Daniels Public Lecture: Kenneth Frampton

On February 7, 2013, the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design welcomed Ware Professor of Architecture at Columbia University, Kenneth Frampton for a Daniels Faculty Public Lecture.

Kenneth Frampton’s work as a writer and teacher has had a profound influence in the field of architecture. Born in the United Kingdom in 1930, he was trained as an architect at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. Over the course of his career, he has written countless books and essays on architecture, including Modern Architecture and the Critical Present (1980), Studies in Tectonic Culture (1995), American Masterworks (1995), Le Corbusier (2001), Labour, Work & Architecture (2005), and an updated fourth edition of Modern Architecture: A Critical History (2007). Early in his career he served as the editor of the British magazine Architectural Design.

Frampton’s teaching career has had an equally far-reaching effect on innumerable students and scholars. He has taught at a number of leading institutions including the Royal College of Art, ETH Zurich, EPFL Lansanne, and the Berlage Institute in the Netherlands, among others. He is currently the Ware Professor of Architecture at the GSAPP, Columbia University in New York.

Prominent awards include: the American Institute of Architects National Honours Award (1985), the Médaille d’Or of the Parisian Académie d’Architecture (1987), the Phi Beta Kappa Award (1987), the AIA New York Chapter Award of Merit (1988) and the Topaz Medal for excellence in architectural education from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (1990). More recently, he received the Schelling Architecture Theory Prize (2012), and the First International Architecture Award Javier Carvajal (2012).

Frampton has received honorary doctorates from: The Stockholm Royal Institute of Technology (1991), the University of Waterloo (1995), and the California College of Arts and Crafts (1999).

Frampton’s lecture is titled: Alvar Aalto and the Future of the Modern Project: The Prospects for a Corporeal Rationality.

“Among the pre-Second World War pioneers of the Modern Movement, Alvar Aalto remains the one figure whose seminal contribution to the field seems just as valid now as it was at the end of his life. I feel that this claim may be justified on many levels, not least of which is the inherent durability of Aalto’s architecture, particularly after the Second World War. This last stems in large measure from his use of traditional materials — above all surely brick and wood, which happen to be the building materials which entail the least embodied energy in their production. Apart from their sustainability, these materials have also helped to assure the social accessibility of his work, and it is my belief that Aalto’s manner after the war, particularly from 1945 to 1965, was more acceptable to the man-in-the-street than the architecture of any other pioneer modernist who to his maturity over the same period.”


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