“The Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, New York (1967-1985)”

This book-length publication is the first comprehensive study of the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies (New York, 1967-1985), from an institutional and socio-cultural perspective, with respect to its four main roles: 1) as research and project office, 2) as architecture school, 3) as event space, and 4) as publishing house. In four chapters, I trace how the Institute, first involved in large-scale urban renewal and housing projects, under the direction of Peter Eisenman soon formed a circle that produced and disseminated new knowledge, educated the next generation of architects and academics, as well as networked New York architects nationally and internationally. Moreover, I add to the fact that the Institute, which today is mainly remembered for its publications, first and foremost for OPPOSITIONS journal, profited majorly from architects and academics, emerging and established, whom Eisenman grouped around him, by focussing on other projects, programs and practices, educational and cultural. Even though architectural histories on single architects and academics organized at the Institute, coming from North America and Europe, on key exhibitions and periodicals, already exists, an institutional history of New York City’s architectural culture, of what could be termed “cultural production” (Bourdieu) in architecture, of architects contributing to intellectual debates, the curriculum reform, and an economy of attention is long overdue.

The manuscript is based on extensive archival research (mainly at the CCA and the MoMA, as well as architecture schools on the US-East Coast) and over 100 oral history interviews with more than 80 people involved (Institute fellows, staff, trustees, faculty, students, interns, editors, authors, contemporaries, critics, etc.), offering insights into architectural and institutional culture in North America and in Europe. The chapters, covering 17 years, narrate, how and why the Institute engaged with and influenced the architectural community, gathering in New York City, or following from afar: 1) through urban and architectural projects commissioned by the New York City Planning Commission, the US-Department for Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Urban Development Corporation (UDC); 2) through educational offerings, positioning itself in between the Ivy Leagues universities and liberal arts colleges on the East Coast, as well as international schools such as the Architectural Association in London and the IUAV in Venice; 3) through curating exhibitions of contemporary and modern practice, to be seen in relation to those at established art museums such as the MoMA, in architecture spaces and architectural galleries, as well as at the newly founded Venice Architecture Biennale; 4) through publishing a range of formats, intellectual and popular, competing with those professional and student run journals in North American, international periodicals (from Europe, Japan, Latin America), as well as architecture books on the market.

The research was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), the ETH Zurich and the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA). For the publication, I have received a Production and Publication Grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago.

The book has been extensively researched at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). In the course of the research for my PhD thesis at ETH Zurich (2007-2011), I have worked in various other archives: archives of architecture schools (Columbia University, Cooper Union, Princeton University, Yale University) as well as of Liberal Art Colleges, who had cooperated with the Institute (Sarah Lawrence College); archives of various private and public foundations or endowments (Noble Foundation, New York State Council on the Art, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities); and in multiple personal archives, which are publicly accessible or which have been made available by individuals.

In addition, I have conducted interviews with the following individuals (in alphabetical order): Diana Agrest, Stan Allen, Emilio Ambasz, Andrew Anker, Samuel Anderson, Stanford Anderson, George Baird, Jonathan Barnett, Andrew Bartle, Michael Bierut, Thomas Bender, Vincent Benedetto, Barry Bergdoll, Deborah Berke, Rosemarie Bletter, David Buege, Colin Campbell, Walter Chatham, Kees Christiaanse, Nathaniel Coleman, Roger Conover, Joan Copjec, Douglas Crimp, Peggy Deamer, Livio Dimitriu, Linda Dukess, Peter Eisenman, William Ellis, Kurt Forster, Kenneth Frampton, Suzanne Frank, Mario Gandelsonas, Deborah Gans, Paul Goldberger, Peter Greenberg, Robert Gutman, Sarah Halliday, Laurie Hawkinson, Henry Hecker, Christian Hubert, Thomas Hut, Margot Jacqz, Louise Joseph, Brian Kaye, Kevin Kennon, Jonathan Kirschenfeld, Silvia Kolbowski, Randall Korman, Rosalind Krauss, Lawrence Kutnicki, Robert Lane, John Leeper, Theodore Liebman, Kevin Lippert, Peter Lynch, Andrew MacNair, Mary McLeod, Jay Measley, Richard Meier, Tom Mellins, Robert Meltzer, David Mohney, Elizabeth Moule, Joan Ockman, Miguel Oks, Kyong Park, Patrick Pinnell, Alan Plattus, Stephen Potters, Tim Prentice, George Ranalli, Mark Robbins, Joseph Rykwert, Pat Sapinsley, Michael Schwarting, Richard Sennett, Lindsay Shapiro, Coty Sidnam, Robert Silman, Carla Skodinski, Michael Sorkin, Suzanne Stephens, Robert Stern, Jon Stouman, Mimi Taft, Frederieke Taylor, Bernard Tschumi, Anthony Vidler, Massimo Vignelli, Lauretta Vinciarelli, Laura Waltz, Peggy Weil, Richard Wengenroth, Terrance Williams, Peter Wolf

An essay on the Institute's cultural production, "Institutionalizing Postmodernism: Reconceiving the Journal and the Exhibition at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in 1976,", appeared in Mediated Messages: Periodicals, Exhibitions, and the Shaping Postmodern Architecture [eds. V. Patteeuw / L.-C. Szacka]. In addition, I published essays and articles in selected journals and magazines (Candide, Archithese, ARCH+).

Over the years, I have presented on the Institute, its housing project, networking, educational programs, institutional reinvention, etc. at conferences at various academic and cultural institutions: ETH Zurich, TU Darmstadt, EAHN, University of Pennsylvania, Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), Columbia University, MIT.