Fantasy in Reality: Architecture, Representation, Reproduction

From the capriccios of Piranesi and Canaletto to Vladimir Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International, Archigram’s drawings in the 1970s, and contemporary video game architecture, architectural fantasies have been produced and reproduced for centuries. On the one hand, architectural fantasies stir the imagination, represent future possibilities, and utopian dreams, on the other, they reflect and reproduce political ideologies, societal aspirations and anxieties. Though by definition, fantasy relates to that outside reality, or beyond possibility, the examples listed above engage directly with reality and they exist as realised projects in the form of architectural representations – on paper, as models, as reproductions or as digital files.

This symposium aims to consider the intersection of fantasy and reality by examining a broad range of architectural production from the Renaissance to the present day across different cultures and media. It includes papers that explore the blurred lines, or tensions, between fantasy and reality in architecture and its representation. Architectural fantasies created in drawings, paintings, computer renders, photographs and films, and three dimensional examples in built projects, exhibition pavilions, doll houses, interiors and garden features will be considered as vital forms of architectural production that both reflect and produce reality.

How does the production of architectural fantasies relate to reality and attempt to shape it? How do representations of architecture construct or perpetuate fantasies of the built environment? How have architects, city planners and/or politicians and rulers used architecture to reinforce fantastical notions of reality? What is the role of the mass media in the production and dissemination of architectural fantasies in popular culture?

In what ways do representations of built or soon to be built projects contribute to the construction of fantasy? The conference seeks to address these questions and more.

Thursday 15 June

09.00 – 09.30

09.30 – 09.45

Session 1: Tensions Between Fantasy and Reality – Chair: Kasper Laegring

Amy Butt (Architect and Independent Researcher): Science Fiction Aesthetics: Tensions Between Reality and the Radical

Andrea Canclini (Department of Architecture and Design, Politecnico di Torino): The real construction of a dream, from Celebration to New Urbanism. Determinism in the reproduction of a community in the ethical shapes of urban fantasies

Catherine Bonier (Assistant Professor, Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism, Carleton University): Visionary Digitalia, Filthy Games and Pernicious Beauty

11.00 – 11.30
TEA /COFFEE BREAK (provided for all, in Seminar room 1)

11.30 – 12.45
Session 2: Built Architectural Fantasies – Chair: Robin Shuldenfrei

Ashley Paine (ATCH Research Centre, School of Architecture, University of Queensland): Period Rooms and the Fantasy of Architectural Display

Charlotte Ashby (Associate Lecturer, Department of History of Art, Birkbeck, University of London): Fantasy Environments: The Illusion of Nature and Alternative Realities at the Fin-de-siecle

Petra Eckard (Assistant Professor, Institute of Architectural Theory, Art History and Cultural Studies, Graz University of Technology): A Concrete Fantasy: Edward James’ Las Pozas

12.45 – 13.45
LUNCH BREAK (provided for speakers and chairs only, Seminar Room 1)

13.45 – 15.00
Session 3: Constructing Architectural Fantasies in Mass Media – Chair: Lutz Robbers

Marie Collier (Sackler Research Forum Postdoctoral Fellow, The Courtauld Institute of Art): The New Moscow in Print: Constructing a Fantasy of Socialist Architecture in Soviet Periodicals

Eleanor Rees (PhD Candidate, School of Slavonic Studies, University College London): ‘Spectacles of Socialism’: The use of the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition in Stalinist Cinema

Reto Geiser (Gus Wortham Assistant Professor, Rice University School of Architecture): From Science Fiction to Science Fact: Chesley Bonestell and the Role of Visual Representation in the Exploration of the Final Frontier

15.00 – 15.30
TEA /COFFEE BREAK (provided for all, in Seminar room 1)

15.30 – 16.45
Session 4: Postmodernism and Fantasy Architecture – James Cameron

Rahma Khazam (Independent Researcher): Postmodernism in Venice: The 1980 Architecture Biennale

Christina Gray (PhD Candidate, Department of Architecture and Urban Design, UCLA): Fantasy in Retail

Kasper Laegring (PhD Candidate, Royal Danish Academy, School of Architecture): Yes is More and the Return of the Postmodernist Imagination

16.45 – 17.00

17.00 – 18.15
Session 5: Imagined Antiquities – Chair: Nicole Rudolph

Berthold Hub (Scientific Assistant, Max-Planck Kunsthistorisches Institut Florenz): Filarete’s ‘Fantasie’: Between Utopia and Reality

Thordoris Koutsogiannis (Chief Curator, Hellenic Parliament Art Collection, Athens): Imaginary Athenian Architecture and the Modern Visual Culture all’antica

Marco Folin (Associate Professor, University of Genoa) and Monica Preti (Head of Academic Programmes, Auditorium du Musee du Louvre): Maarten van Heemskerck’s Wonders of the World: Architectural Fantasies in the Northern Renaissance

Friday 16 June

09.30 – 10.00

10.00 – 10.15

10.15 – 11.30
Session 6: Artists as Architects, Architects as Artists – Chair: Rahma Khazam

Anne Schloen (Freelance Curator, Cologne): (im)possible? Artists as Architects
Nicholas Bueno de Mesquita (PhD Candidate, The Courtauld Institute of Art): Two and Half Dimensions. Russia and Germany and the Formulation of New Architectural Languages, 1922-24

Niccola Shearman (PhD Candidate, The Courtauld Institute of Art): Out of the Woods: Lyonel Feininger and the Printed Face of ‘Glasarchitektur’

11.30 – 11.45
TEA /COFFEE BREAK (provided for all, in the Lecture Theatre)

11.45 – 13.00
Session 7: Fantasy Architecture and Models – Chair: Meg Bernstein

Katherine Wheeler (Assistant Professor, University of Miami School of Architecture): A Mini Marchine for Architectural Fantasy

Matthew Wells (PhD Candidate, The Royal College of Art and Victoria & Albert Museum): Use Validity, and Truth: Models between Fantasy and Reality in British Nineteenth-Century Architectural Practice

David Marshall (Associate Professor, School of Culture and Communication, The University of Melbourne): The Chinoiserie Fabrique as Quintessential Fantasy Architecture

13.00 – 14.00
LUNCH BREAK (provided for speakers and chairs only, Seminar Room 1)

14.00 – 15.15
Session 8: Promoting Ideology through Architectural Fantasy – Chair: Marie Collier

Nicole Rudolph (Associate Professor, Departments of History and Languages, Literature and Cultures, Adelphi University): Fantastic Models and their Discontents: How Spectacular Architecture Shaped Domestic Space Expectations in Postwar France

Steven Rugere (Associate Professor, College of Architecture and Environmental Design Kent State University): Transported without Moving: Two Models of Immersive Fantasy at the 1964 World’s Fair

Miruna Stroe (Lecturer, Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism): Architectural Representation in Cold War era animation films

15.15 – 15.45
TEA /COFFEE BREAK (provided for all, in Seminar room 1)

15.45 – 17.00
Session 9: Architecture, Image, and Fantasy – Chair: Katie Faulkner

Lutz Robbers (Assistant Professor, Jade University Oldenburg): Architecture as/without Image

Edward Denison (Lecturer in Architecture, The Bartlett School of Architecture): Fascist Fantasies: Italian Dreams and African Nightmares

Massimo Mucci (PhD Candidate, University IUAV Venice): Buildable Architecture versus Unbuildable City?: The Case of Lebbeus Woods’ Drawings

17.00 – 17.45
Discussion and Concluding Remarks


This event has passed.

15 Jun - 16 Jun 2017

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London