Academic Session 14: UEA 2015

41st Annual Conference & Bookfair
Sainsbury Institute for Art, UEA, Norwich
9 – 11 April 2015

From Distaste to Mockery: The city and its architectures ridiculed

Session Convenor:

Michela Rosso, Politecnico di Torino,

Between the end of the 17th century and the French Revolution, the rise of a mass public and a reconfigured public sphere saw architecture become part of a media-saturated culture, altering the human relation to space by privileging a virtual rather than physically embodied experience of publicness. In a media-saturated public culture, humour stands out as a form of social communication and as a means to portray society, revealing the ambivalences of metropolitan life and exposing the shock provoked by processes of modernization and change.

Papers will explore episodes of visual and textual humour addressing the field of architecture, its theories and practices, architects and builders between 1750 and today.

Topics will include the reception of Georgian Dublin’s urban expansion analysed through the anonymous comments published in contemporary newspapers and magazines; the role played by satire and derision in the polemics surrounding John Nash’s design of All Souls Church; the humorous turn of Gaudi’s celebrated works seen across a broad range of media; the modernist interior as the preferred target of socially-minded satirists; popular naming of social housing in Flanders across the 20th century; China’s new high rise architecture as reflected in a series of highly polemical works of contemporary artists.

The broader aim of this session is to reappraise some crucial transitions in the history of modern and contemporary architectural culture by listening to voices that have often gone unheard within the consolidated architectural historical canon, through a medium that has previously been treated only as marginal.

Conor Lucey (University of Pennsylvania) Stumbling-Blocks’ and ‘odoriferous Vapours’: Satirizing the building world in Georgian Dublin

Daniela Roberts (Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig) The Thorn of Scorn: John Nash and his All Souls Church for a transformed Regency London

Josep-Maria Garcia-Fuentes (Newcastle University) Deconstructing Gaudí: Entangled relations between satire and architectural criticism

Gabriele Neri (Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio) Irrational Interiors: The modern domestic landscape seen in caricatures

Evert Vandeweghe
(Flanders Heritage Agency) From Little Russia (1925) to Planet of the Apes (1975): Popular naming of social housing in Flanders'

Angela Becher (University of London) Splendid? Preposterous! Chinese artists mock the architectural spectacle