06.12.2021 - 07.12.2021, HEAD – Genève, Auditorium, Bd James-Fazy 15

For centuries, architectural theory, discourse and agency have been based on day and solar paradigms. References to night in Vitruvius’ De architectura, largely considered the founding text of western architectural theory, are  residual  and  the same absence can be identified in the Renaissance treatises    by Leon Battista Alberti or Andrea  Palladio. It  was  not  until the 19th and 20th centuries that the successive invention and institutionalization of artificial light in private and public spaces gradually transformed the agency of night in the architectural discipline. Never mind that leisure is mostly associated with night or that work activities increasingly occur in night shifts. Today we sleep one hour less than one hundred years ago. We keep working at night, socializing at night, living at night: time has become elastic. Since the invention of artificial light, the urban environment has seen human activity expand and intensify, forever transforming the means of material and cultural production. From casinos to nightclubs, movie theaters  to  corner  shops, the identity of contemporary human beings and their domestic, professional and cultural spaces are inseparable from night.

By analyzing and studying  “night  scenes”,  Nocturnal  History of Architecture hopes to show how night is not only an area of precarity and insecurity (haunted), but also a laboratory for the development of new forms of living. The colloquium organized by the new Master in Interior Architecture at HEAD-Genève proposes to use the lens of different environments and typologies that, throughout history, have shaped our notions of architecture, space and life. The seminar traces a path from ancient to early modern times, and from modernity to present time, using the nocturnal spaces that have determined current notions of architecture to question those same concepts. Over the course of four sessions, the colloquium will generate productive frictions and offer opportunities to expand our understanding of what architecture at night was and can be.

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Javier Fernandez Contreras, Head of Interior Architecture Department HEAD – Genève, Switzerland. Welcome address and conference kick-off
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Vera Sacchetti, Youri Kravtchenko, Roberto Zancan, Professors, HEAD – Genève, Switzerland. Theoretical overview
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Efrosyni Boutsikas, Co-Director,University of Kent Interdisciplinary Centre for Spatial Studies. Through the gates of darkness: Discovering the nocturnal power of ancient Greek religious architecture.
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Alexandra Sumorok, Professor, Akademia Sztuk Pięknych Łodz, Poland. Toward happiness and emotions: The role of light in Socialist Realist interiors in Poland (1949–1956).
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Maarten Delbeke, Professor, ETH Zürich. Chasing darkness: Night and shadow in the ephemeral apparati of baroque Rome.
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Léa-Catherine Szacka, Professor, University of Manchester, Great Britain
The space of MTV: From inner-city clubbing to basement suburbia.

Lucía Jalón Oyarzun, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne - Lausanne. Our encryption is the real world: Clandestinity as a form of minor architecture.
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Sébastien Grosset, Professor, HEAD – Genève, Switzerland
L’origine obscure : Esquisse d’une histoire de l’habitat à l’ombre de l’architecture.

Muriel Hladik, Professor, RWTH-Aachen University, Germany. A fascination for the moon in Japanese aesthetics and architecture.
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Carlotta Darò, Yan Rocher, Professor, Ecole Nationale Superieur d’Architecture – Malaquais, Paris. “Illusion is the thing”: Simulating night at the atmospheric cinema.
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Nick Dunn, Executive Dirwector of Imagination, research lab, Lancaster University, United Kingdom. Nocturnal spaces: Rediscovering an architecture of darkness.
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Hilary Orange, Professor, Swansea University, Great Britain. Using artificial light to shape industrial landscape: A nocturnal view of the Ruhrgebiet.
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Javier Fernandez Contreras, Youri Kravtchenko, Manon Portera, Professors, HEAD – Genève, Switzerland. Presentation of the research project and book Scènes de nuit.
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Scientific deputy:  Roberto Zancan, Javier F. Contreras, and Scènes de Nuit team
Organisation: Valentina De Luigi, Valentin Dubois, Inès Salih
With the participation of: Anthony Masure, Research Institute for Art and Design (IRAD), HEAD – Genève
With the financial support of:  the Swiss National Science Foundation (FNS)
Special thanks to: Jean-Pierre Greff, Director, HEAD – Genève
Media Contact: Sandra Mudronja