We’re sorry to have not picked up on this earlier as it looks like it would have been worth attending. The Harvard University Center for the Environment convened the first of this season’s symposia on the environment this past November the 17th, 2009. From the website:
The Return of Nature is the first of four Harvard Symposia on Architecture, an annual series of events which brings together architects, historians and theorists to consider the question of architecture’s autonomy in relation to contemporary debates. Attached is a more in-depth description of this series. Co-Conveners: Preston Scott Cohen, Chair of the Department of Architecture, and Erika Naginski, Associate Professor of Architectural History.
Speaking at the event were Barry Bergdoll (Professor of Architectural History at Columbia University and the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at MoMA), K. Michael Hays (Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory at the GSD), and Diane Lewis (Professor of Design at the Cooper Union School of Architecture) along with Preston Scott Cohen, Chair of the Harvard Department of Architecture, and Erika Naginski, Associate Professor of Architectural History.
Sadly we cannot report what was said, what insights were gleaned, or what paradigms were shifted (if any of you know, please send us a line). We have attached a pdf from Mr. Cohen, that is quite an interesting read. We’re not completely sure what to make of it yet (give us a minute to pick it apart) but from first glance it does appear to fit squarely into the GSD. To wit:
That Nature has returned with a vengeance in architectural theory and practice goes far beyond the transmutation of the Vitruvian qualities of firmitas, utilitas and venustas into sustainability’s motto of equity, biodiversity, and wise development.
Our thoughts exactly.