Nocturnal History Of Architecture

Monday-Tuesday 6th-7th December 2021
HEAD-Genève Campus
Auditorium Building D , Bd James-Fazy 15
1201 Genève
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For centuries, architectural theory, discourse and agency have been based on day and solar paradigms. References to night in Vitruvius’ De architectura, largely considered the founding text of western architectural theory, are residual and the same absence can be identified in the Renaissance treatises by Leon Battista Alberti or Andrea Palladio. It was not until the 19th and 20th centuries that the successive invention and institutionalization of artificial light in private and public spaces gradually transformed the agency of night in the architectural discipline. Never mind that leisure is mostly associated with night or that work activities increasingly occur in night shifts. Today we sleep one hour less than one hundred years ago. We keep working at night, socializing at night, living at night: time has become elastic. Since the invention of artificial light, the urban environment has seen human activity expand and intensify, forever transforming the means of material and cultural production. From casinos to nightclubs, movie theaters to corner shops, the identity of contemporary human beings and their domestic, professional and cultural spaces are inseparable from night.

By analyzing and studying “night scenes”, Nocturnal History of Architecture hopes to show how night is not only an area of precarity and insecurity (haunted), but also a laboratory for the development of new forms of living. The colloquium organized by the new Master in Interior Architecture at proposes to use the lens of different environments and typologies that, throughout history, have shaped our notions of architecture, space and life. The seminar traces a path from ancient to early modern times, and from modernity to present time, using the nocturnal spaces that have determined current notions of architecture to question those same concepts. Over the course of four sessions, the colloquium will generate productive frictions and offer opportunities to expand our understanding of what architecture at night was and can be.


Welcome address and conference kick-off
06.12.21, 10:30

Javier Fernandez Contreras, Head of Interior Architecture Department HEAD – Genève, Switzerland

Theoretical overview
06.12.21, 10:45

Vera Sacchetti, Youri Kravtchenko, Roberto Zancan, Professors, HEAD –, Switzerland

Through the gates of darkness: Discovering the nocturnal power of ancient Greek religious architecture
06.12.21, 11:00

Efrosyni Boutsikas, Co-Director, University of Kent Interdisciplinary Centre for Spatial Studies

Toward happiness and emotions: The role of light in Socialist Realist interiors in Poland (1949–1956)
06.12.21, 11:45

Alexandra Sumorok, Professor, Akademia Sztuk Pięknych Łodz, Poland

Chasing darkness: Night and shadow in the ephemeral apparati of baroque Rome (online lecture).
06.12.21, 14:00

Maarten Delbeke, Professor, ETH Zürich

The space of MTV: From inner-city clubbing to basement suburbia.
06.12.21, 03:30

L.a-Catherine Szacka, Professor, University of Manchester, Great Britain

Presentation of the research project and book Scènes de nuit.
06.12.21, 17:30

Javier Fernandez Contreras, Youri Kravtchenko, Manon Portera, Professors, HEAD – Genève, Switzerland

Our encryption is the real world: Clandestinity as a form of minor architecture
07.12.21, 10:30

Lucia Jalon Oyarzun, .cole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne - Lausanne

L’origine obscure : Esquisse d’une histoire de l’habitat à l’ombre de l’architecture (lecture in French).
07.12.21, 11:15

Sébastien Grosset, Professor, HEAD –, Switzerland

A fascination for the moon in Japanese aesthetics and architecture.
07.12.21, 12:00

Muriel Hladik, Professor, RWTH-Aachen University, Germany

“Illusion is the thing”: Simulating night at the atmospheric cinema.
07.12.21, 14:15

Carlotta Dar., Yan Rocher, Professor, Ecole Nationale Superieur d’Architecture – Malaquais, Paris

Nocturnal spaces: Rediscovering an architecture of darkness
07.12.21, 15:00

Nick Dunn, Executive Dirwector of Imagination, research lab, Lancaster University, United Kingdom

Group discussion between guest speakers and young researchers
07.12.21, 15:45
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