Book launch "Architecture and Abstraction" by Pier Vittorio Aureli / TPOD, ACHT, THEMA, HITAM


Event details

Date 13.03.2024
Hour 18:0020:00
Speaker Pier Vittorio Aureli (TPOD, EPFL)
Salle Archizoom
Category Conferences - Seminars
Event Language English
In this theoretical study of abstraction in architecture—the first of its kind—Pier Vittorio Aureli argues for a reconsideration of abstraction, its meanings, and its sources. Although architects have typically interpreted abstraction in formal terms—the purposeful reduction of the complexities of design to its essentials—Aureli shows that abstraction instead arises from the material conditions of building production. In a lively study informed by Walter Benjamin, Karl Marx, Alfred Sohn-Rethel, and other social theorists, Architecture and Abstraction presents abstraction in architecture not as an aesthetic tendency but as a movement that arises from modern divisions of labor and consequent social asymmetries.

These divisions were anticipated by the architecture of antiquity, which established a distinction between manual and intellectual labor, and placed the former in service to the latter. Further abstractions arose as geometry, used for measuring territories, became the intermediary between land and money and eventually produced the logic of the grid. In our own time, architectural abstraction serves the logic of capitalism and embraces the premise that all things can be exchanged—even experience itself is a commodity. To resist this turn, Aureli seeks a critique of architecture that begins not by scaling philosophical heights, but by standing at the ground level of material practice.

Pier Vittorio Aureli is co-founder of Dogma and teaches at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. His lastest book is Architecture and Abstraction (2023).

Neighbours Lecture Series Vol. 3

13/3 - Pier Vittorio Aureli (EPFL). Architecture and Abstraction: Book Launch with Sarah Nichols, Christophe van Gerrewey, and Alfredo Thiermann
20/3 - Tatiana Efrussi (L’atelier des artistes en exil). Hannes Meyer’s Kinderheim Mümliswil: From Utopian 'Home' to National Memorial
27/3 - Sarah Gainsforth (Journalist). Challenging the New Housing Question
10/4 - Claire Zimmerman (University of Toronto). Industrial Architecture, Situated in the Twentieth Century
24/4 - Álvaro Sevilla-Buitrago (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid). Against the Commons: Elements for a Radical Planning Theory
1/5 - Spyros Papapetros (Princeton University). Pre/Architecture
8/5 - Anna-Maria Meister (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz: Max Planck Institute, KIT and saai archive Karlsruhe). Fragile Objects, Coded Knowledge
15/5 - Platon Issaias (Architectural Association) & Ioanna Theocharopoulou (Columbia University). On the Polykatoikia and its Discontents

Practical information

  • General public
  • Free


  • The presentation of the book is part of the Neighbours Vol. 3 lecture series on the History and Theory of Architecture. It is organized jointly by Pier Vittorio Aureli (TPOD), Christophe van Gerrewey (ACHT), Sarah Nichols (THEMA), Alfredo Thiermann (HITAM) of the EDAR School.