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A discussion of beauty, memory and entropy – Atmosphere 9

February 8, 2017 — 

On February 2 – 4, 2017, the FAUM Atmosphere Symposia explore the intangible and overlooked dimensions of design, planning & architecture, those difficult to pin down, document, or record with conventional instruments and methodologies.  Atmosphere is the consequence of the projects we make as designers of landscapes, cities, architecture and interiors. Atmosphere is hard to grasp, and even harder to talk about, yet the production of atmosphere, intended or not, is one of our most apparent contributions to the world.

It is something that lingers after the program has changed or the client has left. Though palpable, atmosphere resists registration. So fragile and dependent on the world around, atmosphere is also susceptible to our individual perception. It is not something that can be read or interpreted. It is the embodiment of the content we give our projects and how they meet the world.


photo by: Janine Kropla

The 2017 Symposium posed the question: “What are the shared values and challenges framing interdisciplinary design?”   Atmosphere 9 Symposium suggested three: Beauty, Memory and Entropy. These are conditions over which designers have limited control, but which we nevertheless desire, succumb to, and cultivate. Beauty, Memory and Entropy represent common aesthetic, ecological, and cultural ambitions of interdependent design disciplines. Researchers were invited to submit paper proposals addressing one or more of the symposium themes through discussion of specific built works, settings, theories, or pedagogies.

Thursday evening till Saturday afternoon, with over 200 registered participants, the 2017 Atmosphere Symposium offered an integration of speakers, presentations, catered meals and evening receptions, allowing the development of relationships and connections while taking part in critical perspectives and ideas.  The notions of beauty memory and entropy were discussed, dissected and articulated in many ways during the Symposium, similarities and differences were celebrated in the context of cross disciplinary and cross cultural interconnectedness.

There were 5 amazing keynote speakers:

Dr Ellen Braae:  Professor of Landscape Architecture Theory and Method at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark speaking on the topic of “Excavating Futures”

David Leatherbarrow:  Professor of Architecture the University of Pennsylvania speaking about “Modification is the Result, Interpretation is the Method, and Time is the Medium”

Guy Maddin:  Installation & internet artist, lecturer at Harvard, writer and filmmaker speaking with a presentation titled “The rise of the tired night boats”

Gabi Schillig:  Studio for Dialogical Spaces in Berlin speaking on her work and “Spaces of Communication”

Rami Bebawi:  KANVA, Montreal Quebec speaking on “Memories – Reshaping the Built Environment”

48 abstracts were submitted; 24 accepted; 17 presented

Presenters were from as close as our own faculty and as far away as Denmark, Germany and Tunisia



written by: Kim Wiese, Chair Atmosphere 9

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