Final Public Oral Exam of Joseph Bedford

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Princeton University School of Architecture Announces
The Final Public Oral Exam of Joseph Bedford

CREATIVITY’S SHADOW:
DALIBOR VESELY, PHENOMENOLOGY AND ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION (1968 - 1989)

Wednesday, December 6th, 11:00am
S-118, Architecture Build

Committee
Lucia Allais, advisor
Beatriz Colomina
Reinhold Martin (Columbia)
Jorge Otero-Pailos (Columbia)

The dissertation explores an episode in the history of architectural education surrounding the career of the Czech architectural educator Dalibor Vesely. It follows the historical development of his career during the cold war (from the early 1960s to 1989). It begins with his life in totalitarian Czechoslovakia and then moves to his new life as an émigré in London teaching at the Architectural Association where he was one of the first unit masters in Alvin Boyarsky’s new AA diploma unit system and Essex University where he taught in an innovative new history and theory teaching partnership with Joseph Rykwert. It ends with the mature phase of his career as a professor of architecture at Cambridge University, where he taught in close collaboration with Peter Carl.

By examining the material, institutional and discursive world of the teaching practices surrounding Vesely, the dissertation explores the interaction between his interpretation of phenomenology, first formed in Czechoslovakia in the dissident culture of the artistic underground and the problems, and issues common to higher education in general and architectural education in particular. It argues that the logic of the underground stayed with Vesely from one context to the next, having both positive and problematic effects on the architectural education that he created. It explores how the terms of architectural education merged with and sometimes contradicted those of phenomenology and how phenomenological discourse had unwitting strategic effects within the terms of architectural education.

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