Asymmetric Labors: The Economy of Architecture in Theory and Practice

“The scenes are familiar ones: the scribe of the gallery plaque, the bespeckled led figure hurrying from the archive to the classroom, the designer reluctantly forced to write to make her tenure case, the turtlenecked critic summoned to embellish the panel at the biennale.  As in my professions, the architectural historian or theorist comes in many forms.  Unlike most professions, though, the figure must be made to explain herself.  Not at all wed to art historical methodologies, nor interested in drawing connections between his intellectual project and built offerings, all the while refusing to identify as either a scientist or humanist. Who is this person? What is their work?”

The Architecture Lobby launched an edited book anthology at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, Asymmetric Labors: The Economy of Architecture in Theory and Practice featuring contributions from over fifty architectural historians, theorists, students, writers, and practitioners from across the globe, providing a slice through the uneven terrain of values and unequal labor practices of historical and theoretical architectural work.

This booklet is meant to begin a conversation that is not yet focused, not yet resolved, and not yet clear about its terms, but that is necessary to build momentum against uneven values and unjust labor practices in the academy and the profession. Why must adjunct faculty members need welfare, students need debt, PhDs be unemployable, writers scratch for pennies, and public universities privatize? How do these problems relate to the hubris of real estate, environmental destruction, and social inequity in our cities and built environments? We conjecture that there is another way for academic labor and its ramifications to exist robustly—not merely be surviving.

Edited by:

Aaron Cayer, Peggy Deamer, Sben Korsh, Eric Petersen and Manuel Shvartzberg

Contributors Include:

Felipe Aravena, Pier Vittorio Aureli, Daniel A. Barber, Chris Barker, Nick Beech, Joaquin Díez Canedo, Aaron Cayer, Dariel Cobb, Kieran Connolly, Joe Crowdy, Tobias Danielmeier, Peggy Deamer, Kirti Durelle, Eva Hagberg Fisher, Gary Fox, Frabrizio Gallanti, Curt Gambetta, Anna Goodman, James Graham, Gevork Hartoonian, Andrew Herscher, Mark Jarzombek, Tahl Kaminer, Hanan Kataw, Anne Kockelkorn, Sben Korsh, Christos Kritkos, Nadir Lahiji, James Longfield, Yasser Megahed, Jacob Moore, Joan Ockman, Daniel Fernández Pascual, Eric Peterson, Joanne Preston, Peg Rawes, Eric Wycoff Rogers, Andreas Rumpfhuber, Susanne Schindler, Jack Self, Adam Sharr, Manuel Shvartzberg, Brent Sturlaugson, Meredith TenHoor, Stefano Tornieri, Alessandro Toti, Norihiko Tsuneishi, Tijana Vujosevic, Who Builds Your Architecture? (Kadambari Baxi, Jordan Carver, Laura Diamond Dixit, Mabel O. Wilson), Yang Yang

New members of the Lobby will receive a copy of Asymmetric Labors: The Economy of Architecture in Theory and Practice for free.  If you would like to purchase a copy, click the button below or contact the Architecture Lobby at info@architecture-lobby.org for more information.

Asymmetric Labors
The Economy of Architecture in Theory and Practice
Edited by: Aaron Cayer, Peggy Deamer, Sben Korsh, Eric Petersen, Manuel Shvartzberg
New York: The Architecture Lobby; 2016