Robert Somol / University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Architecture

Gui Auditorium / Knowlton Hall
February 3, 2016 - 5:30pm

Robert Somol, Baumer Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Knowlton School, will present a lecture titled "See What I'm Saying" in Knowlton Hall’s Gui Auditorium at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 3, 2016. The talk is free and open to the public.

A design critic and architectural theorist, Somol is the director of the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His writings have appeared in publications ranging from Assemblage to Wired and focus on modernism and its modes of repetition, the emergence of the diagram in postwar architecture, landscape and interior urbanism and the criticism of contemporary architectural practices and pedagogy.

He was guest editor for volume five of the contemporary architecture journal Log and served as a member of the editorial board of ANY magazine, which explored the cultural role of architecture and its relationships to other disciplines. Somol is also a member of the Research Board of the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam. He was formerly a principal at the Los Angeles architecture firm P XS and co-designer of "off-use," an award-winning studio and residence in Los Angeles (2002).

Somol holds an A.B. from Brown University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D. in the history of culture from the University of Chicago.

About "See What I'm Saying"

In 1966, the simultaneous publication of Robert Venturi’s Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture and Aldo Rossi’s L’architettura della città announced the arrival of the “architect-critic” as a new mode of architectural auteur in the wake of modernism’s dissolution. The adoption of this hybrid form of practice between writing and designing (words and things) intensifies the necessarily “paper” foundation of all architecture, and demonstrates that the establishment of contemporary architectural theory was an effect of the needs and provocations experienced within a wide range of architectural practices. In charting two genealogies of the architectural realignment of words and things, this talk will advance the idea of the speech act as an alternative to the process-driven preoccupation with the index.