Architecture and the Media

I’ve organized an event down in Los Angeles, coming up on Tuesday, April 15, for Dwell magazine. This is not a BLDGBLOG event, in other words, and I will only be moderating – but I would strongly encourage anyone in the L.A. area to come out.
It should be a fantastic evening, and I’m extremely proud of the line-up.

We’ve got Michael Govan, Director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Frances Anderton, host of KCRW’s Design and Architecture radio show (DnA) and Los Angeles Editor of Dwell; and Christopher Hawthorne, architecture critic for the L.A. Times and easily one of the most interesting critics working in the field today.
The theme of the evening is “architecture and the media.”
How, for instance, does one discuss architecture over the radio – or in the newspaper, or in a gallery space? How are architectural ideas communicating through these various media? Does the medium itself inform the message, as it were – and in what specific way?
How are architecture and architectural ideas repackaged for discussion in these various forms?
For instance, as the New York Times reported last year, Govan hopes to engage on a curatorial project “to collect houses”:

His idea – one that has rarely, if ever, been tried on a large scale by a major museum – is to collect significant pieces of midcentury residential architecture, including houses by Rudolf M. Schindler, Richard Neutra, Frank Lloyd Wright and his son Lloyd Wright, and to treat them as both museum objects and as residences for curators.

Govan himself explains:

“It started with an effort to rethink the museum, looking at the resources that are both locally powerful and internationally relevant,” he said. “It’s clear that the most important architecture in Los Angeles is largely its domestic architecture. I’ve talked certainly to a number of people who have interesting architecture, and I’m beginning to talk to other people about raising funds to preserve these works.”

This would have the interesting effect of distributing the museum, so to speak, throughout the city; it would also be architectural history exhibiting itself in itself, collapsing the distinction between the exhibition space and what that space displays.
Now put this into the context of architecture as a radio conversation and architecture as a subject for newspaper editorials, and you’ve got three very different approaches to how the public can engage with or come to understand the built environment.
The event will be in my former hometown of Culver City, at the Museum of Design Art and Architecture – which is located here.
Doors open at 7:30pm, and the event itself begins at 8, lasting roughly one hour – followed by drinks and mingling.
Check out this website for more information about tickets and so on.

Also, this will only be the first of many such events: Dwell Conversations should be a really fun new series of talks, taking place in three cities over the next several months.

8 thoughts on “Architecture and the Media”

  1. Knowing Frances Anderton, is the coversation destine for a podcast on her DnA series? Or other site for that matter?

  2. Is the idea of collecting houses that novel an idea? Sounds like an adoption & adaptation of the Arts & Architecture mag Case Study House concept. Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea – just question the likely rhetoric of originality.

  3. Could I ask you to ask the KCRW people to liven up their production style? Their podcasts promise great content. I dutifully download them on to ITunes, the shows start and zzzzzz…

  4. Geoff,

    I hope the group might deal with a more populist/diffuse discussion of the built environment. One of the biggest impacts I see of the coverage of the built environment in the media is represented by the declaration of a “hot, hip” new neighborhood in the real estate or travel section of a big city paper. Or maybe they might have something to say about whether or how, on a massive scale, the media creates a demand for a certain type of housing that permeates a generation of thinking. In other words, how does a culture go from embracing a single-family bungalow as their dream home to a raw urban loft with exposed brick and pipes? Does the media shape and reinforce that–does it tell us what we want or tell those in the business of constructing buildings what we want?

    That to me is more interesting than the preservation of key homes–although this distributed museum concept reminds me a little bit of Brazilian versions of Urban Acupuncture, with a bit of a twist on the concept of lifting up a neighborhood.

  5. hi geoff-
    Great job last night. I thought the panel discussion was pretty interesting but I wish there had been more time for questions. I hope there are more of these coming down the pike…

  6. hello geoff,
    i'm an architecture student from buenos aires. i'm currently very intrested in the relation of architecture and the media, specially it's relationship to newspapers. do you know where can i find some information of this? i've tried to look it up in most of newspapers sites but there's not much info and i'm pretty sure it differs a lot from the printed version.
    the questions raised by this article are very intresting, i'm sure it was a great evening.

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