IASTE / LEGITIMATING TRADITION December 17-20, 2016 | Kuwait City

In contemporary contexts of globalization, political conflict, and dynamic social and cultural change, legitimacy is often invoked, questioned, or challenged by various actors to achieve certain ends. This conference seeks to ask: What role does tradition play in legitimating practices that produce place-based or placeless built environments?Recent IASTE conferences have explored the role of subjectivity, authorship, and power in the construction of traditions in space and place. These themes often implied processes of legitimation that affect the built environment in ways that are sometimes more hidden and sometimes more obvious. This conference will seek to address this issue and to…

My role in de-skilling the arts | J. E. Johnson

David Pye avoided the word “skill” in his broadly influential book, The Nature and Art of Workmanship, preferring instead two more narrowly defined terms: the workmanship of certainty where “every operation during production has been predetermined and is outside the control of the operative” and the workmanship of risk where quality is determined by “care, judgment, and dexterity.”[3] More and more our studio depends upon the workmanship of certainty as we aspire less and less toward the workmanship of risk. So to compensate for our students insufficient care, judgment, and dexterity we have – like the proverbial boiled frog –…

The Best-Laid Plans [Review of Scott’s Seeing Like a State]

The 20th century has seen many grand schemes for improving the human condition. The collectivization of farming in the Soviet Union, compulsory villagization in Ethiopia and postcolonial Tanzania, the construction of Brasilia according to Le Corbusiers theories of urban planning, Maoist Chinas Great Leap Forward and the self-sufficient rural economy that was the goal of Pol Pots Cambodia were ambitious efforts to better the lot of humankind. The ideas inspiring the schemes and the regimes that attempted them were highly diverse. The human costs of the experiments varied from an immeasurable toll in broken lives in Russia and China to…