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2021-2022 Lecture Series: Building Identities, Spring Edition
MD Anderson Hall, Farish Gallery

Ann Lui, principal, Future Firm, assistant professor of practice, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan; and Cullinan Visiting Professor, Rice Architecture, presents the lecture "Future/Practice" at 12:00 p.m. as part of the 2021-2022 Rice Architecture Lecture Series, Building Identities, Spring Edition.

Can the practice of architecture itself be re-designed? Configurations of professional practice that we take for granted—namely, the governing yet problematic model of the genius, self-interested competitor—were recently constructed and should be historically understood rather than written in stone. This talk proposes that we consider the tools, processes, and frameworks of professional practice themselves to be a design project of urgent concern. In this talk, Ann will present design research projects on the intersection of building code and equity, particularly issues of authorship, enforcement, and accountability. Ann will also present recent design work from Future Firm, including architecture and installations both built and in-progress, in the context of these broader questions.

Ann Lui, AIA, is a founding principal of Future Firm, a Chicago-based architecture and design research practice. She is an assistant professor of practice at the University of Michigan. Future Firm designs spaces for changemakers, including residential, commercial, and cultural buildings. Future Firm was awarded the J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize in 2021 and has been exhibited at the Shenzhen Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, Storefront for Art & Architecture, and the Chicago Architecture Center.

Lui’s work explores the intersections of professional practice, collectivity, and the built environment. She was co-curator of Dimensions of Citizenship, the 2018 U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale. She co-edited Public Space? Lost and Found (MIT/SA+P Press, 2015) and is co-editing Log 53, “Coauthoring” (2022). Her current research explores building codes through the lens of social equity, including the recently published "Toward an Office of the Public Architect” (Log 48).

Building Identities

Construction of physical structures is inseparable from the construction of human identities. Rice Architecture aims to broaden our understanding of building construction and identity formation as two interrelated processes, seeking to close the gap between the social and the formal in the field of architecture and our world more broadly. Reflecting the pluralism of Houston as the most diverse city in the United States, Building Identities advances the agency of architecture in a new multicultural world. We believe this is an urgent theme for our school, our community, and our field at large.

All lectures are free and open to the public. Except for virtual events, all lectures will be held in Farish Gallery, MD Anderson Hall, Rice Architecture, unless otherwise noted, with a livestream available. For more information and to access the livestream links and virtual events registration page, visit Each lecture is available for one AIA/CES Learning Unit.

This lecture series is made possible through the generous support of the Llewelyn-Davies Sahni Fund for the Rice School of Architecture, the Betty R. and the George F. Pierce Jr., FAIA, Fund, the William B. Coleman Jr. Colloquium Fund for Architecture, the Wm. W. Caudill Lecture Series Fund, and Rice Design Alliance (RDA), the public programs and outreach arm of Rice Architecture. 

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