Talking Books:
The Scenes of the Street and Other Essays


Talking Books: The Scenes of the Street and Other Essays
Anthony Vidler in conversation with Mary McLeod and Noah Chasin

Wednesday, July 6, 2011
7:00 p.m.
McNally Jackson Books
52 Prince St.
1.0 CEUs

Join Anthony Vidler, Mary McLeod, and Noah Chasin for a discussion on architecture and urbanism in celebration of the publication of Vidler’s recently released collection of essays, The Scenes of the Street and Other Essays (Monacelli, 2011).

As Vidler notes in his introduction, “I have always resisted the continual attempts to separate the discussion of modern architecture from that of modern urban planning.  To confine architecture to the role of designing a single building in a context that is largely defined by the interplay of economic development and urban policy leaves the question of the form of the public realm unanswered.  In this period of global urbanization, the single building has become increasingly isolated as an icon of progress rising amid a sea of urban blight, a designer accessory masking the rampant spoliaton of traditional urban fabric and the unsustainable expansion of urban areas…

“In the following essays, I have interrogated the struggle for an urban architecture in the modern period, its critiques and aspirations, in the belief that understanding the historical dimensions of the debate will lead to a renewal of interest in an architecture calculated to redeem, if only partially, our ‘planet of slums’ and its deteriorating environment; an interest that will not simply reject ‘utopia’ out of hand or fall back into the complacencies of nostalgia.  Written during a period in which the debates themselves were actively engaged by critics and supporters of modernism, they reflect contemporary issues as they search for their prehistory.”

Anthony Vidler, dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union, is a historian and critic of modern and contemporary architecture.  His books include James Frazer Stirling: Notes from the Archive, The Writing of the Walls: Architectural Theory in the Late Enlightenment, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux: Architecture and Social Reform at the End of the Ancien Regime, The Architectural Uncanny: Essays in the Modern Unhomely, Antoine Grumbach, and Warped Space: Architecture and Anxiety in Modern Culture.

Mary McLeod is a professor of architecture at Columbia University, where she teaches architecture history and theory, and occasionally studio.  Her research and publications have focused on the history of the modern movement and on contemporary architecture theory, examining issues concerning the connections between architecture and ideology.  She has written extensively on Le Corbusier’s architecture and urban planning, and is the editor of the book Charlotte Perriand: An Art of Living.

Noah Chasin is Assistant Professor of Art History at Bard College and Adjunct Associate Professor of Architecture at Columbia’s Graduate School for Architecture, Planning, and Preservation.

This program is free and open to all.  Seating first-come, first-served.  Reception to follow.

Organized by The Architectural League of New York and McNally Jackson Books.