Architecture: Space, Power, and Community


Space, Power & Community

Summer Institute for k-12 Teachers

June 25 - 27, 2018

The 2018 Summer Institute for k-12 teachers will explore the interplay between built spaces, individuals, communities, and institutions. Our program will begin with recent research into how the human brain interacts with physical spaces. From there, participants will learn about a global sampling of built environments, considering spaces from perspectives such as visual arts, religious traditions, anthropology, and building technologies. 

Teachers who wish to receive professional development credit will be expected to attend an extended afternoon session, during which they will work to modify an existing classroom unit to incorporate new content. Teams of teachers are encouraged to attend and build curriculum together.

This institute is open to k-12 teachers across disciplines. There is no cost to attend. Space is limited.

photo credit: guah Architecture via flickr (license


Monday, June 25

8:30 – 9:00 AM

Check in & breakfast

9:00 - 9:20 AM


9:20 – 10:40 AM

Introduction: Thinking about the Production of Space
Joann Conrad

In our day-to-day lives, we tend to think of both Time and Space, if we think of them at all, as self-evident, static, the ‘solid-ground’ on which we scaffold the more contingent aspects of our lives. We act in space, but rarely think about how space acts on us

In this opening discussion, we will look at the production of space and the effect of that on us as subjects. Space, in this sense, is constitutive of human behavior: it is cultural, historical, and has ideological underpinnings and motivations. But how can we uncover these processes?

We can begin by reorienting our own behavior in relation to produced space, or at least questioning this – what happens when we go against the flow? When we enter an exit? Stand on the wrong side of a BART escalator? When we fail to drive inside the lines on the freeway? (I’m not suggesting doing this, but when ordered streets are introduced in places for the first time, there is a great deal of resistance to this kind of regimentation). In a way, we do this when we take “short cuts” – we subvert the “logic of the grid” by our personal logic, based on experience external to the grid – a knowledge of traffic patterns, road construction, etc. We also subvert the public production of space when we strike a tent outside a BART station, or, when we create personal, commemorative roadside shrines instead of conforming to the dictates of the managed spaces of death that are large, industrialized cemeteries.

The discussion takes a historical view of the organization of space and how this has changed over time and across cultures, intersected by technological, social, gender, economic factors, and in turn how these changes have affected interpersonal and social relations. We also move from the personal/domestic organization of space to the larger social organization.

10:50 AM – 12:10 PM

Thinking about Space and Using Space to Think: Applications from Spatial Cognition Research
Margaret Tarampi

Through our personal experiences, we know that our lives and interactions are guided by our physical surroundings. Cognitive science research can help explain how the physical environment (both built and natural) affects our perception and experience. As an architect, I bring a unique perspective to scientific research questions. As a cognitive psychologist, I consider how we think about space (i.e., thinking in space, and thinking about space) and how we use space to think (i.e., thinking with space). At the intersection of architecture and cognitive psychology, we will discuss findings from spatial cognition research that draw connections to physical environments.

12:10 – 1:10 PM


1:10 – 2:30 PM

Ball Games and Social Life in Ancestral Central America: Assembling places, people, and histories without government
Rosemary Joyce

Archaeologists today are exploring evidence of social relations in the past in which people organized themselves without permanent formal leaders. Drawing on theories of "heterarchy" or "anarchy"-- alternatives to the assumption that human societies always depend on political hierarchy-- archaeologists are able to understand societies where there seems to be less or less permanent economic inequality, and more sustainability, than the kingdoms and empires that long attracted most of the attention.
This talk draws on 30 years of research in one such area-- the Ulua valley in Caribbean coastal Honduras-- to show how we can understand the way people shaped towns to enable public gatherings, creating spaces where disputes could be resolved and alliances could be reaffirmed and created. In particular, we will look at the way that ballcourts-- specially built arenas for ballgames using indigenous rubber technology-- came to be central to communities that, in the memorable phrase of political scientist James Scott, understood "the art of not being governed" for centuries before Europeans arrived and imposed new forms of governance.

