International Conference: On the Duty and Power of Architectural Criticism / 9-10 and 16-17 October 2021, Online at 14:00 – 17:30 GMT

It is with great pleasure that Docomomo International shares the program of the International Conference on Architectural Criticism: on the Duty and Power of Architectural Criticism, organized by the International Committee of Architectural Critics (CICA) and hosted by the School of Architecture, The University of Texas at Austin, taking place on 9-10 and 16-17 October 2021, online via Zoom at 14:00 – 17:30 GMT.

Under the theme “On the Duty and Power of Architectural Criticism” this conferences addresses questions as:
Should architectural criticism be enlightening? Should it help in the creation of a better built environment? Is there a factual basis to it? Does it have a duty to present evidence in the evaluation of a building? Or should it take on what architects say about their designs? In the context of a flat internet, should architectural criticism be able to define best practices? Does it wield the power over who is in and who is out?

Architectural criticism, like all human endeavors, is at a crucial juncture. While serious architecture struggles for recognition, much so-called architectural criticism is merely a poorly paid, decorative legitimation for hyperbolic practice. Incisive architectural criticism is rare, while the definition of criticism itself has become opaque.

Based on papers that address either the duty or the power of architectural criticism, in both cases offering the outline of one analysis of an existing building, and hereby define the purposes and methods of architectural criticism, is discussed: What should the ethical basis be of architectural criticism? Can it be objective in the context of paid content? Should it outline ideal practices? Or what should it do?

This conference is therefore an essential occasion and medium for independent criticism, dedicated to the task of enlightening the public, students and professionals with the aim of improving the quality of the designed environment in the age of the climate crisis. Bringing together diverse voices from across the world, it is not only an essential, independent platform in the current media desert, it also provides concrete case studies for future generations of architectural critics. For, without independent criticism, there cannot be any search for truth.

Free online registration here, a maximum of 280 viewers can be accommodated.
The Zoom link for all sessions is
Meeting ID: 995 6923 5856

The entire conference will be recorded and placed on Youtube. The conference language will be English.

Organization: Wilfried Wang, The University of Texas at Austin

Keynote Lecturers
Kenneth Frampton, New York City, USA
Philippa Tumubweinee, Cape Town, South Africa
Ruth Verde Zein, São Paulo, Brazil
Zheng Shiling, Shanghai, China

The full conference program is available here: PDF

More information at the CICA event webpage, the University of Texas at Austin webpage.