J. Irwin Miller Symposium

"A Constructed World"

Event Time

Thursday, October 1, 2015 - 6:30pm to Saturday, October 3, 2015 - 7:00pm


Hastings Hall (basement level of Paul Rudolph Hall) See map
180 York St.
New Haven, CT 06511


Download here.

The J. Irwin Miller Symposium, “A Constructed World,” is convened by Joyce Hsiang and Bimal Mendis in conjunction with the exhibition, “City of 7 Billion.”  The renowned philosopher, Peter Sloterdijk, will deliver the keynote address and Hashim Sarkis, Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT, will deliver the concluding address.

The world is constructed. It is the product of material realities, philosophical concepts, and imaginary ideals. No part of the world remains unaffected by the cumulative impact of human activity. Through complex processes of exploration, habitation, cultivation, transportation, consumption, and surveillance, the world has become increasingly interconnected. According to ongoing scientific research, the world appears to have crossed the threshold of a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene. Scientists, geologists, and environmentalists acknowledge that humans are transforming the world at an unprecedented scale. This assertion begs the questions: How is the world constructed? What is the role of design?

The symposium will explore how the contemporary world is being constructed both physically and conceptually.  Leading voices from diverse fields such as architecture, anthropology, economics, geography, planning and philosophy will address how humans are playing an increasingly decisive role in shaping the world and interrogate the implications of these actions. Using terms of construction as a framework for discussion, panels will ask what it means to survey, excavate, demolish, scaffold, frame or assemble the world. This dialogue provides the opportunity to enrich our understanding of the world and establish common terms of engagement in relation to dramatically changing conditions. As crises and opportunities transcend both municipal and national borders, the need to operate at the scale of the world has never been more urgent.



Evening Session, 6:30pm

Joyce Hsiang and Bimal Mendis, Yale University
“City of 7 Billion”

Reception: Architecture Gallery, Second Floor


Morning Session, 10:30am - 12:30pm

William Rankin, Yale University
“Coordinating the World: Graticule, Grid, and GPS”
Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA
“Resilient by Design: The Role of Environmental Intelligence”
Moderator: Dana Tomlin, Yale University

Afternoon Session, 1:30pm - 3:30pm

Lucia Allais, Princeton University
“Designs of Destruction”
Pierre Bélanger, Harvard University
“Deterritorialization: Postmodern Ecology and the Emergence of Urbanism after 1993”
Adrian Lahoud, University College London
“Fallen Cities”
Moderator: Elihu Rubin, Yale University

Afternoon Session, 4:00pm-6:00pm

Mark Williams, University of Leicester
“Cities Considered as Trace Fossil Systems”
Mark Wigley, Columbia University
“Excavating the Future”
Liam Young, Architectural Association
“City Everywhere: Kim Kardashian and the Dark Side of the Screen”
Moderator: Todd Reisz, Yale University

Evening Session, 6:30pm

KEYNOTE ADDRESS, Brendan Gill Lecture
Peter Sloterdijk, Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design
“Architecture as Spatial Immune Systems: Towards a General Theory of Topo-Immunology”

Reception: Architecture Gallery, Second Floor


Morning Session, 9:00am-11:00am

Nicholas de Monchaux, University of California, Berkeley
“Local Code: 3,659 Proposals about Data, Design, and the Nature of Cities”
Clara Irazábal, Columbia University
“Transbordering Planning”
Annabel Wharton, Duke University
“Modeling the Scaffold”
Moderator: Phillip Bernstein, Yale University

Morning Session, 11:30am-1:30pm

John Palmesino, Architect
“The Coast of Europe: Architecture Between Polity and Space”
Neil Brenner, Harvard University
“Worlds of Urbanization”
Tim Ingold, University of Aberdeen
“Above, Below, and In-Between: Of Surfaces, Grounds, and the Interstitiality of Things”
Moderator: Ariane Lourie Harrison, Yale University

Afternoon Session, 2:30pm-4:30pm

Adam Lowe, Artist
“Re-Projecting, Re-Visioning, and Re-Thinking Our Point of View”
Aihwa Ong, University of California, Berkeley
“City of 1 Billion”
Benjamin Bratton, University of California, San Diego
“On Platform Sovereignties: The City Layer of the Stack”
Moderator: Keller Easterling, Yale University

Afternoon Session, 5:00pm

CLOSING ADDRESS, Paul Rudolph Lecture
Hashim Sarkis, MIT
“The World According to Architecture”

Reception: Architecture Gallery, Second Floor