Irina Davidovici and Micha Bandini introduced by Jonathan Sergison
Friday 11 October 2013, Accademia di architettura di Mendrisio

 event poster / event photograph 

History has traditionally been a constituent part of architectural education, yet its status has been and remains challenged. Whereas modernist teachers were preoccupied with progress and mechanisation, often at the behest of history, it was the relativism of postmodern thinking that rendered history positively flat. Now, in many schools of architecture historical studies have been objectified so that they can be used as a tool to inform design method and stylistic pursuits, or its study has ventured so far into the realms of other disciplines and political movements that it often avoids the fundamental concerns of the discipline. The architect’s history curriculum needs to be considered in the light of the broader collapse of historical thinking in which history is no longer something that we are part of, that we have a role in shaping, but has become an artefact. In this culture how are we to teach students of architecture the importance of history?

Associazione studenti Accademia di Mendrisio
Accademia di architettura di Mendrisio

Irina Davidovici is an architect and writer. She grew up in Romania and completed her training in the UK. After working in the office of Herzog & de Meuron, she gained her doctorate at Cambridge University in 2008. She is recipient of the RIBA President’s Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis. She taught history and theory of architecture at Kingston University from 2008 to 2012, and besides numerous essays, is the author of Forms of Practice, German-Swiss Architecture 1980–2000.

Micha Bandini is an architect, urban planner and artist based in Tuscany. In 1967 she enrolled at Rome where she also assisted Bruno Zevi. After graduating she taught design with professor Ludovico Quaroni and worked for Giuseppe Samona. In 1979 she joined the Architectural Association where she founded and co-directed the History and Theory Graduate Programme for the following 14 years. In 1990 she became the Head of Architecture and Interior Design at the University of North London.