Architecture Research Exchange Spring 2019 Mini-Series
Join us for the second Architecture Research Exchange Spring 2019 Mini-Series event featuring Tom Leslie and Vladimir Kulic.
Postwar Skyscrapers from the Inside Out: The Role of Lighting in the Development of the ‘Glass Box’
Tom Leslie, Morrill Professor of architecture
Fluorescent lamps relied on 19th-century advances, but they were spurred on by the expiration of incandescent patents in the 1930s. Keen to find new markets to corner, General Electric and Westinghouse developed commercially viable lamps that offered greater electrical and thermal efficiency. Avoiding the heat gain of incandescent lamps, however, was only part of fluorescent lamps’ impact on thermal comfort. Their cool operating temperatures allowed the use of easily-formed plastics to house them, leading to reflectors and diffusers that distributed or focused their light with precision.
Fluorescent lighting’s success can be measured by the evolving standards for light levels — which leapt from 3-4 footcandles for clerical work in 1918 to 100 footcandles in 1960. This matched air conditioning’s influence on comfort standards as well as its ability to homogenize office floor plates, tuning light levels to tasks below and regimenting open office floors. By pairing air supply and return with these fixtures, engineers and architects developed lighting and air conditioning as a single, integrated thermal and illuminatory package.
Learning from Yugoslavia
Vladimir Kulic, associate professor of architecture
The exhibition Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980 ended its six-month run at the Museum of Modern Art on Jan. 15. What is there to learn from it in 2019? Is there any kind of operative knowledge to be gleaned from the exhibited material beyond the historiographic “discovery” of a hitherto unknown region? The talk will focus on a few Yugoslav case-studies to argue in favor of the former socialist world as a repository of neglected architectural knowledge that could be valuable in today’s practice.