Night White Skies

Join Sean Lally in conversation about architecture’s future, as both earth’s environment and our human bodies are now open for design. The podcast engages a diverse range of perspectives to get a better picture of the events currently unfolding. This includes philosophers, cultural anthropologists, policy makers, scientists as well as authors of science fiction. Each individual’s work intersects this core topic, but from unique angles. Lally is the author of the book The Air from Other Planets: A Brief History of Architecture to Come and an associate professor of architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the recipient of the Prince Charitable Trusts Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome in Landscape Architecture.
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Night White Skies



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Now displaying: 2017
Nov 27, 2017

The United States in 1930’s experienced what is referred to as the dust bowl in which a combination of poor farming and business practices caused massive wind erosion called ‘black blizzards’ that resulted in many farmers abandoning their farms in states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and beyond, just as the Great Depression was underway.

The research story here is about one of the initiatives from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal inniatives. This being the creation of a ‘shelter belts’, more precisely, the planting of more than 220 million trees from North Dakota down through Texas in a seven year time frame to help stabilize soil and rejuvenate farming communities…. Essentially, an act of planning and environmental conservation to be better prepared for a future of farming in the Great Plains.

Sarah Thomas Karle is an Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture in the College of Architecture at the University of Nebraska where she teaches undergraduate courses in landscape architecture.

David Karle is an Associate Professor of Architecture in the College of Architecture at the University of Nebraska where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on architecture, landscape architecture, and urbanism.

Nov 13, 2017

Ricardo de Ostos creates speculative fictions that envision architectural projects in shifting environmental and cultural contexts. He lives, works and teaches in London at both, the Architectural Association and The Bartlett School of Architecture. He is the co-director of NaJa & deOstos studio and co-author of 'The Hanging Cemetery of Baghdad' (Springer Wien/New York, 2006) 'Ambiguous Spaces' (Princeton Press, 2007) and 'Scavengers and Other Creatures in Promised Lands' (fall 2017, AA).

NaJa & deOstos

Ambigious Territory

Nov 6, 2017

Sara M. Watson is a writer and technology critic. She is an affiliate with the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, and a writer in residence at Digital Asia Hub. Sara writes and speaks about emerging issues in the intersection of technology, culture, and society. She advocates for a constructive approach to technology criticism that not only critiques, but also offers alternatives. Her writing appears in The Atlantic, Wired, The Washington Post, Slate, Motherboard, and other publications.

Sep 25, 2017

This week is a conversation with Marcelyn Gow. Marcelyn is an architect and principle of Servo Los Angeles, She received her Architecture degrees from Architectural Association in London, Columbia University and her Doctorite from the ETH Zurich. Her Doctoral dissertation was called ‘Invisible Environment: Art, Architecture and a Systems Aesthetic’ which explored the relationship between aesthetic research and technological innovation.  She currently teaches design studios and critical theory seminars at SCI-Arc in Los Angeles.

Sep 4, 2017

Tom Wiscombe is Principal of Tom Wiscombe Architecture which is currently planning the Main Museum of Los Angeles Art with Developer Tom Gilmore in Downtown LA. As well as the West Hollywood Belltower on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles. Wiscombe is Chair of the B.Arch Program at SCI-Arc, where he has taught for over 10 years.  Previously to all this, Tom worked for Coop Himmelb(l)au, where he was Chief Designer for BMW Welt, Munich, the Lyon Museum of Confluences, and the Dresden Cinema Center.

Aug 15, 2017

Madeline Schwartzman is a New York City writer, filmmaker and architect whose work explores human narratives and the human sensorium through social art, book writing, curating and video making. Her two books ‘See Yourself Sensing: Redefining Human Perception (Black Dog Publishing, London, 2011)—and Her forthcoming book See Yourself X: Human Futures Expanded (Black Dog September 2017) explores the future of the human head, using fashion, design and technology to speculate on how me might extend ourselves into space.

Jul 23, 2017

Sophia Roosth is the Frederick S. Danziger Associate Professor in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University. We discuss her book 'Synthetic, How Life Got Made'.

Jul 3, 2017

Gareth Damian Martin is the creator and editor of Heterotopias, a project focusing on the spaces and architecture of virtual worlds. Heterotopias is both a digital zine and website, hosting studies and visual essays that dissect spaces of play, exploration, violence and ideology.

Jun 19, 2017

Kevin Warwick's research areas include artificial intelligence, robotics and biomedical engineering. Kevin Warwick is Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Coventry University. Prior to that he was Professor of Cybernetics at The University of Reading, England. 

