Architects as Critics/Critics as Architects Roundtable

Roundtable with Peter Eisenman and Kenneth Frampton

Today’s architectural criticism highlights the divergence of internal and external perspectives — distinct viewpoints which emerge from architects on the one hand and critics, theorists, historians on the other. To explore the implications of this contrast, architectural historian and critic Daniel Sherer, visiting assistant professor of architecture in AAP, will moderate a roundtable at the AAP NYC with Peter Eisenman and Kenneth Frampton — two of the most prominent critics, architects, and architect/theorists working today.

Together the panel will address many questions:

  • Is there a fundamental difference between the discursive strategies of architects and those adopted by critics, theorists, and historians?
  • What tensions arise within critical discourse when architects write criticism and when theorists who are not architects do the same?
  • Does criticism enter into practice, and how does architecture position itself in relation to other fields of knowledge, each of which has its own critical methods?
  • Can one speak of norms of criticism internal to architecture as opposed to extrinsic codes that constrain both architecture and criticism?
  • Is it still possible to contrast the partisan character of operative criticism to the epistemological objectives of theory, or have such distinctions, so prominent a feature of architectural discourse from the 1960s to the 1990s, lost their critical point?
  • Have relations of continuity and rupture between present-day theory and criticism on the one hand and Modernist discourse on the other put into crisis the traditional concerns of critics, historians, and architects?
  • How has the function of criticism changed with the rise of new media, the dissemination of architecture as an index of contemporaneity, the articulation of new subjects, and objects of representation in architecture and outside of it?
  • How does the primary theoretical subtext of the discussion provided by the nexus between architecture and language and the relations that this connection presupposes — always complex, multiple, and overdetermined — compare with other cultural and theoretical domains?
Organized and moderated Daniel Sherer, visiting assistant professor