1st Nov 2011 6:00pm-7:30pm
Large Gallery, Mithras House
We're pleased to welcome Igor Marjanović (Washington University in St Louis) and Katerina Rüedi Ray (Bowling Green State University) to Mithras House for their lecture 'American Dreams: Marina City and Capitalism for the Common Man'.
Commissioned by Chicago’s Janitors’ Union and designed by Bauhaus-trained architect Bertrand Goldberg, Marina City was a pioneering mixed-use complex comprising spaces for living, working and playing. Defying the American Dream of then dominant suburban single-family living, Marina City championed new concepts of urban living, which, although rooted in the American consumerist economy of the 1960s, resulted in a complex web of innovations that foreshadowed the renaissance of Chicago’s downtown. Its striking circular towers made it an instant icon around the world – a quintessentially modernist structure that appeared in journals, film, vinyl covers, postcards and other popular ephemera. This visual imagery reflected its Cold War context – the space race and middle-class consumerism – as well as broader cultural aspirations of social mobility and urban revitalization that embodied social progress within a capitalist democracy. Based on a recently published book, this lecture locates Marina City within the context of Chicago modernism as well as globally, examining modern architecture in a broad social, economic and cultural context. From the spectacular Groundbreaking Ceremony that featured astronomers and President John F. Kennedy to the ingenious structural solutions that made it the tallest reinforced concrete structure of its time, Marina City sprang from a complex web of political and financial partnerships. Within these collaborations, the role of the architect was critical to the project’s success, expanding the social and disciplinary role of architecture and testifying to the importance of private-public alliances in the achievement of social, architectural and urban change.
Katerina Rüedi Ray is the Director of the School of Art at Bowling Green State University and, with Igor Marjanović, principal of ReadyMade Studio. She studied architecture at the Architectural Association in London, and has masters and doctoral degrees in architecture from University College London, UK. She taught architectural design and theory at the Architectural Association, The Bartlett School and Kingston University, UK, before becoming Director of the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago from 1997 to 2002. Her design work has won European design awards and she has acted as a visiting professor, critic and lecturer at European and North American architecture and art schools. Her research focuses on design education, interdisciplinarity, identity politics and art and economic development. Her publications include Bauhaus Dream-house: Modernity and Globalization (2010, Routledge,), Marina City: Bertrand Goldberg’s Urban Vision (with Igor Marjanović, 2010, Princeton Architectural Press), Chicago Architecture: Histories, Revisions, Alternatives (with Charles Waldheim, 2004, University of Chicago Press), The Dissertation, The Portfolio and Practical Experience (co-authored, 2000, 2003, 2004, Oxford Architectural Press) and Desiring Practices: Architecture, Gender and the Interdisciplinary (1997, Black Dog Publishing). ReadyMade Studio was one of ten exhibitors in the 2004 architectural exhibition Chicago: Issues for a New Millennium at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Igor Marjanović is Associate Professor of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis. A recipient of the 2009 Education Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects for his Florence Studio, he teaches courses in architectural design and history. Together with Katerina Ruedi Ray, he runs ReadyMade Studio, which was featured in a show Ten Visions: Chicago Architecture at the Art Institute of Chicago. Their co-authored books include Marina City: Bertrand Goldberg’s Urban Vision, The Portfolio and Practical Experience. By using the framework of critical theory, Marjanović’s research probes the confluence of design, media and modernity in architectural culture. In addition to his work on Goldberg and Chicago modernism, His writings on the architectural pedagogy of Alvin Boyarsky have appeared in scholarly anthologies Chicago Architecture and Critical Architecture, as well as architectural periodicals AA Files and ARQ. Before joining Washington University, Marjanović taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he was Interim Director of Undergraduate Studies, and Iowa State University, where he was Director of the Core Design Program. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Belgrade, Serbia, and studied at the Moscow Architectural Institute. At the University of Illinois at Chicago, he received the UIC/Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill Scholarship. Currently, he is a doctoral candidate at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London.