Alan Colquhoun 1921–2021: A Centenary Colloquium

A day of talks celebrating the centenary of renowned architect and architectural critic, Alan Colquhoun


02:00pm, Friday, 25 June 2021


08:00pm, Friday, 25 June 2021


All times are stated in British Summer Time (GMT+1)

All talks are free and accessible to everyone, but for security reasons, we do require attendees to have a registered Zoom account.

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This conference has been jointly initiated and organized by Irina Davidovici (ETH Zurich) and Mary McLeod (GSAPP Columbia). 

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A day of talks celebrating the centenary of British architect and prominent architecture critic, Alan Colquhoun (1921–2012). Invited speakers will explore the continuing significance of Colquhoun’s writing through four parts: Meaning, Type, Historicism and Regionalism. Ending in a keynote lecture by Kenneth Frampton, the colloquium brings into sharp focus how Colquhoun's writings remain relevant for a new generation of architectural historians and practitioners. 

Alan Colquhoun, New York, 1982 ©Avery Architecture and Fine Arts Library, GSAPP Columbia 


Please Note: all times in British Summer Time

14.00      Introduction

               Mary McLeod, GSAPP Columbia

               Ellis Woodman, The Architecture Foundation

               Irina Davidovici, ETH Zurich

14.15      Writings on Meaning

               Jana Ndiaye Berankova, GSAPP Columbia

               Léa-Catherine Szacka, University of Manchester

               RespondentJoan Ockman, Yale School of Architecture

               ModeratorMary McLeod, GSAPP Columbia

15.15      Writings on Type

               Ioanna Piniara, Architectural Association London

               Charles L. Davis, State University of New York at Buffalo

               RespondentAnthony Vidler, Cooper Union

               ModeratorTom Avermaete, ETH Zurich

16.15      Break

16.30      Writings on Historicism 

               Nikos Magouliotis, ETH Zurich

               Cesare Birignani, The City College of New York

               RespondentMari Hvattum, AHO Oslo School of Architecture

               ModeratorPatricia A. Morton, University of California,                           Riverside

17.30      Writings on Regionalism

               Phillip Denny, GSD Harvard

               Ayala Levin, UCLA

               RespondentStanislaus von Moos, Emeritus, University of                   Zurich

               ModeratorKathleen James-Chakraborty, University College                 Dublin

18.30      Keynote address

               Kenneth Frampton, Emeritus, GSAPP Columbia 

19.00      Final discussion with participants and special guests

               Moderated by Irina Davidovici and Mary McLeod 




Writings on Meaning

Jana Ndiaye Berankova (GSAPP Columbia) and Léa-Catherine Szacka (University of Manchester) describe the influence on their work of Alan Colquhoun’s essays on meaning, semiotics and structuralism, including Historicism and the Limits of Semiology; Postmodernism and Structuralism: A Retrospective Glance; Sign and Substance; Reflections on Complexity, Las Vegas and Oberlin. • Respondent: Joan Ockman, Yale School of Architecture • Moderator: Mary McLeod, GSAPP Columbia 

Writings on Type

Ioanna Piniara (Architectural Association School of Architecture, London) and Charles L. Davis, State University of New York at Buffalo) analyze the notion of type in the work of Alan Colquhoun, and their impact on their own research. Their work addresses the seminal essays ‘Typology and Design Method’; ‘Superblock’; ‘Form and Figure’; ‘Twentieth-Century Concepts of Urban Space’.  Respondent: Anthony Vidler, Cooper Union • Moderator: Tom Avermaete, ETH Zurich

Writings on Historicism

Nikos Magouliotis (ETH Zurich) and Cesare Birignani (The City College of New York) revisit the notion of historicism through the lens of Alan Colquhoun’s seminal essays ‘Rules, Realism, History’; ‘Historicism and the Limits of Semiology’; ‘Three Kinds of Historicism’; ‘E. H. Gombrich and the Hegelian Tradition’. • Respondent: Mari Hvattum, AHO Oslo School of Architecture • Moderator: Patricia A. Morton, University of California, Riverside

Writings on Regionalism

Scholars Phillip Denny (GSD Harvard) and Ayala Levin (UCLA) discuss the notion of Regionalism as expounded by Alan Colquhoun (‘Regionalism I+II’; ‘Regionalism and Technology’) within shifting the theoretical frameworks and expanded geopolitical of contemporary research contexts.  Respondent: Stanislaus von Moos, Emeritus, University of Zurich • Moderator: Kathleen James-Chakraborty, University College Dublin


Keynote Address

Alan Colquhoun, Colleague and Protagonist

Kenneth Frampton (Emeritus, GSAPP Columbia) pays tribute to Alan Colquhoun, discussing their decades-long collaborative and collegial relations.