Jun 4, 2017

Oliver Morton is The Economist‘s briefings editor. Before coming to The Economist as energy and environment editor in 2009, he was the chief news and features editor of Nature, the international scientific journal. He is the author of ‘The Planet Remade, How Geoengineering Could Change the World’, “Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet”, a study of photosynthesis, its meanings and its implications, and “Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination and the Birth of a World”.

Apr 11, 2017

Jesse LeCavalier is a designer, writer, and educator whose work explores the architectural and urban implications of contemporary logistics. He is assistant professor of architecture at the New Jersey School of Architecture at NJIT and author of The Rule of Logistics: Walmart and the Architecture of Fulfillment (University of Minnesota Press, 2016). LeCavalier was a recipient of the New Faculty Teaching Award from the Association of the Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) in 2015 and the 2010-11 Sanders Fellow at the University of Michigan. His work has been supported by the Graham Foundation, the New York State Council for the Arts, and the BMW Foundation.

Recent publications include "Stuff During Logistics"  in, the Oslo Architecture Triennale catalog (Lars Mueller, 2016), as well as contributions to Infrastructure Space (Ruby Press, 2016), Smart City: Utopian Vision or False Dawn? (Routledge, 2016), Volume 47: Short Circuits, and Harvard Design Magazine 43. His essay, "The Restlessness of Objects," was the recipient of a 2013 Core77 Design Award and his article "All Those Numbers" was named by The Atlantic as one of "Nearly 100 Fantastic Pieces of Journalism" in 2011.

Mar 26, 2017

On this episode we discuss the architect Cedric Price and the influence of his work and strategies today. Molly Wright Steenson is a designer, writer, and international speaker whose work focuses on the intersection of design, architecture, and artificial intelligence. She is the author of the forthcoming book Architectural Intelligence: How Designers and Architects Created the Digital Landscape (MIT Press, Fall 2017), which tells the radical history of AI’s impact on design and architecture and how it poured the foundation for contemporary digital design. A web pioneer since 1994, she’s worked at groundbreaking design studios, consultancies, and Fortune 500 companies for 23 years. Dr. Steenson is an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design and holds a PhD in architecture from Princeton University and a master’s in architectural history (M.E.D.) from Yale.

Mar 6, 2017

David Biello is an award-winning journalist who has been reporting on the environment and energy since 1999. He is currently the science curator for TED Talks and a contributing editor at Scientific American, where he has been writing since 2005. He also contributes frequently to the Los Angeles Review of BooksYale e360Nautilus, and Aeon, among other publications. Biello hosts the ongoing duPont-Columbia award-winning documentary Beyond the Light Switch as well as The Ethanol Effect for PBS. The Unnatural World is his first book.

Feb 20, 2017

Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg is a designer, artist and writer, developing experimental approaches to imagine new roles and ideals for design. Designing objects, workshops, writing and curating, Daisy investigates design’s aesthetic and ethical futures with collaborators around the world including scientists, engineers, artists, designers, social scientists, galleries and industry. The Dream of Better, her PhD by practice at London's Royal College of Art, uses design to explore our idea of the 'better' future. 

 Daisy's expertise includes design and synthetic biology. She curated 'Synthetic Aesthetics' (Stanford University/University of Edinburgh, 2010–2013), an international research project between synthetic biology, art and design, and is lead author of Synthetic Aesthetics: Investigating Synthetic Biology’s Designs on Nature (MIT Press, 2014). She led the curatorial team for Grow Your Own… Life After Nature, a flagship Wellcome-funded exhibition about synthetic biology at Science Gallery, Dublin (October 2013–January 2014). 

 Daisy leads Studio Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, an experimental design research studio.

Feb 7, 2017

Philippe Rahm is a Swiss architect, principal in the office of Philippe Rahm architectes, based in Paris, France. His work, which extends the field of architecture from the physiological to the meteorological, has received an international audience in the context of sustainability. 

Jan 23, 2017

James Hughes is a bioethicist and sociologist. He’s the Executive Director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, and author of Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future.’ He holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Chicago, where he also taught bioethics at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics.

Jan 9, 2017

Darran Anderson is the author of Imaginary Cities (Influx Press/University of Chicago Press) and the forthcoming Tidewrack (Vintage/Farrar, Straus and Giroux). He has also written the forthcoming e-book In Defence of Expressionist Architecture for Machine Books. He has written on the intersection of architecture and politics, technology, culture and futurism for the likes of The Guardian, Wired and Aeon. He
has given talks on these issues at the LSE, the V&A, the Bartlett, the Bristol Festival of Ideas, the Edinburgh International Book Festival and the Robin Boyd Foundation, Melbourne among others. He gave the 2016 keynote speech for the British 

Council at the Venice Architecture Biennale.