Tulane Home Tulane Shield logo linking to site home page

Tulane School of Architecture is currently closed due to the impacts of Hurricane Ida. Remote instruction will begin Sept. 13, 2021, and in-person instruction will resume on Sept. 27. For more information about Tulane's response and reopening, visit the university's Forward TUgether website.

Associate Professor Graham Owen publishes “'I Have No Power': Zaha Hadid and the Ethics of Globalized Practice”

Associate Professor Graham Owen has published “'I Have No Power':  Zaha Hadid and the Ethics of Globalized Practice” in Candide, the German theory and history journal published by Hatje Cantz and RWTH Aachen.  Issue 10 focuses on the theme of Architecture as a Matter of Contention.  Prof. Owen’s article examines the controversies that have arisen around Hadid’s international work, its disciplinary acclaim, the questionable conditions of its realization, and Patrik Schumacher’s efforts to provide it with theoretical justification.  The essay tackles issues of personal, political and institutional agency, biopolitics, and neoliberalism as theory.


Associate Professor of Architecture, Graham Owen publishes in ISP Architecture

Headshot of Graham Owen

Whatever Happened to Semi-Autonomy?, by Graham Owen

Writing in the Yale journal Perspecta in the mid-1980s, K. Michael Hays put forward an argument for “a critical architecture that claims for itself a place between the efficient representation of preexisting cultural values and the wholly detached autonomy of an abstract formal system”.  In setting up such a relationship between autonomy and criticality, Hays was elaborating his mentor Stanford Anderson’s efforts to promote a pragmatic ethical rapprochement – or compromise – between an autonomous practice that aspired to Kantian rigour and purity and the obligations of cultural – if not also social — engagement.  “Semi-autonomy” offered the possibility of an architecture resistant to instrumentalisation.

Responding to Hays’ text seventeen years later, Sarah Whiting and Robert Somol, in Perspecta 33, offered a “projective” alternative to “the now dominant paradigm of criticality”.  Where Hays had cited Mies’ exemplary status, Somol and Whiting invoke Koolhaas, but in both cases set their exemplars – either explicitly, or implicitly and somewhat conflictedly – against the experiments in formal autonomy of Peter Eisenman.

George Baird, in turn, responded in his essay of 2004, “’Criticality’ and Its Discontents”, drawing into his analysis of post-criticality the positions of Whiting and Somol’s fellow-travellers Stan Allen, Sylvia Lavin and Michael Speaks.  Noting that for Koolhaas, “if it turns out that ‘criticality’ constrains efficacy, then to that extent ‘criticality’ must give way”, Baird is nonetheless ready to allow him some remaining capacity for resistance, but is wary of post-criticality’s potential consequences.  To what extent, he wonders, will it develop models to measure “the ambition and the capacity for significant social transformation”?  “Without such models, architecture could all too easily find itself … ethically adrift.”

Were Baird’s apprehensions borne out?  And, in view of subsequent theoretical assessments, of Koolhaas’ own conflicted relationship with Mies, and amid present-day efforts to instrumentalise architecture once again – this time as agent of environmental and social redemption – has the argument for semi-autonomy come full circle?  (Full Text HERE)

Graham Owen

Harvard Citation Guide: Owen, G. (2014) Whatever Happened to Semi-Autonomy?, International Society for the Philosophy of Architecture, [blog] 30 April 2014, Available at: http://isparchitecture.com. [Accessed: 01 June 2014].

Associate Professor Graham Owen Published in Architecture Philosophy

Headshot of Graham Owen
Associate Professor Graham Owen has published “Whatever Happened to Semi-Autonomy?” in Architecture Philosophy, the journal of the International Society for the Philosophy of Architecture. The paper examines changing ambitions in theory and practice for architecture’s role in relation to the dominant sociocultural order.

Arch Daily features Zarith Pineda's, TSA 15, Thesis project

Congratulations to Zarith Pineda, TSA 15, who is featured in Arch Daily in an article which highlights here thesis project, "Engineered Paradises." Associate Professor of Architecture, Graham Owen was Zarthih's thesis advisor. This work was also part of the 2015 "Ogden 8 Exhibition," which features is an annual event which exhibits Tulane's top 8 Tulane Architecture Thesis projects at Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

"Engineered Paradises" Takes an Imagined Look into the Possibilities Between Palestine and Israel

“Engineered Paradises”, a thesis by Zarith Pineda from Tulane University, looks into a possible future for Hebron, exploring the condition where peace never comes to the West Bank, but where the mutual destruction of both sides is addressed through the creation of safe spaces for the expression of universal emotions. The thesis proposes that in this way, both parties may be unified by their plight. The project was created based on observation of the city of Hebron and on-site interviews with Hebronites. Their true stories then became the narrative dictating the program of the project... full article HERE

Associate Professor Graham Owen has published “City of Risk: Organization and Individualization in the Urban Recovery of New Orleans”

Associate Professor Graham Owen has published “City of Risk: Organization and Individualization in the Urban Recovery of New Orleans” in the minnesota review, in its Special Focus on “Katrina, Ten Years Later”, from Duke University Press. The essay, one of six selected in a competitive call for papers, examines attitudes and responses to the reconstruction of the city after the storm. 


Bibliotheque Nationale de France features Associate Professor Graham Owen's project "Virtual Metropolis"

Virtual Metropolis, the interactive virtual reality project on which Associate Professor Graham Owen collaborated in the mid-1990s, has been selected by the Bibliotheque Nationale de France for its collection of best artists’ CDs of that era.  Led by Owen’s former Thesis student Robert Ouellette, and developed from that Thesis, the collaboration brought together Toronto-based designers and artists.  Virtual Metropolis anticipated Google Street View by 12 years, but went further by using architecture as a portal, a series of wormholes to worlds and artworks beyond.  At the BNF, the project will run on emulators of the original operating systems.

Associate Professor Graham Owen was an invited speaker in IIT’s “In the Loop” series

Associate Professor Graham Owen was an invited speaker in IIT’s “In the Loop” series.  He spoke on “The Shotgun of Selective Belonging” at the University of Hamburg, and led the Architecture and Globalization session at TU Delft’s Summer School on “Facing Moral Complexity”.  He also gave the closing keynote, on “Whatever Happened to Semi-Autonomy?”, at the International Society for the Philosophy of Architecture’s Summer 2014 conference, at TU Delft.

Associate Professor Graham Owen speaks on Architectural Pedagogy and Disaster Recovery

Associate Professor Graham Owen spoke at ETH Zurich on architectural pedagogy, and on New Orleans’ urban recovery at the In/vulnerabilities and Social Change conference at the University of London. He also spoke at the 4S San Diego conference on “Disaster’s Conscience: Technologies, Professions and Elites in Post-Katrina New Orleans”.

ARCH 5980/6980

There are two principal goals for the Thesis Research and Analysis course. The first of these is to prepare a well researched and thoroughly analyzed architectural topic, program and site for the thesis design project in the following spring semester.