The Roland Levinsky Building at the University of Plymouth. Image from http://www.copperconcept.org/referenceshow.asp?rid=824&langid=9
“Fixed? Architecture, Incompleteness and Change”. It is organized by the School of Architecture, Design and Environment, University of Plymouth, UK (Thursday 7 - Friday 8 April 2011)
Are buildings fixed objects? At what point is a work of architecture complete? Architects tend to consider a building as finished, fixed, upon the completion of building works. The unpopulated images of shiny new
buildings in the architectural press are presented as a record of the building as a Œpure¹ art-object at its temporal zenith; the occupation of the building and its subsequent adaptation, alteration, personalization and
appropriation by people is often perceived in terms of decline. ŒFixed?¹ aims to question this view of architecture.
An alternative perspective is that all buildings are incomplete and subject to change over time as the users constantly alter and adapt their surroundings in response to changing cultural and technological conditions.
Architecture is appropriated both intentionally and instinctively. In this way, often beyond the control of the architect, through their lifecycle all architectures become responsive to people and place. In theoretical terms, a work of architecture can therefore be interpreted not only as an ambiguous physical form but also as a shifting, responsive cultural construct.
Thinking about architecture in terms of incompleteness has many possible theoretical roots, for example discourses relating to cultural production, process and the everyday or complexity and transience, but there are also practical precedents within the built environment such as modern vernaculars favelas, shanty towns, retail parks - which are often defined by constant change.
Proposals for both theoretical discussion and case-study based papers are invited that engage with or challenge the theme of incompleteness and change across architecture, design and the built environment. Possible strands include:
- changing, transient and adaptive everyday architectures and modern vernaculars
- the afterlife, use, occupation, adaptation and appropriation of Œfixed¹ designed buildings, spaces and places
- architects responses to the challenge of incompleteness and life-cycle design
Key speakers from a range of practice-based and academic backgrounds include:
Prof. Kingston Heath, University of Oregon
Prof. Hilde Heynen, Katholieke University Leuven, Belgium
Richard Murphy, Richard Murphy Architects, Edinburgh
Dr. Michelangelo Sabatino, University of Houston
Dr. Maiken Umbach, Manchester University
Sarah Wigglesworth, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects, London
“Fixed?” is hosted by the Cultural-Theory-Space Group, University of Plymouth. The convenors are Malcolm Miles, Daniel Maudlin, Robert Brown and Adam Cowley-Evans.
Submission deadline for abstracts: November 30th 2010
Notification: December 20th 2010
Please send abstracts of no more than 300-words and a short CV via email to
Lynne Saunders, School of Architecture, Design and Environment, University of Plymouth: L.C.Saunders@plymouth.ac.uk
For further information on registration details, accommodation in Plymouth
etc, please go to: www.plymouth.ac.uk/fixedconference