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IAAC Lecture Series – Aaron Betsky

”Don’t Build, Rebuild: The Case for Imaginative Reuse in Architecture” by Aaron Betsky at IAAC Lecture Series Tuesday 23th April

Aaron Betsky was born in Missoula, Montana but moved to The Netherlands where he received his grade and high school education. He was granted both a Bachelor of Arts (1979) and a Masters of Architecture (1983) degree from Yale University. Mr. Betsky’s leadership of major institutions in the world of art and architecture includes serving as the Director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam from 2001 to 2006, the Curator of Architecture and Design of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from 1995-2001 and the Artistic Director of the 11th International Architecture Biennale Venice, Italy, in September 2008. He was Dean at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and President of the School of Architecture at Taliesin until 2020 and Director of the School of Architecture and Design Virginia Tech until 2024. A prolific writer and editor with a dozen books and hundreds of articles to his credit, Mr. Betsky is a also a lecturer and visiting critic who teaches around the world.

Don’t Build, Rebuild: The Case for Imaginative Reuse in Architecture

As climate change has escalated into a crisis, the reuse of existing structures is the only way to even begin to preserve our wood, sand, silicon, and iron, let alone stop belching carbon monoxide into the air. Our housing crisis means that we need usable buildings now more than ever, but architect and critic Aaron Betsky shows that new construction—often seeking to maximize profits rather than resources, often soulless in its feel—is not the answer. Whenever possible, it is better to repair, recycle, renovate, and reuse—not only from an environmental perspective, but culturally and artistically as well.

Architectural reuse is as old as civilization itself. In the streets of Europe, you can find fragments from the Roman Empire. More recently, marginalized communities from New York to Detroit—queer people looking for places to gather or cruise, punks looking to make loud music, artists and displaced people looking for space to work and live—have taken over industrial spaces created then abandoned by capitalism, forging a unique style in the process. Their methods—from urban mining to dumpster diving—now inform architects transforming old structures today.

IAAC Lecture Series – Aaron Betsky

Date: Tuesday, 23rd of April, 2024, 19.00h (CEST)

Location: IAAC ATELIER – First Floor (C. de Pujades, 59, 08005 Barcelona) & Zoom


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