Conferences & lectures

ATMOSPHERES: Stimmung: Atmosphere and its Origins in Western Architectural Theory

Thursday, November 12, 2020
1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Alberto Pérez-Gómez (School of Architecture, McGill University)


This event is free




Allison Peacock



CISSC ATMOSPHERES virtual lecture series Attunement (2016) by Alberto Pérez-Gómez

Architecture remains in crisis, its social relevance lost between the two poles of formal innovation and technical sustainability. Architecture, a multisensory - not pictorial - experience, operates as a communicative setting for societies; its beauty and its meaning lie in its connection to human health and self-understanding.

Drawing on recent work in embodied cognition, this lecture argues that the environment, including the built environment, matters not only as a material ecology but because it is nothing less than a constituent part of our consciousness. Our physical places are of utmost importance for our wellbeing. Architecture is seen through the lens of mood and atmosphere, linking these ideas to the key German concept of Stimmung - attunement - with roots in Pythagorean harmony and Vitruvian temperance (or proportion), and its modern reliance of the linguistic nature of the human imagination.

About Alberto Pérez-Gómez

Alberto Pérez-Gómez studied architecture and practiced in Mexico City. In 1983 he became Director of Carleton University’s School of Architecture (Ottawa, Canada). Since 1987 he has occupied the Bronfman Chair at McGill University, where he founded the History and Theory post-graduate programs. He is the author of numerous essays published world-wide. His books include Architecture and the Crisis of Modern Science (MIT Press, 1983; Hitchcock Award in 1984), Polyphilo (MIT Press 1992), Architectural Representation and the Perspective Hinge (MIT Press 1997), Built upon Love (MIT Press 2006), Attunement (MIT Press 2016) and Timely Meditations, 2 vols. (2016 RightAngle Intl).

All lectures and ensuing discussions will be live on zoom at the designated hour and last about 90 minutes.

Please write to Allison Peacock to register (include ATMOSPHERES in the subject line). You will be sent a zoom link by return email.

This Virtual Lecture series is curated by David Howes, the outgoing director of CISSC. It is co-sponsored by the Centre for Sensory Studies and the CISSC Gardens, Sensing Atmospheres, and Colonial, Racial and Indigenous Ecologies (CRIE) Working Groups.

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