The Bartlett School of Architecture


Vera Bühlmann – Bartlett International Lecture Series

14 March 2018, 6:30 pm–8:00 pm

Vera Buhlmann

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The Bartlett School of Architecture


The Christopher Ingold Auditorium (accessed through The Bartlett School of Architecture), 20 Gordon Street, London, WC1H 0AJ

A Treatise on the Current Condition
of Architecture Theory 

Lecturer's Abstract

"Critique has run out of steam, Bruno Latour recently claimed. This lecture will reformulate Latour’s observation by leaving his thermodynamic paradigm of intellectual work (steam engine) in favour of a quantum physical one. It will consider the condition of critique in the register of exhaustion rather than that of running out of energy.

To exhaust oneself is not quite the same as getting tired.

The lecture proposes a treatise for architecture theory in the age(dness) of computational reason. It takes speaking of an architecture "Big Bang" (Koolhaas) at face value and relates it to how contemporary science at large has changed its character: science no longer identifies its objects in terms of universal forms that are timeless.

Instead, the universe itself is attributed an objectively datable 'nature', such as 4.5 billion years old in the case of the Earth. Time in such dating is counted atomistically, rather than linearly or circularly, and this lecture will ask what such thinking about time entails for architecture and architecture theory.

The guiding question will be: How can we learn to think in the registers of a material notion of universality that is qualified by agedness, and how can the subject of theory relate critically to its own objective conditions (its own temper, its own juvenilia, maturity, and seniority) in doing so?"


Vera Bühlmann is a Swiss writer. She is Professor of Architecture Theory and Director of the Department for Architecture Theory and Philosophy of Technics ATTP at Vienna University of Technology. Together with Ludger Hovestadt she founded and directs the laboratory for applied virtuality at the Architecture Department at ETH Zurich, and co-edits the applied virtuality book series (Birkhäuser, Basel/Vienna, since 2012).

After studying philosophy and English language and literature in Zurich, Switzerland, she obtained a PhD in media theory/philosophy from Basel University (2009). Her latest monograph is entitled Information and Mathematics in the Philosophy of Michel Serres (Bloomsbury, London: forthcoming 2018). 

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Image: Poltak Pandjaitan 2018, shadow projections of an icosahedral quasicrystal