Architecture of Nature

Diana Agrest, Peter Galison, Carlone A. Jones, and Graham Burnett





Architecture of Nature: Nature of Architecturepresents original research work, exploring the materiality and the effects of the forces at play in the history of the earth developed for the past eight years in the Advanced Research graduate studio Architecture of Nature / Nature of Architecture, created and directed by Diana Agrest at the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of the Cooper. While nature has always been historically embedded "within" architecture discourse in different forms, Architecture of Nature: Nature of Architecture departs from the traditional ‘nature as a referent’ approach, detaching itself as a free radical to become itself the object of study, transforming that relationship through one common element essential to both science and architecture in the production of knowledge: representation. The complex processes of generation and the transformations of extreme natural phenomena such as glaciers, volcanoes, permafrost, and clouds are explored through unique drawings and models, introducing a different dimension of space, time and scale and transcending the established disciplinary boundaries of architecture urbanism or landscape.


9" x 11.75" Portrait
Publication date: 
December 15, 2017
Rights world: 

Lawrence Lek, Stefan van Biljon, Seongmo Ahn, Ling Li Tseng, Chung-Wei Lee, Yael Agmon, Yu-Chen Lin, Rosannah Sandoval, Lenia Pachy, Han cheng Chen, Katerina Kourkoula, Hsing-O Chiang, Melanie Fessel, and Lea (Jihyun) Lee. 



About the author: 

Diana Agrest, FAIA is a Professor at the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union and has taught at Princeton, Columbia, and Yale Universities. Internationally renown for her pioneering and critical approach to architecture and urbanism in practice and theory, Agrest considers architecture an interdiscursive field. She has focused on the question of Nature since 1989.  Her city and urban designed and built work has received numerous awards and her publications include: The Sex of Architecture; Agrest and Gandelsonas: Works; Architecture from Without: Theoretical Framings for a Critical Practice; and A Romance with the City. She wrote, produced, and directed the 2013 feature documentary film The Making of an Avant-Garde: The Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies 1967–1984, which premiered at The Museum of Modern Art. Her work has been exhibited in The Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Walker Art Center, Center Pompidou, Paris and the Milano Triennale. Having graduated from the School of Architecture and Urbanism, University of Buenos Aires in 1967, Agrest did Post Graduate Studies at the Centre de Recherche d’Urbanisme and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Vi Section, Paris, France from 1967–1969.





Peter Galison, the Joseph Pellegrino University Professor of the History of Science and of Physics at Harvard University, explores the complex interaction between the three principal subcultures of physics, experimentation, instrumentation, and theory. His books include Image and Logic (1997), Einstein’s Clocks, Poincaré’s Maps (2003) and, with L. Daston Objectivity (2007). Greatly concerned with the impact of technology on the self, with Robb Moss he directed Secrecy in 2008 and in 2015 Containment about the need to guard radioactive materials for the future 10,000 years.


Caroline A. Jones, a Professor of History Theory and Criticism at MIT Architecture, studies modern and contemporary art, with a focus on its technological modes of production, distribution, and reception, was trained in visual studies and art history at Harvard, completing her PhD at Stanford University in 1992. She has worked in museum administration and exhibition curation at The Museum of Modern Art in New York (1977-83) and the Harvard University Art Museums (1983-85) while she completed two documentary films. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.


Graham Burnett is a Professor of History at Princeton University, working at the intersection of historical inquiry and artistic practice. His scholarly interests include the history of natural history, the earth and sea sciences from the 17th through the 20th centuries, having also studied Charles Darwin, the history of exploration and early modern optics. Burnett received a Mellon “New Directions” Fellowship in 2009 and he was a 2013-2014 Guggenheim Fellow.