This conversation with Bryony Roberts and Dora Epstein Jones about their recent special edited issue of Log, no.31 “New Ancients.” The conversation included Log editor Cynthia Davidson as well as Urtzi Grau and Cristina Goberna of the practice Fake Industries and Matt Roman.

  • “It came partly from an analogy in recognizing an analogic moment, if you will, between the debates between the ancients and the moderns…”

  • “Maybe what happened was that we of this next generation[…] had seen that the bifurcation and the separation between old and new was itself not productive.”

  • “I think the form of production is really this way of saying that it’s not about the old and the new and the past and the present, but to actually take from the past, and through this process of appropriation and transformation or even copying can actually make a third thing that gets beyond this sort of duality.”

  • “How is that different from sort of Modernism’s rejection of history? […] Why has history become so important to look at again for this assembled group?”

  • “I don’t believe that he gives the baroque enough credit as the antecedent for this kind of way of thinking. In fact, this thing is it’s trying to demonstrate the suppleness of the assembly of discrete parts as opposed to, you know, the gooiness of NURBS curves.”

  • “History and studio cannot be separated anymore because from both sides it used to be completely separated and opposed and articulated differently.”

  • “There’s an interesting relationship there between the source and the, you know, the response, that for me it is a mode of supplementation, you know, where, you know, like in a book where let’s say once you read your introduction to this thing, your perspective on the whole thing is changed.”

  • “I’m perfectly happy to not call it a new thing, but […] we cannot deny that it feeds our sense of what it is that we do in the architectural world when we lead intellectual projects, whether we call it new, innovation,…”

  • “Even though the technology can afford us the ability to computational get to, through the calculus, very very supple curves, I don’t think architecture actually requires it.”

  • “To me, it’s incredibly important to know what time the thing came from. So it’s not a purely formalist sampling of elements, right? It’s not, sort of, just a tool kit. You have to know where the tool came from and what all of its ideological implications are when you use it. That’s the whole point of it being tethered to a discipline.”

  • “But the hoarding thing, I think, is a really good question because of this idea of the archive that’s now sort of overtaking the idea of the museum, of keeping everything because we aren’t going to make hierarchical decisions about what to collect, we’re going to keep all of it. But then we don’t even know how to burrow into it to do the research.”

  • “Hipsters are nostalgic, but not because they cannot live without that past, but because the nostalgia is what leads you to ultimately discover the little thing that becomes your world for a while.”

  • “Are you saying we’re not in danger of an architecture that has these kinds of sensibilities being a mannered version of the classical?”

  • “Don’t you think that pure reality and the urgency of reality, and maybe revolution, […] is missing here to make this history?”



Joseph Bedford

Issue Editor

Hans Tursack

Issue Editor

Hans Tursack

Senior Editor

Joseph Bedford


Trudy Watt


Bryony Roberts, Dora Epstein Jones. Cynthia Davidson, Urtzi Grau, Cristina Goberna and Matt Roman


Columbia University School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation


Kwazaar by How How