2:30 - 3:30

Credit Group work session & discussion

Tuesday, June 26

8:30 – 9:00 AM

Check in & breakfast

9:00 – 10:20 AM

Aesthetics of an Art Village in China
Annie Malcolm

The Chinese mega-city Shenzhen normally conjures images of wide streets, tall buildings, booming factory production, record-breaking construction speed, money, pollution, and materialism. But on the eastern edge of the city, 15,000 Chinese people—many of them artists—don loose linen and cotton clothes, live on narrow lanes and alleys in traditional-style houses, and go against all stereotypes about modern Chinese living. Nestled into the foothills of a stream-lined mountain where plants overflow into lantern-lit courtyards, it's a creative refuge where local strawberries sit on sun-drenched wooden tables and freshly baked cakes are sold out of wagons on the side of the road. Wutong Art Village is an artistic, atmospheric, miniature world. The village is undergoing a process of art-ification and gentrification, and is the site of spiritual revival for many residents. What does this look like? In what ways are these contexts made sensible on the ground? This presentation draws on ethnographic research to explore a unique site of "creative industry" within the better-known context of China's rapid industrialization.

10:30 – 11:00 AM

Facilitated Discussion

11:00 AM – 12:20PM

Architecture & Monarchical Power in Iran: From the Achaemenids to the Pahlavis
Talinn Grigor 

Artistic appropriation of forms and icons as a mode of identity formation has been a deep-rooted tradition in the politics of Iranian kingship. Rulers from antique, Islamic, and modern periods were keen on borrowing artistic vocabulary from the past in order to convey an expressly Iranian cultural and political distinctiveness. This espousal involved a highly self-aware process of adoption and synthesis that produced a renewed definition of not only forms and images, but also that of kingship and Persian-ness as constantly changing categories of meanings. This talk will give an overview of major royal monuments from the founding of the first Persian empire by the Achaemenids in 550 BCE to the fall of the Pahlavi dynasty in 1979. Architecture helped sustain the institution of the monarchy that in turn colored both Iranian identity formation and space making.  

12:20 - 1:15 PM


1:15 – 2:35 PM

Building Skyscrapers in Soviet Moscow: From Plan to Reality
Katherine Zubovich

Architecture is a powerful tool. The built environment is and has been used in cities around the world to project authority and to shape and constrain human interactions. This talk considers architectural projects in the USSR and the expression of Soviet ideology through built space. After the Bolshevik revolution in Russia in 1917, architecture played a particularly important role in Soviet efforts to solidify power and make revolutionary ideas concrete. But the results were not always what Soviet officials and architects intended. Focusing on a city-wide skyscraper project begun in Moscow in 1947, this talk explores the history of Stalin-era efforts to build up the Soviet capital in ways that conformed to and expressed communist ideology. We will also examine some of the ways that planning ideals fell short when implemented on the ground.

2:45 – 3:45 PM

Credit Group work session & discussion

Wednesday, June 27

8:30 – 9:00 AM

Check in & breakfast

9:00 – 10:20 AM

Public Spaces for Private Needs: Aromatic Flowers and the Democratization of Public Gardens in Victorian London
Anna Novakov 

Vauxhall Gardens, 1750-1859, situated along the Thames in Kennington, was a Utopian pleasure park that offered the illusion of luxury and privilege to a broad spectrum of London society. These eye-catching showpieces were made possible by the innovative gas lighting of walks creating a nocturnal fantasy world that was open to the public. Its phantasmagoria alluded to a more democratic, proto-cinematic experience that transported ordinary citizens to a world of aristocratic privilege. Victorian-era greenhouses, built around the same time, such as Kew Garden’s Palm House, were spaces of sensory diversions and the healing properties of fragrant flowers and exposure to sunshine.  Encased in a glass skin, elaborate buildings, such as those designed by Joseph Paxton (1803-1865), protected tender plants from the elements while also offering themselves up as therapeutic spaces for the visitors who saw in their expansive windows a kind of public sanatoria that relieved ordinary city dwellers from the stresses of urban life. The translucent effects of large sheets of glass made it possible to open up dark, musty interior rooms into more liberated and healthy architectural expanses whose aromatic properties had curative olfactory properties. The use of public spaces for private needs is noted by Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) who wrote that for ordinary citizens,

“for the first time the living space became distinguished from the place of work … From this sprang the phantasmagorias of the interior … The collector dreamed that he was in a world which was not only far off in distance but also in time. From this epoch sprang the arcades and the interiors, the exhibition halls and the dioramas … residues of a dream world.”[i]

[i] Walter Benjamin. Paris, Capital of the Nineteenth Century. (Berne, Switzerland, 1835) quoted in John Hix,. The Glasshouse. (New York: Phaidon, 1996), 74.

