prestigious Lise Meitner Visiting Chair in Architecture at the University of Lund, Sweden (2017-2019). Her research is intrinsically transdisciplinary and crosses the boundaries of science studies, cognitive anthropology, architectural theory and political philosophy. She is the author of several books: Mapping Controversies in Architecture (Routledge 2012), Five Ways to Make Architecture Political. An Introduction to the Politics of Design Practice (Bloomsbury 2017), Crafting History: Archiving and the Quest for Architectural Legacy (Cornell University Press 2020), The New Architecture of Science: Learning from Graphene (World Scientific Publishing 2020), co-authored with Nobel Laureate in Physics Sir Kostya S. Novoselov, Latour for Architects (Routledge 2022) and Architecture After Covid (Bloomsbury 2023).

The event is part of the lecture series Designed Orders. The lecture will take place on the Westend Campus of Goethe University Frankfurt (HZ 8) and will be held in English.