The University of San Diego Architecture Conference to Explore Role of Housing in Politics & Society

In the past decade, the public discussion on housing has focused on its role as a financial asset and contributor to the economic cycles of boom and bust. Yet, an international conference at the University of San Diego in mid-March wishes to return our attention to housing’s role in matters of politics, social reform and artistic practices.

“Since the 19th-century outcry over the living conditions of the working class, housing has had a long and meaningful history as the sphere in which progressive reform has been imagined, debated and implemented and where social values, political projects and new forms of political collectivity could be tested and shaped,” said Juliana Maxim, University of San Diego Associate Professor of Architecture and conference co-chair. The conference is also co-chaired and co-organized by Dr. Can Bilsel, Professor of Architecture and Director of the Architecture Program at the University of San Diego.

Conference discussions will explore the relationship between housing and the development of modernism, the ways in which the imperative to provide quality shelter for large numbers of inhabitants shaped the definition of architecture, as well as the disciplinary implications of taking on housing as an architectural assignment and responsibility.

Reinhold Martin, Professor of Architecture at Columbia University, will give the conference keynote address. Martin, who was formerly a partner at the firm of Martin/Baxi Architects, brings a theoretical perspective on the city that combines aesthetics with political economy.

Other conference participants include UCLA professors Sylvia Lavin and Michael Osman, professor Patricia Morton from UC Riverside, and leading scholars from around the world.

The two-day conference on March 12-13 is part of a series of nomad seminars on the history of art and architecture meant to examine methodologies, approaches and master narratives as well as their transformations in art and architectural history. Under the general coordination of Dr. Carmen Popescu, previous seminars were held in Greifswald, Germany; Paris, France; and Ankara, Turkey.

The event is free and open to the media and the public and will take place at the University of San Diego’s Camino Hall and Manchester Conference Center Auditorium. To read the full program and participant list for “The Housing Question: Nomad Seminar in Historiography,” click here


Denise Ward
(619) 260-4659