Visiting Professorship 2012 Candidature Lectures

The Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space (SKuOR), cordially invites interested colleagues, students and interested people to join the two upcoming SKuOR guest lectures related to the candiatde selection procedure for the Visiting Professorship 2012 related to the annual issue of the second 3-years’-programme, Urban culture, public space and resources: Aesthetics and materiality.

On Monday, 7th of November 2011, Prof. DPhil MA MArch Maria Kaika (University of Manchester, UK) will be giving a lecture on ‘Space as Imaginary Institution: The case of Iconic Buildings’.
Date & Venue: 11.30 am, Festsaal, Main building, Stiege I, 1st floor, Vienna UT

On Tuesday, 8th of November 2011, Ass. Prof. MSc PhD Massimo Bricocoli (Politecnico de Milano, Italy) will talk about ‘Architecture, urban planning and policies: Urban space under observation’.
Date & Venue: 3.30, Lecture hall EI 3A, Gußhausstraße 25, 2nd floor, Vienna UT

About the SKuOR guest lectures and their work

Maria Kaika holds a D.Phil (PhD) from Oxford University, as well as an March from National Technical University of Athens. She is a qualified architect, and Professor in Human Geography, Honorary Fellow of the Manchester Architecture Research Centre, Director of the Social and Cultural Geography Research Group, and Director of the Masters Programme in Environmental Governance, at the University of Manchester. Kaika teaches courses on urban theory, urban cultures, global cities, and urban political ecology, at undergraduate and masters levels. She supervised over 120 undergraduate dissertations, over 35 doctoral and Masters students and 5 post-doctoral researchers. She currently directs the Masters course on Environmental Governance. In her research she focuses on urban infrastructures and urban political ecology (funded by European Union’s Frameworks V and VI Programmes) and – more recently – on Iconic architecture and the City of London. In this context she addresses the relationship between built form and urban patronage, in a project that has been funded by the British Academy.

Abstract of key-note on ‘Space as Imaginary Institution: The case of Iconic Buildings’ by Maria Kaika
Over the last 2 decades, research has developed two distinct approaches to urban cultures. The first stems from a political economy tradition, and details how, after the 1970s, the active engagement of urban space and culture into new waves of capital investment became central in the way cities across the world compete to attract new waves of finance and service capital. The second approach draws upon phenomenology and semiotics, to conceptualize design and architectural artefacts as the par excellence cultural objects of cities. This approach pays particular attention on the role of iconic constructions as signifiers of economic strength, and as catalysts for further urban transformation and success. However, both approaches share a significant pitfall. As they scrutinize the political, economic and cultural meaning of spaces, infrastructures and buildings, the prime historical question concerning the very genesis of meaning, the process through which systems of signifiers and signifieds are instituted and change over time, is left to the backburner. Both of these frameworks leave two important questions unanswered: Why certain buildings, infrastructures, cultures, or spaces, become iconic during specific historical moments, and, Why, what is perceived as iconic changes over time.

Massimo Bricocoli holds a MSc in Architecture and a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning at IUAV Venice. He is assistant Professor at the Department of Architecture and Planning at Politecnico di Milano where he teaches in the Master of Science Programme in Urban Planning and Policy Design, taught in English and is in the board of the PhD programme in Spatial Planning and Urban Design. Since 2004 he is contract professor in “Social work and urban policies” at the University of Venice. He is a founding member of SUI GENERIS, a research group on the sociology of public action at the University of Milano, and active member of the City Reformers Group at the London School of Economics. His research work focuses on public action, urban planning and policies, housing and neighborhood development, health and safety policies and develops in research projects at the national and international level.

Abstract of key-note on ‘Architecture, urban planning and policies: Urban space under observation’by Massimo Bricocoli
The physical and symbolic features of the new urban spaces being produced are expressing new conditions and forms of social and spatial re-organization. Trends in a new aesthetic of open spaces may be discussed within the development of a new geometry of socio-spatial arrangements that is recognized by many as a diffuse trend in the new spirit of capitalism. In fact, urban spaces may be regarded as a ‘concretion’ of public action, assuming public action in the sense of the combined result of joined (and disjoined) actions and practices developed by public and private actors. Urban spaces are material evidences and witness the state of the art of citizenship and politics and the kind of relations, of social and spatial assets that architecture and urban planning produce.