School of Architecture Lecture: Lydia Kallipoliti

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Lydia Kallipoliti is an architect, engineer and scholar whose research focuses on the intersections of architecture, technology and environmental politics. She is an Assistant Professor at the Cooper Union in New York. She has also taught at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she directed the Master of Science Program, at Syracuse University, Columbia University [GSAPP] and Pratt Institute.

Her work has been published and exhibited widely including the Venice Biennial, the Istanbul Design Biennial, the Shenzhen Biennial, the Onassis Cultural Center, the Royal Academy of British Architects and the Storefront for Art and Architecture.  She is the author of the awarded book The Architecture of Closed Worlds, Or, What is the Power of Shit (Lars Muller Publishers, 2018), the History of Ecological Design for Oxford English Encyclopedia of Environmental Science and the editor of EcoRedux, a special issue of Architectural Design magazine (AD, 2010). Kallipoliti holds a Diploma in Architecture and Engineering from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, a Master of Science [SMArchS] in design and building technology from MIT and a PhD in history and theory of architecture from Princeton University. She is the principal of ANAcycle thinktank, which has been named leading innovator in sustainable design in Build’s 2019 awards.

The tentative term “history machine” is a medium of immersive scholarship lingering between reality and fiction, with which I examine, redesign, and reimagine archives. I see archives, not as static objects that contain historical documents, but as immersive spaces and living collections where existential ideas about world orders migrate though different architectural and spatial typologies.  Contrary to a linear text, a reconfigured archive allows multiplicity, simultaneity and disruption. It allows the reader to travel between different times, places and objects of investigation, enabling multiple connections and complex affinities between themes, concepts and ideas that are not limited to a single place, era, author or type. A reconfigured archive can produce new interconnected categories out of archival boxes, a universe of multitudes that does not necessarily need to be transcribed in linear time. I see the use of history as a creative and generative medium for contemporary concerns in design education and practice; one that does not only promote public engagement with historical material, but also makes evident that in the history of ideas, discourses get recycled. Concepts emerge as allegedly new, though ideas undergo long journeys of migration from one epistemological field to another.


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