This Thing Called Theory (London, 30 May 19)

The Barrel Vault, Architectural Association School of Architecture, 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES, May 30, 2019
Registration deadline: May 30, 2019

‘This Thing Called Theory’ Open Seminar Series
Architectural Association School of Architecture
 & Architectural Humanities Research Association (AHRA)

Stemming from the Architectural Humanities Research Association (AHRA) 2015 conference, the open seminar series ‘This Thing Called Theory’ explores the status of theory in architecture, proposing theory as a form of architectural practice that opposes the instrumentalization of its use.

After MAKING THEORIES (2017) and DOUBLE CROSSING (2018), the third open seminar, Theory and Histories, proposes a discussion on the current proliferation of architectural history narratives, and of the different ways of constructing, curating and communicating them.

By looking at architectural history from within the established discipline (Mark Cousins) and current practices (Joel McKim), as well as from an ambiguous “outside” of critical readings (Lorens Holm) and ironical takes (Mark Morris), ‘This Thing Called Theory’ stakes the claim for theory to perform the critical (destructive) role of questioning and challenging today’s many ‘new canonical’ histories. As they fill the past, again and anew, with the ‘the presence of the now’ (Walter Benjamin’s “Jetztzeit”), new histories are already affecting and performing new projects of architecture.


14:00 – 14:20
Welcome and Introductions
Welcome – Costandis Kizis (AHRA AA representative)
Research and the AHRA – Lorens Holm (AHRA Steering Group)
This Thing Called Theory – Doreen Bernath (AA)
Theory and Histories – Teresa Stoppani (AA, AHRA)

14:20 – 16.20
Speakers Presentations

Mark Cousins (AA)
Architectural Categories and Architectural Periods

Joel McKim (Birkbeck)
A Near History of Digital Architecture: Responses at Ground Zero

Lorens Holm (Dundee)
We Are All Statesmen – We All Love the Smell of Napalm in the Morning

Mark Morris (AA)
What’s So Funny About Architectural History

16:20 – 16:30

16:30 – 17:30
Questions and Conversations


MARK COUSINS (AA) is Head of History & Theory Studies at the AA. His Friday Lectures at the AA ran for 30 years, attracting a wide audience of architects and artists. He is currently transforming the lectures into books.

LORENS HOLM (Dundee, AHRA) is Reader in Architecture and Director of the Geddes Institute for Urban Research at the University of Dundee. At Dundee he runs the Rooms+Cities design research unit, which uses architectural theory to open up a space for designing new forms of city and social life.

JOEL McKIM (Birkbeck) is Senior Lecturer in Digital Media and Culture at Birkbeck, University of London, where he is the Director of the Vasari Research Centre for Art and Technology and co-director of the MA Digital Media. He is currently a Visiting Fellow at the V&A Research Institute.

MARK MORRIS (AA) is Head of Teaching and Learning at the AA and works on diverse curricular objectives across the School as well as teaching History & Theory Studies.

DOREEN BERNATH (AA HTS, Leeds Beckett) is Senior Lecturer in Architecture at Leeds Beckett University, HTS lecturer at the AA, and a co-editor of RIBA’s The Journal of Architecture. She directs the AA Budapest Visiting School ‘The Uncommon Walk’.

TERESA STOPPANI (AA HTS, AHRA) is HTS lecturer at the AA and a co-editor of RIBA’s The Journal of Architecture. She is the instigator of the architecture research collective ThisThingCalledTheory.

The event is open to members of the public, staff and students.

Event Organisers:
Doreen Bernath and Teresa Stoppani, ThisThingCalledTheory

Guest Speakers:
Mark Cousins (AA)
Lorens Holm (U Dundee, AHRA)
Joel McKim (Birkbeck)
Mark Morris (AA)  

CONF: This Thing Called Theory (London, 30 May 19). In:, May 20, 2019 (accessed Jul 16, 2020), <>.

Contributor: Teresa Stoppani, Leeds BeckettUniversity

Contribution published: May 20, 2019

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