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PRINCETON UNIVERSITY

M+M Colloquium: Britt Eversole and Yetunde Olaiya

  

April 21, 2014 | 5.00pm | N107, Princeton School of Architecture

Britt Eversole

"Architettura Parametrica and the Problems of Intellectual Virginity—Italy, 1960."

School of Architecture, advisor: M. Christine Boyer.

"To address the complexity and interconnectedness of architecture, changing cities and unstable economies after World War II, architect Luigi Moretti called for more rational design and analytic techniques that could be applied dynamically and at multiple scales. He called his approach architettura parametrica—design methods using logico­ mathematical, physical, electronic, biological, psychological, sociological and economic parameters. To study parametricism's applications, in 1957 he joined with philosopher of science and computer researcher Bruno de Finetti to found The Institute for Mathematical and Operational Research on Urban Planning [IRMOU]. IRMOU brought together architects, programmers, demographers, sociologists and mathematicians to experiment on urban, territorial and economic modeling using Italy's first computers. However, I hypothesize that Moretti's parametricism and the research undertaken at IRMOU changed around 1960. The failure of the Italian parliament and squabbling political parties to realize reforms capable of combating the urban crises of overdevelopment and land speculation prompted Moretti and de Finetti to redefine the cognitive and ideological effects of rational methods and computers on design practices. Using "objective" methods to suppress their own artistic visions or political beliefs, architects would confront design problems by always "beginning anew, without ideas or preconceived interpretations...in a state of absolute intellectual virginity." Beyond reframing architecture and planning as a decisional science, architettura parametrica represents the liberal drive to use technology to marginalize politics from design practices and underscores the limitations of democratic participation in the transformation of the city."

Britt Eversole is a PhD candidate in architectural history and theory in the Princeton School of Architecture. He holds a Bachelor of Design from the University of Florida, as well as a Master of Architecture and a Master of Environmental Design, both from Yale University. He has taught at Yale University and was the Walter Sanders Visiting Fellow at the University of Michigan in 2008-2009. His dissertation, "The Disenchantment with Democracy: Architectural Models of Political Organization in Italy" rereads the aspirations and problems in Italian architectural experimentation and theorization in realizing a post-fascist democracy. He hypothesizes that Italy's "difficult democracy" offers an index for studying the complex intersections of Italian politics and architecture, and, conversely, that architectural and urban experimentation provide an instrument for studying the aporias and limitations of democracy itself.

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Yetunde Olaiya

"Jean-Henri Calsat: The Making of the Expert."

School of Architecture, advisor: M. Christine Boyer.

"At the end of the Second World War, French Black Africa became the site of intense architectural production in a complete reversal of fortune. Where colonial authorities blamed their prior inaction in these territories on climatic concerns, they now took great pains to cultivate both a technical expertise and a framework with which to convey it to the architects on site. It was neither a coincidence that these efforts came at a time when France most needed to restore its image after the war nor that these underdeveloped African territories would make especially good showcases for French intervention. How such political objectives infiltrated the technical domain of postwar architectural production in French Black Africa constitutes the larger question of my dissertation. Focusing on one of the domain’s key operatives, Jean-Henri Calsat, the presentation will track the strategic and unintentional ways his work as both technical consultant, cultivating the new expertise, and architect-planner, incorporating said expertise into his designs, came to be politicized."

Yetunde Olaiya is a PhD candidate at the Princeton University School of Architecture, specializing in the history of modern architecture and urban design in sub-Saharan Africa. She was the recipient of the 2012 Carter Manny Award for dissertation research and is currently a fellow at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies.

Britt Eversole and Yetunde Olaiya

Monday, April 21, 2014

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