Theory’s Curriculum e-flux Symposium

This one–day event addressed who our architectural theory syllabi represent, what theoretical objects or concerns they should address, and why we should continue to teach architectural theory today? The program included the launch and presentation of the e–flux Architecture project, Theory's Curriculum, as well as responses to the project by twelve panelists.


311 East Broadway
New York, NY 10002


Joseph Bedford and Nick Axel

Meredith TenHoor, David Theodore, Tao Sule DuFour; moderated by Joseph Godlewski


SESSION 2: What?
Ana Miljacki, John May, Mario Gooden, Dora Epstein Jones; moderated by Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco


Sanford Kwinter, Marta Caldeira, Peter Laurence; moderated by Joseph Bedford


Matthew Allen, Joseph Bedford, Marta Caldeira, Tao DuFour, Gabriel Fuentes, Antonio Furgiuele, Joseph Godlewski, Mario Gooden, Dora Epstein Jones, Sanford Kwinter, Peter Laurence, Jake Matatyaou, John May, Ana Miljacki, Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco, Meredith TenHoor, and David Theodore.

4:30–4:45pm: Joseph Bedford and Nick Axel



The Theory’s Curriculum Project is introduced by the instigator and organizer of the project Joseph Bedford, along with Nick Axel of e-flux who published the project in e-flux Architecture Theory’s Curriculum. Thanks are given by Joseph Godlewski and the e-flux published syllabi are introduced by Jake Matatyaou, Gabriel Fuentes, Antonio Furgiuele, Matthew Allen, Joseph Godlewski and Joseph Bedford.

Date and Duration

10:00 – 11:00, May 18, 2019 (00:00mins)

Session 1: Who?PLAY


Session One: Who?, moderated by Joseph Godlewski, brought together Meredith TenHoor, David Theodore, and Tao Sule DuFour to address who the subject of architectural theory is today. The session asked: Who constructs architecture’s theoretical canon? Who speaks as a theorist? Who does theory speak about or for? And who does theory addresses as its audience? Is architectural theory created by architects, by educators, by philosophers, by theorists, or by inhabitants? Is theory especially Western, white or male in its creation? The who of theory addresses both the geographical, racial and gendered, diversity of architectural theory itself as well as the diversity of the subject positions within each nation state or region who dominate the platforms, institutions, as well as the media by which architectural theory is produced and reproduced.

Date and Duration

11:00 – 12:00, May 18, 2019 (00:00mins)

Session 2: What?PLAY


Session Two: What?, moderated by Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco, brought together Ana Miljacki, John May, Mario Gooden, and Dora Epstein Jones to address what we should be theorizing, thinking about, or taking as our objects, concerns or sites of architectural theory today? The session asked what is architectural theory really concerned with? Is it concerned with architecture as a discipline? Is architectural theory synonymous with terms such as architectural discourse, ideas, debates, positions, arguments, approaches, culture, tradition? Should architectural theory address the profession of architecture or the object of buildings and their craft or industrial production, such that theory should theorize how architects make buildings? Or should architectural theory address the activity of inhabitation or dwelling within buildings, becoming a psychological, sociological, phenomenological, or semantic theory of aesthetics, affect, or pragmatic reception? Should architectural theory be concerned with the past literary record of architectural ideas (a history of theory) or the current geographic scope of architectural situations or problems? Should it be concerned with texts (canonical or otherwise. Or should it be concerned with other objects, media, sites, problems, issues, etc.

Date and Duration

13:00 – 14:00, May 18, 2019 (00:00mins)

Session 3: Why?PLAY


Session Three: Who?, moderated by Joseph Bedford, brought together Sanford Kwinter, Sylvia Lavin, Marta Caldeira, and Peter Laurence to address why we teach theory today, what theory is in the curriculum, and whether it is for practitioners, theorists, or historians. The session asked: Are we still teaching theory in the curriculum or has it been eclipsed by history, curatorial studies, and research. Has theory migrated to other spaces in the curriculum, to juries, studios, into other media, or outside of the academy altogether? Why is a curricula space for theory important today? Is the space for theory simply a space for liberal arts education, and critical thinking skills, writing skills, research skills, ethical duty or citizenship, or does architectural theory have its own specific task? Should theory classes be spaces for doing theory? Or are they scholarly spaces to reflect on past theories? Are theory classes intended to help make studio design or practice better?

Date and Duration

14:15 – 15:15, May 18, 2019 (00:00mins)



The final roundtable debate of the symposium brought together Matthew Allen, Joseph Bedford, Marta Caldeira, Tao DuFour, Gabriel Fuentes, Antonio Furgiuele, Joseph Godlewski, Mario Gooden, Dora Epstein Jones, Sanford Kwinter, Peter Laurence, Jake Matatyaou, John May, Ana Miljacki, Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco, Meredith TenHoor, and David Theodore to synthesis and parse a range of issue surrounding the question of theory’s curriculum that arose from the day’s discussions.

Date and Duration

15:30 – 16:30, May 18, 2019 (00:00mins)

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