Consider the mysterious case of Reyner Banham. After more than three decades of staunch criticism of the status quo, Banham, on his death bed, penned “A Black Box: The Secret Profession of Architecture,” in which he succumbed to a view of architecture as improbably autonomous and possibly impenetrable, largely because it continued to live on despite numerous attacks by himself and others.
Three decades after his untimely death, Banham’s words live on too, and for equally mysterious reasons. Is it the style that remains so difficult to emulate? Is it the perceptive critical glance, always halting in its clarity? Or is it simply our continued interest in black-boxing something—something like “architecture” or “critique”—in order to consider again our collective faith in its inscrutable power?
Taking its title from Reyner Banham's final, posthumously published article, "Blackboxing Banham" is a 5-day symposium beginning with a keynote by Anthony Vidler.
Claire Zimmerman is participating in Panel 2 on Saturday 27 February 2021, 1:00-2:30pm, alongside Forrest Meggers and Kiel Moe. Introduction will be given by Michael Osman, and Lucia Allais will moderate.