Institute of Classical Architecture & Art Event, ICAA Conference, NYC Architecture

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art : New York Event

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art Conference

1 Nov 2011

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art Conference

Reconsidering Postmodernism


11 + 12 Nov 2011

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art announces a two-day conference this fall dedicated to a rigorous examination of Postmodernism both as expressed in theory and as put into practice in the fourth quarter of the 20th century in America and abroad. Attention will be paid as well to those who followed whether to reject, reinterpret, or reapply. An historic overview will thus conjoin with contemporary appraisal. Attention will be paid to links with contemporary classicism.

AT&T Building New York:
AT&T Building
photo © Isabelle Lomholt

The conference’s goal is to bring together top architects, scholars, and critics to discuss why and how Postmodernism occurred, why and how it was soon largely eclipsed, and why and how it has nonetheless continued to influence the field and broader culture – including its lasting impact on the theory and application of urban planning and design. The program is conceived for those patrons and practitioners at the forefront of experience and appreciation as well as those least affected or engaged in what was once the predominant aspect in design discovery and pedagogy. The format will vary among lectures and moderated panel discussions with conferee questions encouraged throughout.

The distinguished participating architect, scholar, and dean, Michael Graves said, “For me, Postmodernism was an attempt to return to a more humanistic architecture after decades of what could be called “commercial modernism.” Postmodernism itself lost much of its appeal when stylistic association with certain colors and motifs, especially in commercial settings, eclipsed its philosophical basis. However, among its positive lessons was the renewal of interest in the public realm: how people relate to buildings and urban space, and how buildings relate to their contexts, both of which have an enduring influence on architecture and urban design.”

Scholar, journalist, and Deputy Editor of Architectural Record, Suzanne Stephens, who will lead the media panel said, “As Postmodernism began to flourish in the 1970s and early 1980s, publications and their respective editors and writers advanced different viewpoints about its promises and its perils. Accordingly, the conference panelists will discuss their reasons for such differing approaches, and what lessons were to be learned from them.”

Co-sponsored by the Schools of Architecture of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Miami, the conference will take place in the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City. Noted experts besides Mr. Graves and Dr. Stephens, who have agreed to serve as lecturers and panelists include Robert Adam, Barry Bergdoll, Paul Goldberger, Charles Jencks (who coined the label), Michael Sorkin, Robert A. M. Stern, Stanley Tigerman, and Mark Wigley among many others. Tom Wolfe will deliver a keynote address marking the thirtieth anniversary of his seminal book, From Bauhaus to Our House. The complete two-day schedule follows, along with the details of registration. Places will be available on a first-come, first served basis.

The inventor and prime content driver of the conference, partner at Robert A. M. Stern Architects, Gary Brewer, who serves on the ICAA board, said, “The ICAA and others whether or not of like mind are indebted to Postmodernism for opening the vaults of architectural history and prompting the possibility to question the reigning yet evermore corporate orthodoxy of high modernism.”

Architect Brewer was assisted throughout by his RAMSA colleague, Tim Deal; New York interior decorator, Courtney Coleman; and architectural designer, Seth Weine, all of whom serve as Fellows of the Institute. Senior Vice President, Henrika Taylor, managed its advent and Membership and Public Programs Associate, David Ludwig, serves as its coordinator.

Topics of the lectures and panel discussions will include:
“Postmodernism and Urbanism;” “Politics, Economics and Postmodernism;”
“Irony, or, the Self-Critical Opacity of Postmodernist Architecture;”
“The Architect’s Eye: Postmodernism and Architectural Education;” and
“Postmodernism’s Reaction to Modernism.”

The Proshansky Auditorium at The CUNY Graduate Center is located in mid-town Manhattan in the refurbished Trowbridge and Livingston Beaux-Arts B. Altman’s landmark. It seats up to 400 and has common space to house reception activities. An adjacent simulcast will be added as demand dictates along with Web streaming of key segments at, where all ICAA activities and offerings nationwide are featured daily.

ICAA President, Paul Gunther, said, “Our aim is not only to look back historically, but also to place Postmodernism in a dynamic current context. What are the lasting lessons and impact even among those not yet enlightened as viewed through a contemporary eye? To that end, current students and others curious and uninitiated are welcome to take due advantage on this anniversary occasion.

“I thank the donors to date who are making this overdue academic gathering conference possible, the Arthur Ross Foundation, Elise Jaffe + Jeffrey Brown, Balmer Architectural Mouldings, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

The Architect’s Newspaper is the official media sponsor of the conference and their imprimatur helps signal a diverse professional community passionate in their points of view. We hope that appeals pending will broaden this generous roster of like-minded patrons of design excellence.”

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA) is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to advancing the practice and appreciation of the classical tradition in architecture, urbanism, and the allied arts. It is a school, publisher, public programmer and advocate. Founded as two separate organizations in 1991 and 1968 respectively, they came together in 2002 and now serve an international membership with fifteen regional chapters operating throughout the country. The Institute’s Grand Central Academy of Art fulfills the allied arts aspect of its guiding mission with a rigorous program in classical drawing, painting, and sculpture, as well as the newly launched year-long certificate program called the Beaux-Arts Atelier. To learn more visit

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art Conference information from David Rinehart, New York

Location:CUNY Graduate Center, New York

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