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The Shape of Utopia: The Architecture of Radical Reform in 19th-Century America

March 8, 2017 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

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Irene Cheng, founding principal of Cheng+Snyder and an assistant professor of architecture and interior design at the California College of the Arts, will speak about her current book project, which explores the geometry of architectural projects and their relationship with anarchist, socialist, abolitionist, free love, spiritualist and other radical antebellum movements.

“In the middle decades of the 19th century, several American radicals affiliated with movements such as anarchism, phrenology, abolition, vegetarianism and land reform proposed ideal buildings and cities that they claimed would strengthen bodies and lead to more just societies,” Cheng said.

“Many of these designs featured distinct geometries, taking the form of hexagonal cities, oval mansions and octagonal houses. This lecture explores what led these individuals to imagine a connection between radical architecture and radical social reform.”

Part of the Department of Architecture 2016-17 Public Programs Series and supported by the Women’s and Diversity Grants Program, the talk is free and open to the public.

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March 8, 2017
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


Department of Architecture


Kocimski Auditorium (101 Design)
715 Bissell Road
Ames, IA 50011 United States
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