Rice Architecture
Feb 24, 2023

More Than Fifteen Years: Six Takes on Housing After the Neoliberal Turn.

Session one: March 2, 1pm–6pm / Session two: March 3, 1pm–7pm. In person and livestream participation.

Housing is a universal challenge, and yet it is often perceived as a narrowly defined problem, dominated by such forces as a rationalized construction industry, restrictive policies and codes, or volatile real estate markets and their supporting instruments. Without a doubt, the housing question is intricately tied to global economic as well as local sociocultural and political forces. With an interest in the potentials of housing as an architectural challenge, this symposium will showcase the work of six architects active in and around Switzerland. It will offer perspectives on housing that transcend the frequent divide between social responsibility and profit maximization, reflecting programmatic and formal speculations that are responsive at all scales and addressing technical and cultural challenges in architectural terms.

Housing is all too often neglected as a design problem in the United States. Its advancement is left to investors and developers, who treat housing as a commodity, to be depreciated over only fifteen years. The shifting dynamics of this market are particularly evident in a polycentric urban agglomeration like Houston, the fourth largest and one of the most diverse cities in the United States. In demand are revised models of inhabitation that offer attractive housing opportunities for all social strata, in proximity to workplaces and public infrastructures, and consequently with a reduced dependency on the car as a mode of transportation. What if we designed and built more responsibly, with fewer resources, and for a shared future beyond the cycle of fifteen years?

This symposium aims to expose local architects, stakeholders, as well as students to alternative approaches and research on the housing question. The critical assessment of the discussed models and practices, and their potential adaptation and adoption under the crucial consideration of local socio-economic, political, environmental, and cultural forces, will contribute to an expanding discourse on contemporary dwelling in Houston and beyond.

Presenters: Emanuel Christ (Christ & Gantenbein, Basel; ETH Zurich), Sophie Delhay (Sophie Delay Architecte, Paris, EPF Lausanne), Simon Hartmann (HHF Architects, Basel; Karlsruhe Institute of Technology); Éric Lapierre (Experience, Paris; EPF Lausanne); Oliver Lütjens (Lütjens Padmanabhan Architekt*innen, Zurich; Harvard GSD); Christian Inderbitzin (Edelaar Mosayebi Inderbitzin Architekt*innen, Zurich; Karlsruhe Institute of Technology).

Rice Architecture respondents: Scott Colman (Assistant Professor), Andrew Colopy (Associate Professor), Albert Pope (Professor), Troy Schaum (Associate Professor), Brittany Utting (Assistant Professor), Jesús Vassallo (Associate Professor).

Panelists: Kevin Batchelor (Hines), Ryan LeVasseur (Rice Management Company), Elaine Morales (Connective/Houston Community Land Trust), George Ristow (Rice University Architect), Eva Thibaudeau (Temenos CDC), Reto Geiser, Moderator (Rice Architecture).

More Than Fifteen Years: Six Takes on Housing After the Neoliberal Turn, is organized by Rice Architecture Associate Professor Reto Geiser with the Consulate General of Switzerland in Atlanta, in partnership with Presence Switzerland, Swissnex in Boston and New York, and with support from Schindler, and Rice Architecture. It is free and open to the public.

The complete schedule and details are available here.  The symposium sessions will livestreamed via our YouTube channel. For questions or additional information email Carla Haskins, carlah@rice.edu.

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