The Living Room Series (Cornell University)

For the last two years, the students at Cornell University’s School of Art, Architecture and Planning have selected guest speakers to address topics of contemporary interest. These events are held on the wooden floor portion of the L. P. Kwee Studios in the OMA addition of Milstein Hall. I was invited by the Ph.D. students to speak about my forthcoming book project on the racial discourses of architectural organicism. Esra Akcan served as the host and there were a good number of students in attendance, including students of color with questions about the contemporary relevance of my research. I was very impressed with the critical acumen of everyone in attendance and felt generously entertained while I was in Ithaca. I wish to thank Ana Ozaki and Athanasiou Geolas for reaching out to me for this event and for serving as such excellent hosts. Samia Henni and Mary Woods were also very kind in speaking with me about my interests and their research during my trip.


Here is a link to the event page, and in case you missed it, here were the details of the where and when:

Davis_Living Room Conversation (poster)Charles Davis and Esra Akcan: Building Character: The Racial Politics of Modern Architectural Style in the Living Room

 Monday, March 18, 2019 at 5:30pm

 Wood floor, L. P. Kwee Studios, Milstein Hall

The Living Room is a student organization whose goal is to create a forum for critical discussion and debate about architecture today. Please join Charles Davis and Esra Akcan for the Living Room on March 18 to consider historical integrations of race and style theory in paradigms of “architectural organicism” or movements that modeled design on the generative principles of nature.

Charles L. Davis II is an assistant professor of architectural history and criticism at the University at Buffalo. He received his Ph.D. in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and has an M.Arch. and B.P.S. from the University at Buffalo. His academic research examines the integrations of race and style theory in modern architectural debates from the late 19th to the mid-20th century. He has published articles and essays in Architectural Research Quarterly, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Harvard Design Magazine, Log, Aggregate, Append-x, and VIA. His design work, which examines the contemporary relevance of his academic research, has been exhibited at galleries in New York state and North Carolina.

Esra Akcan’s scholarly work on a geopolitically conscious global history of urbanism and architecture inspires her teaching. She is the author of Landfill Istanbul: Twelve Scenarios for a Global City (124/3, 2004); Architecture in Translation: Germany, Turkey and the Modern House (Duke University Press, 2012); Turkey: Modern Architectures in History (with S. Bozdoğan, Reaktion/University of Chicago Press, 2012); and Open Architecture: Migration, Citizenship and the Urban Renewal of Berlin-Kreuzberg by IBA-1984/87 (Birkhäuser-De Gruyter, 2018). She has received numerous awards and has authored more than 100 articles on the intertwined histories of Europe and West Asia, critical and postcolonial theory, architectural photography, migration and diasporas, translation, and contemporary architecture. These works offer new ways to understand the global movement of architecture and advocate a commitment to new ethics of hospitality and global justice. Akcan has also participated in exhibitions by carrying her practice beyond writing to visual media. Akcan was educated as an architect in Turkey and received her Ph.D. from Columbia University.

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