Missing Masses Symposium

Missing Masses Symposium

The Architecture Section at the Knowlton School is pleased to announce Missing Masses: Architecture of the Unseen, a symposium that invites Knowlton UG4 and G3 architecture students and faculty to engage with the latent and absent elements of architectural discourse and practice. The two-day symposium will be held January 25–26.

Missing Masses invites participants to engage with the latent and absent elements of architectural discourse and practice. Drawing from Bruno Latour's sociological exploration of the role of human and non-human actors in societal networks, the symposium poses critical questions about the previously unseen constituents of architecture and the built environment. It reflects on how these “missing masses”—be they physical, material, or spatial—participate in shaping our social and environmental constructs.

The symposium is structured around three critical dialogues: 

Commons investigates the intricate and interdependent networks of shared spaces and resources. It invites participants to redefine the “commons” through the lens of architecture, interrogating how design informs and transforms community dynamics, equitable resource distribution, and responsible environmental stewardship at both global and local scales. 

Matters examines the very substance of architecture–the tangible materials and elements that form the built environment and the intangible matters of concern surrounding them. Looking closely at architecture’s material culture, the session explores the ethical and societal implications of design practices, questioning what constitutes and contributes to the 'matter' of architecture in contemporary milieu.  

Bodies focuses on the synergy of human and non-human agency in the act of building. It critically examines the evolving narratives of labor, skill, and identity within architecture, and reflects on the role of the invisible actors that contribute to the production and maintenance of architecture.


January 25

6–7:30 p.m.
Germane Barnes in conversation with Phu Hoang

January 26

9 – 9:10 a.m.
Big Stairs

Session 1: Commons 
9:10 – 10:30 a.m.
Big Stairs

Session 2: Matters 
10:40 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Big Stairs

Session 3: Bodies
1 – 2:20 p.m. 
Big Stairs

Roundtable Discussions 
2:30 – 3:30 p.m. 
Rooms 175, 176, 177