Sophie Hochhäusl Book Launch

On the occasion of the publication of Sophie Hochhäusl’s book Otto Neurath – City Planning: Proposing a Socio-Political Map for Modern Urbanism (2011), the Austrian Cultural Forum and the Van Alen Institute present a round table discussion on the question of urban mappings and participatory public discourse on the city.

Austrian philosopher, economist, and member of the Vienna Circle, Otto Neurath (1882–1945) investigated representational maps for more than two decades of his life. In search of “humanizing knowledge” he revolutionized the discipline of chart making through the use of quantitative maps (picture statistics) accessible to a large public. In a response to the undertakings of CIAM IV, Neurath published his map “City Planning” to emphasize that a discourse on modern urbanism allowing for a pluralism of ideas, in which a broad public could partake was long overdue. 

Under this premise the invited panelists discuss the state of socio-political mapping in architecture and urbanism historically and today.

Sophie Hochhäusl (Ph.D. student, history of architecture and urban development, Cornell University)
Bart Lootsma (Leopold-Franzens University, Innsbruck)
William Menking (The Architect’s Newspaper)
Nader Vossoughian (New York Institute of Technology)
Moderated by Olympia Kazi (Van Alen Institute)

Sophie Hochhäusl is interested in participatory processes, communal economies, and groups of marginality in architectural discourse. Her previous work ranges from an architecture children's book, Pinsel, Paula und die Plaudernden Häuser, and a collection of teaching material for high schools on architectural design and representation in “Red Vienna” to academic articles including “Otto Neurath – Mapping the City as Social Fact.” Her exhibition Master Planning Paradise which dealt with 110 years of communal housing in Vienna, was shown in cooperation with the Austrian Museum of Architecture, AzW. Hochhäusl was trained as an architect at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and as an architectural historian at Cornell University, where she is currently a Ph.D. student in the history of architecture and urban development.

Bart Lootsma is a historian, critic, and curator in the fields of architecture, design, and the visual arts. He is a professor for architectural theory at the Leopold-Franzens University in Innsbruck and guest professor for architecture, teaching European Urbanity and Globalization at the University of Luxemburg. Lootsma was guest curator of ArchiLab 2004 in Orléans and he was an editor of ao. Forum, de Architect, ARCHIS and GAM. He published numerous articles and books, such as SuperDutch, on contemporary architecture in the Netherlands, and ArchiLab 2004 the Naked City in 2004. As chair of architectural theory at the University of Innbruck Lootsma has researched the works of Otto Neurath, Friedrich Kiesler, and Christopher Alexander in his studio Out of the Wild.

William Menking is an architectural historian, writer, critic, and curator of architecture and urbanism and cofounder and editor-in-chief of the The Architect’s Newspaper. He is professor of architecture, urbanism, and city planning at Pratt Institute and has lectured and taught at schools in the United States and Europe. He has been published in numerous architectural publications, anthologies, and museum catalogues. He has curated and organized international exhibitions on the visionary British architects Archigram, the Italian radical architects Superstudio, and contemporary English design, and he served as Commissioner of the U.S. pavilion at the 2008 Venice Biennale. He has participated in various juries including the 2006 and 2008 New York City AIA New Practices, 2007 and 2008 San Francisco AIA Honor Awards, and the 2007 Lumen awards for lighting. 

Nader Vossoughian is an associate professor in architectural history at New York institute of Technology. He is a curator, critic, and theorist whose research interests center on the relationship between politics, knowledge, and the city. He is the author of numerous articles, among them “European Modernism and the Information Society; Otto Neurath's Economic Writings” in Josef Frank 1885-1967 – Eine Moderne der Unordnung. He is widely known for his book Otto Neurath: The Language of the Global Polis that reintroduced Neurath’s legacy to the fields of architecture and urbanism. Vossoghian has also curated many exhibitions, including Gypsy Urbanism that has been shown at the Museum for Applied Arts in Vienna and the MAK Centre in Los Angeles.

Olympia Kazi is an architecture curator, critic, and the executive director of Van Alen Institute whose mission is to foster dialogue about the evolving role of architecture in the public realm. Educated as an architect at the University of Florence, Italy, she served as junior curator at the Milan Triennale before moving to New York City to become a Fellow of Architecture and Urban Studies at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program. She is also the former executive director of the Institute for Urban Design. Kazi has written for numerous publications, among them the Architect's Newspaper, Architectural Design, and Wound Magazine.