10:30  – 11:50 AM

Urban Space and Constructions of the Nation in Indonesia
Matt Wade

After Indonesia’s national independence, the making of the nation would prove tremendously complicated. For centuries, the Dutch rulers controlled a vast territory of what they called the Dutch East Indies, over 17,000 islands inhabited by a multitude of ethnic groups that shared no common language, whose main commonality was their experience of being ruled against their will by the Netherlands. Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno, considered himself the national architect, but also an urban planner and visionary. Under Sukarno’s leadership, the capital city of Jakarta was constructed as the symbol of the new country. Sukarno actively used architecture and urban space to construct the myth of an independent and unified nation. 

This presentation moves through four moments in the history of Indonesia to consider how urban space functions in the making of the nation, where the nation is not just as a country, but a mythology, a vehicle for personal and collective aspirations, and a system of control. We begin focusing on the city of Bandung, when in 1955 it hosted the international Asian-African Conference, a historical point in the making of a vision of solidarity and autonomy for the rising Third World. Second, we look at Jakarta under Sukarno, and think about the modernization projects that shaped the history of the nation. Third, we look at the national mythologies of the second president, Suharto, by exploring a Jakarta theme park, “Miniature Beautiful Indonesia,” inspired by a visit of the president’s wife to Disneyland in 1971. Finally, we explore contemporary national strategies that have remade urban space in the last two decades, in a context of the increasing integration of the global real estate industry and the trend of spectacular and iconic urban architecture.

11:50 AM – 12:20 PM

Facilitated Discussion

12:20 - 1:20 PM


1:20 - 2:40 PM
Spaces of the Modern City: Mumbai
Tanu Sankalia

The British developed Bombay as a colonial port city in the early nineteenth century. Aspects of European urbanism of the period such as a fort with town green, town hall, and esplanade, defined the city’s urban form. In the late nineteenth century, resplendent neo-classical buildings that reflected the institutional and infrastructural concerns of the time replaced the fort walls. As the city grew northwards, from its fort origins in the south, town planning authorities developed streetcar suburbs that integrated housing, open space and transportation. By the early twentieth century, Bombay’s urban structure was, in many ways, akin to European cities like London, Paris, and Vienna. 

This presentation will explore some of the nineteenth and twentieth century architecture and urbanism of Bombay, or Mumbai as it is now called. It will show how aspects of Western modernity in architecture and urbanism can be traced through examples outside Euro-America. Using a short video documentary, the presentation will examine seven distinct urban forms in Mumbai. While some pertain to urban planning (the circle, the overpass, the garden city, the neighborhood unit, and the train station), others pertain to architecture (Art Deco/Bauhaus), and social practices (the café). Examining these urban forms provides cogent links between theories and discourses of modern urban planning and architecture with actual examples situated in non-Euro-American contexts.

Furthermore, by showing the way the city’s inhabitants use, alter and appropriate these urban forms through daily use, the video will foreground the tension between Henri Lefebvre’s concepts of “conceived space”: the abstract space of urban planners and architects; and “lived space”: the vital practices of urban subjects in these spaces. Because these urban forms are structures of urbanity originating in the West, the video will reflect on how local cultures interact with and transform global, modern urban forms.

2:40 – 4:00 PM

Credit Group work session & discussion

Newsletter Sign-up

When & Where

Where: The Institute will be held at the ORIAS office, at 1995 University Ave, Suite 510, in downtown Berkeley.

When: See the agenda to the left for daily schedule information. Please arrive during the breakfast and check-in period or at breaks.

Registration: The Institute is currently full. If you would like to be added to a waiting list, please email

Transit & Parking: ORIAS is located close to several AC Transit bus lines and only three blocks from the Downtown Berkeley BART station. If at all possible, it is recommended that you take public transit. If you drive, you can learn about parking options here.


Read, Watch, Listen, Explore

Attendees have access to a shared folder containing recommended readings. Please also see the links below as either pre-readings or follow-up resources.


Lived Spaces Mumbai

Global Architecture History - Mark Jarzombek

Architecture of First Societies - Mark Jarzombek


The Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative podcast addresses a variety of topics.