The paradox of the building site lies in the fact that, although inescapably essential to the realization of architecture, the building site must inevitably vanish, superseded by the durable forms of the completed building. Such traces that remain, in documents, photographs, or physical marks upon the building, have been of passing interest to architectural history for the information they reveal about the realized object, but a different mode of attention remains to be focused upon the building site itself. As a node in networks of exchange and circulation, as the instantiation of material processes of transformation within specific environmental conditions, as the transmutation of physical labor and abstract value, the building site is a nexus of social meaning concealed within any architectural history. To reveal, and to represent, these dimensions not just as prelude or precondition but as an independent event, architectural history must return to the building site with a different set of tools.
Timothy Hyde is a historian of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology whose research focuses on the political dimensions of architecture from the eighteenth century to the present, with a particular attention to relationships of architecture and law. His most recent book is Ugliness and Judgment: On Architecture in the Public Eye (Princeton University Press, 2019), and he is also the author of Constitutional Modernism: Architecture and Civil Society in Cuba, 1933-1959 (University of Minnesota Press, 2012). Hyde is a founding member of the Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative and is one of the editors of the first Aggregate book, Governing by Design. His writings have also appeared in numerous journals, including Perspecta, Log, El Croquis, The Journal of Architecture, the Journal of Architectural Education, arq, Future Anterior, Architecture Theory Review, and Thresholds. Hyde has been a MacDowell Colony Fellow and his work has previously been supported by grants from the Graham Foundation, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, and the Huntington Library. He is currently the 2020-21 Clark-Oakley Fellow at the Clark Art Institute.
This event will take place on November 9th as a live Webinar at 6:15pm ET (New York time). Only registered attendees will be able to access this event.