MAS Context Fall Talks 2014

Alison Fisher: The Contextual Megastructure

November 11, 2014 at 6PM

Lecture by curator Alison Fisher that took place at the International Museum of Surgical Science. The talk was organized in collaboration with the Society of Architectural Historians.


The Contextual Megastructure: Design after Urban Renewal

In her talk, Alison Fisher discussed the architectural and planning implications of the return to the historical street and neighborhood as critical models during the 1960s and 1970s, as explored in the Art Institute exhibition The City Lost and Found. Through case studies in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, she discussed the work of architects who attempted to repair the city and correct earlier models of urban planning and design using an unlikely model, the megastructure. Although contemporary criticism, like Reyner Banham’s 1976 book Megastructure, often dismissed the genre as bombastic and retrograde, she argued for a new understanding of these late megastructural developments as bold refusals to abandon the political and social project of cities.

Video shot and edited by Ben Derico.

Mas event 2014 alison fisher 02

Alvin Boyarsky, Chicago à la Carte: The City as Energy System, Architectural Design, December 1970. Courtesy of the Alvin Boyarsky Archive, London. © Wiley/Architectural Design.