TÜLAY ATAK - Buil­ding Envi­ron­ments, Buil­ding Theory

Tülay Atak (Die Angewandte, Vienna, Guest Professor for Theory in Architecture)

Environmental history and theory provides a way to consider architecture in relation to histories of energy, extraction, infrastructure, production, supply chain and labor. The environmental lens on theory provides ways to encompass all elements of building activities, allowing for connections to be made across a wide range of scales, from that of a building detail to those of entire landscapes and cities. It also urges us to consider the representation of the environment in architecture, bringing into view the limits and entanglements of the discipline, drawing new affinities, producing knowledge and advancing the discipline.
If theory is what establishes the relationship between what is present and what can be imagined, allowing us to look forward and backward, then it is the task of architectural theory to consider what remains constant and what changes in the discipline as it addresses current challenges. It is pressing to address how environmental issues impact, affect, and shift theoretical work on architecture, landscape and design, and consider the current state of architectural theory in the context of numerous ecological crises. The presentation will articulate this framework with examples of scholarship and curatorial work.

Tulay Atak is an architect, historian and theorist whose current work focuses on the intersections between environmental history and architecture. She received her professional architecture degree at METU in Ankara and then pursued her PhD at UCLA. In addition to her own work, she has participated in collaborative research projects, conducting fieldwork in Chandigarh as part of the Getty Research Institute's ‘Museology and the Colony’ project and archiving the work of the structural engineer Heinz Isler with a team of scholars for the ETH.
Tulay's most recent book is a co-edited volume titled Pedagogical Experiments in Architecture for a Changing Climate. Her writing and scholarship has appeared in journals and books such as OASE, Future Anterior, Architektur Aktuell, Byzantium / Modernism: The Byzantine as Method in Modernity and Fragile City. She has taught at SCI-Arc, Cornell, RISD, Cooper Union, RPI and Pratt Institute.


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