ASSC: Modernism and the Museum Space in Germany – 5 July 2017

Please join us at the last Architecture Space and Society Centre event of 2016-17:

Modernism and the Museum Space in Germany

Wednesday 5 July 2017, 6pm, School of Arts, Birkbeck, 43 Gordon Square, Cinema

This symposium will explore the ways in which the advanced architecture of the early twentieth century in Germany confronted the space of the museum, and was itself curated and presented for display.

Max Sternberg, Cambridge University

Choreographies of the medieval: The Schnütgen Museum in Cologne 1910-1932

Jeremy Aynsley, University of Brighton

Curating Bauhaus Houses, 1923-2019

Respondent: Robin Schuldenfrei, Courtauld Institute of Art

Dr Leslie Topp
Department of History of Art, Birkbeck, University of London

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Architecture Space and Society Centre Reading Group – 16 March 2017 3-4.30 – The Industrial City

A reminder of the reading group next Thursday:

Our next Architecture Space and Society Centre reading group meeting is on Thursday March 16, 3-4.30pm in the Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Sq. You are all warmly invited to join what promises to be a rich and lively discussion, with the focus on the industrial city. Please also circulate to any PhD students who might be interested.

Discussion will be led by Mark Crinson.  The readings and images are available here:

A message from Mark:

The Industrial City

For our next reading group I have got together some images and texts on the topic of the industrial city. Most of the material is pretty classic stuff on this subject but it could all do with a closer scrutiny and new angles on to it. It includes the following two readings –

Friedrich Engels – extract from The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845), pp82-109 in the current Penguin edition.

Elizabeth Gaskell – extract from North and South (1855), chapter 8 ‘Home Sickness’

There are also five images –

James Mudd – ‘The River Irwell from Blackfriars Bridge’ (1859)

James Mudd – untitled photograph of mills in Manchester (c1860)

William Wyld – ‘Manchester from Kersal Moor’ (1857)

AWN Pugin – Contrasted Towns, from Contrasts (1840)

Robert Owen – ‘The Old Moral World and the New Moral World’ (1832) and ‘Plan of a Self Supporting Home Colony’ (1841)

The Architecture Space and Society Reading Group meets once or twice a term to discuss a wide range of texts, sites and questions related to architecture and space, across periods, geographies and disciplines.

All meetings are on Thursday, 3-4.30pm

Upcoming meetings and people taking the lead:
16 March: Mark Crinson, Keynes (see above)
11 May: Lesley McFadyen, Gordon Sq, G02
15 June: Tag Gronberg, Keynes

Dr Leslie Topp
Department of History of Art, Birkbeck, University of London

Architecture Space and Society Centre


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Architecture Space and Society Centre – Peg Rawes, Housing Biopolitics and Care, Monday 20 March 2017, 6pm

We are delighted to announce our next speaker in the annual Thinkers in Architecture series:

Prof. Peg Rawes, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL: Housing Biopolitics and Care

Monday, 20th March, 6pm, Keynes Library, School of Arts, Birkbeck

This talk outlines how Spinoza’s seventeenth-century philosophy constitutes a humane and ethical ratio within a biopolitical discussion of the UK housing crisis.  For Spinoza, ratio constitutes different modes of environmental, corporeal and societal lives. Drawing from Foucault’s writings on technologies of the self, and Spinoza’s geometric essay The Ethics (1677), I explore how Spinoza’s ‘radical enlightenment’ thought has resonance with architects and professionals who challenge the inhumane ratios of inequality that currently form UK housing provision.  For those interested in the talk, you can also watch the film, Equal By Design (2016), in advance.  Co-authored with Beth Lord (Aberdeen), and in collaboration with Lone Star Productions, it is available here:

Peg Rawes is Professor of Architecture and Philosophy, and Programme Director of the Masters in Architectural History at the Bartlett School of Architecture UCL. Recent publications include: Equal By Design (2016); ‘Humane and inhumane ratios’ in The Architecture Lobby’s Aysmmetric Labors (2016); Poetic Biopolitics: Practices of Relation in Architecture and the Arts (co-ed., 2016); Relational Architectural Ecologies: Architecture, Nature and Subjectivity (ed., 2013).

All welcome. The event is free of charge. To book a place, click here.

Architecture Space and Society Centre


Dr Leslie Topp
Department of History of Art, Birkbeck, University of London

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Healing Spaces, Modern Architecture, and the Body – 3 Feb 2017

New Books Series: Healing Spaces, Architecture and the Body

Co-hosted by Architecture Space and Society Centre and Centre for Medical Humanities, Birkbeck

3 February, 2-5pm, Keynes Library

You can now book your place here.

This event marks the publication of the collected volume Healing Spaces, Modern Architecture and the Body (Routledge, 2016).

We are delighted to welcome the co-editors Dr Sarah Schrank, Professor of History at California State University, Long Beach, and Dr Didem Ekici, Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Nottingham.


Didem Ekici and Sarah Schrank, Introduction to the volume

Didem Ekici, The Physiology of the House: Modern Architecture and the Science of Hygiene

Sarah Schrank, Naked Houses: The Architecture of Nudism and the Rethinking of the American Suburbs

Respondent: Caitjan Gainty, Lecturer in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, Kings College London

There will be a drinks reception afterwards.


All welcome!

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Architecture Space and Society Centre Reading Group 2016-17

Architecture Space and Society Centre Reading Group – 2016-17

Birkbeck’s Architecture Space and Society Centre reading group, which had its first meeting in May, is a forum for wide ranging discussion of architecture, space and society, across periods, geographies and disciplines.

Each session is led by an ASSC member (or 2-3 members), who will assign preparatory tasks.  These will normally be texts to read, but preparation could also include a building, site, or set of images to look at, for instance.

All academics and research students at Birkbeck with an interest in the themes discussed are welcome to participate. We also extend a warm welcome to ASSC speakers from beyond Birkbeck, who are encouraged to invite their research students.

These are the dates and names for 2016-17.  Specifics about themes and texts, etc will be sent out closer to the time.  Scans of texts will be available.

All meetings are on Thursday, 3-4.30pm.

8 December: Leslie Topp – Keynes Library
9 February: Peter Fane-Saunders – B02, 43 Gordon Square
16 March: Mark Crinson – Keynes Library
11 May: Lesley McFadyen – G02, 43 Gordon Square
15 June: Tag Gronberg – Keynes Library

For details of the reading group and the texts/themes discussed in the first session, please see –

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