Interface Lecture: Harry Francis Mallgrave – “What is the Nature of Architectural Research”

Interface Lecture: Harry Francis Mallgrave – “What is the Nature of Architectural Research”

Join us on April 20, 2016 at 7pm (Pacific Time), at NewSchool of Architecture + Design to listen in on Harry Francis’ Mallgrave’s “What is the Nature of Architectural Research” lecture with discussant Dr. Michael Arbib.


The revolution within the biological and neuro- sciences over the past quarter century has had a profound effect on philosophical and cultural theory. The nature/nurture debates of the 20th century have given way to coevolutionary, developmental, and embodied models in which biological organisms reconstruct themselves from generation to generation through the play of genetic, cellular, organismic, environmental, and cultural forces. The same models have important implications for design. Allowing us to examine the human ‘experience’ with architectural environments, these models and the new technologies at our disposal open new avenues for research concerning our relationship with the built world. This presentation will discuss three such areas of potential research: 1) homeostasis, or how the human organism directly engages with the built environment; 2) the prereflective and reflective aesthetic experience of design or the dynamics of how we skillfully cope with the built environment (aesthetics defined in a non-formalist or non-normative manner); and 3) the social and cultural dimensions of the built environment, including both our interactions with others and the need for a cultural ethos of design suited to our present state of understanding.

For more than 30 years Harry Francis Mallgrave, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Illinois Institute of Technology, has worked as an architect, editor, translator, teacher, and historian.  In the last capacity he has authored more than a dozen books relating to architectural theory and history, including his book The Architect’s Brain, which is well-known to the ANFA community. He is currently at work on a book attempting to track the new dimensions of cultural research and their potential importance for the design community.


Discussant: Dr. Michael Arbib, ANFA Vice-President

Michael Arbib is a computational neuroscientist with an interest in how the brain integrates action, perception and language. In 2003 and 2004, he asked students in his course on “Brain Theory and Artificial Intelligence” at USC to conduct projects which developed “Brains for Intelligent Rooms.” This led him, 5 years later, to suggest neuromorphic architecture (the incorporation of a brain-inspired “information infrastructure” into building design) as a topic for ANFA. He now adds neuroscience of the design process and neuroscience of the experience of architecture in a tripartite framework for linking neuroscience and architecture. In the Spring of 2016, he is co-teaching a course with Tatiana Berger at the NewSchool for Architecture and Design in San Diego.


Special Event:
BOOK SIGNING: The NewSchool Library will hold a book signing of Dr. Mallgrave’s book “Architecture and Embodiment: The Implications of the New Sciences and Humanities for Design” following his lecture.


Live Streaming:
If you’re interested in watching the event live, please click here for more information.


Location Map:


Update (2016-04-29): Thanks to our sponsor, NewSchool of Architecture + Design, the presentation is now available to watch online!