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Typology Redux

Revisiting a Theoretical Framework For New Modes of Practice

16 October 2010
20 West Village F, Northeastern University

The conference is free and open to the public; there is no registration process.

When architects design office buildings, apartment buildings, and other market-driven building types, an unwritten set of rules establishes the framework for design exploration.  In North American cities, the efficiencies of the double-loaded corridor apartment building and the center-core office building have resulted in a sixty-year legacy around which entire design approaches and building systems industries have been organized.  Everything from systems office furniture to the metrics of the real estate market both anticipate and leverage the endurance of these types.  From Battery Park City in Manhattan to new commercial districts arising in Shanghai and Abu Dhabi, the grain and scale of the urban realm is defined by the irrefutable (and unquestioned) logics of conventional types.  These types are aggregated to make the fabric of new city districts.

Against this background, what are the opportunities for design innovation?  Can the aperture of the design problem be opened up widely enough to allow for the economic and cultural superstructure of these real estate-driven types to be scrutinized?

Should typology be reintroduced as a central focus of architectural theory?

Conference Overview

This conference will examine contemporary issues of typology by looking at case studies at the intersection of design methodology and the real estate market.  1980s theories of type will be re-introduced to understand whether the framework can be re-engineered to help answer questions posed by contemporary practice.

Conference Schedule

Panel 1: Pragmatics 
Tinkering with Type in the Marketplace: The Opportunities and Constraints of the Contemporary Real Estate Market on Innovation
Three 20-minute talks followed by discussion
Tim Love, moderator, Northeastern University, Utile
June Williamson, CUNY/City College
Douglas J. Manz, The HYM Investment Group
Matthew Littell, Utile

Panel 2: History 
Types, Prototypes, Paradigms, and Exemplars: Pragmatically Derived/Culturally Loaded
Three 20-minute talks followed by discussion
John McMorrough, moderator, University of Michigan
Alan Plattus, Yale University
K. Michael Hays, Harvard University GSD
Roy Kozlovsky, Northeastern University

Panel 3: Practice
Hybrids, Mash-ups, Distortions, and Unprecedented Paradigms

Roundtable discussion about several case studies
Ed Mitchell, moderator, Yale University
Marshall Brown, Illinois Institute of Technology
Ivan Rupnik, Northeastern University
Xavier Costa, Northeastern University

Conference Basics

Northeastern University
20 West Village F
Saturday, October 16, 2010 10:30 AM – 5:00 PM
The conference is free and open to the public; there is no registration process.
Conference Chair: Tim Love, Associate Professor, Northeastern University