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Workshop | “Architecture is for Everyone:” Politics, Value, and Architecture in Argentina

11/04 Friday | 2pm

The Oikos working group at NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge invites you to join us for a workshop on politics, value and architecture in Argentina with Nicholas D’Avella.

In the aftermath of Argentina’s political and economic crisis in 2001, buildings became an important form of economic investment for middle class Argentines, resulting in a boom in investment-driven construction. Pedagogic practice in the architecture school, however, remains an important place for the maintenance of forms of value in architecture that exceed those defined by real estate investment. This paper examines the politics of architectural design pedagogy in Argentina by drawing recent ethnographic observation into dialogue with the history of leftist movements that emerged in the architecture school in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In a university system repeatedly purged by dictatorships, these Peronist movements asked after the relationship between architecture and commodity society, and began the work of thinking architecture otherwise — work that continues today in some corners of the architecture school, where the inheritance of this past continues to work to extend architectural value beyond the terms defined by the market.

Please email ipk[dot]info[at]nyu[dot]edu for a copy of the paper which will form the basis for this talk.

Nicholas D’Avella is a Wenner-Gren Hunt Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Scholar at the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at NYU. An ethnographer of contemporary Argentine economic life, he is currently completing his Qirst manuscript, Concrete Dreams: Ethnographies of Practice and the Value of Buildings in Post-Crisis Buenos Aires, an ethnographic study of a construction boom following Argentina’s economic and political crisis of 2001. Based on two years of fieldwork with real estate investors, architects, and neighborhood residents, the book describes how buildings were incorporated into post-crisis practices of economic investment, and how other forms of value were made to endure in the face of buildings’ increasingly central place in Argentine economic life.

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