Edited by Yael Hameiri Sainsaux In Honor of Diane Lewis (1951–2017)
How are civic spaces imbued with nuance, and in what ways does such a quality persist in the city? Can one discuss intimacy in architectural terms? Across a series of speculative projects for civic space—first exhibited as part of the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale, in the Italian Pavilion—Conceiving the Plan engages these questions in dialogue with the legacy of the late architect and longtime Cooper Union Professor Diane Lewis. For Lewis the city was not only the result of a great number of historical, and ultimately inextricable, strata of form and memory; it was also greater than the sum of its individual architectures and a mental universe all its own. Lewis’s unique presence—her unmistakable voice—is among the most characteristic distillations of the architectural “message” of The Cooper Union from the 1970s to the mid-2010s. In this book, architectural historians Barry Bergdoll and Daniel Sherer contextualize the themes and approach of her pedagogy. Projects by a range of international designers touch on literary, ecological, social, and metahistorical questions, provoking new spatial civic identities as well as critical approaches to the discipline and education of architecture.