Book Conversation: Exactitude: On Precision and Play in Contemporary Architecture

September 15, 2022

Live via Zoom, 15 September 2022, 18:00 EST

This Book Conversation reflects on the state of architecture today as a first of a trio of symposia and their edited volumes, with Exactitude: On Precision and Play in Contemporary Architecture (UMass Press, 2022). In this virtual program, Pari Riahi and Laure Katsaros (two of the editors), Ada Tolla and Teresa Stoppani (two of the contributors), together with Paul Emmons and Mohsen Mostafavi (two respondents) will elaborate on the theme with brief presentations, discussions and responses to the public’s questions.

Inspired by Italo Calvino’s Six Memos for the Next Millennium, the three symposia are autonomous yet interrelated.  With “Exactitude,” contributors examined the ever-increasing demand for precision in architecture at a time when the parameters of the profession are shifting. With “Multiplicity,” contributors situate architecture within a broader framework, examining how it interacts with complex climatic, economic, and demographic crises at the scale of the city, the territory, and the globe. With “Quickness,” contributors will address the rates and cycles of architectural production, from early conception to realization, scrutinizing the speed and duration of translating ideas into artifacts through digital and material means.

Precision is necessary in the field of architecture, and new technologies have increased demands for accuracy, particularly when the smallest errors can have outsized consequences. However, the importance of precision, or exactitude, has not received the consideration it merits. While themes of sustainability, performance, and formal innovation have been at the forefront of architectural scholarship for the past twenty years, the book explores the theoretical and practical demands exactitude makes on architecture as a field.

Edited by Pari Riahi, Laure Katsaros, and Michael T. Davis, the eleven essays collected in a book, investigate the possibilities and shortcomings of exactitude and delve into current debates about the state of contemporary architecture as both a technological craft and artistic creation. Featuring new work by leading theorists, historians, editors, architects, and scholars, this volume brings theory and practice into insightful and productive conversations. In addition to the editors, contributors include Mark Wigley, Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Eric Höweler, Christopher Benfey, Sunil Bald, Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano with Thomas de Monchaux, Alicia Imperiale, Francesca Hughes, Teresa Stoppani, and Cynthia Davidson.

This event is sponsored by the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, University of Massachusetts Amherst. To register please visit the event page and register on the left side, under Zoom Invitation. The event is free and open to all.

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