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#25 beautiful/ugly

Architecture and the Real World

Why the talk is inspiring?

Architectural discourse can be exclusionary. Not everyone feels they can have a say about the built environment because the conversation is often conceptual or theoretical. At the same time, the way architecture is covered in mainstream media is generally superficial. This generates only a shallow public understanding of the profession, the way buildings come about, and the relationship between architecture and society. How can criticism be accessible without dumbing down audiences? How can it contribute to a more complete understanding of spatial production and the value of architecture beyond polished renderings and fantastical photography? Can provocation help to shape the debate? In this lecture, Mark Minkjan shares how Failed Architecture tries to connect architecture to societal issues via new forms of criticism.

The lecture will be held at MO museum (Pylimo g. 17, Vilnius). The start is at 20.00. The event is free.



Mark Minkjan

How the speaker is exceptional?

Mark Minkjan (1986) is an architectural critic and urban thinker of the next generation. He’s an urban and architectural geographer who is interested in the interplay between the built environment and society. He studied urban geographies, economics and sociology at the University of Amsterdam. Mark is Editor-in-Chief at Failed Architecture and produces the Failed Architecture Podcast. Since 2011 Failed Architecture has been providing an inclusive platform for critical urban discourse, fueled by unconventional narratives from an international network of contributors, thus developing the field of architectural knowledge and a critical understanding of the built environment that we live in.

Mark is also a part of Non-fiction, an office for cultural innovation. He edited several books (including Farming the City – Food as a Tool for Today’s Urbanisation and the forthcoming Rewriting Architecture: 10+1 Actions) and contributed to various media including VICE, The Guardian, and The Architectural Review. He co-curated the exhibition The Right to Build: self-build between dream and reality which is on show at the Amsterdam Architecture Centre until December 2019.

In 2016, Mark received a talent grant from the Dutch Creative Industries Fund for his ambition to create approachable forms of architecture criticism for a wide audience. In 2016 he received the Geert Bekaert Prize for architecture criticism.

Mark currently teaches at Amsterdam’s Academy of Architecture and Gerrit Rietveld Academy


Building and Dwelling – Ethics for the City

Richard Sennett

Why the book is worth reading?

Sennett wonderfully summarizes roughly two centuries of thinking about the design of cities and buildings from sociological, cultural, economic, political and psychological perspectives. All of this is linked to his striking observations of present-day places in various cities across the world. He also discusses challenges ahead regarding diversity, ‘urbanity’ and the planet. This monumental work shows that spatial design can never be politically neutral.