New York City

New York's Architectural debates are rubbish.
We've all been there: a panel of similar designers with similar views taking it in turns to talk at length about their similar work - too polite, too deferential, too dull. At best they are lukewarm love-ins, critically impotent, elitist and stuffy. Turncoats is a shot in the arm. Framed by theatrically provocative opening gambits, a series of debates will rugby tackle fundamental issues facing contemporary practice with a playful and combative format designed to foment open and critical discussion, turning conventional consensus on its head.

Buildings Don't Matter

Tuesday 13 June, 2017, New York City

Great architects don't make buildings, they make brands. From Aravena to Zaha, the power of images transcends the impact of built reality. Even the most globe-trotting paid critic will visit a fraction of the new buildings which form architecture's cultural zeitgeist. Renders are our barometer of taste, Instagram is our King Maker. Bjarke Ingles will be remembered not for his buildings but for his viral YouTube lectures and rockstar ego.

Ellis Woodman, Director of the Architecture Foundation, has argued that even Le Corbusier and James Stirling were great architects because for them, "the making of buildings was an activity subsidiary to the making and publishing of images." Or, as Leon Krier has put it, "I don’t build because I am an architect. I can make true Architecture because I do not build."

Time to 'fess up and face the music. In architecture, the buildings are a distraction.

  • In partnership with the Architect's Newspaper
    • 7pm
    • Tuesday 13 June, 2017
    • The Cooper Union
    • Rose Auditorium
    • 41 Cooper Sq
    • New York City

    Get a ticket


    Turncoats New York is a project by Kimberlie Birks, Stephanie Miller and Jason Sayer. For all enquiries write to turncoatsnyc@gmail.com

    In partnership with The Architect's Newspaper

    The Society of Turncoats

    Any group of people with a thirst for intellectual mischief can join the Society of Turncoats and form a chapter in their city. Membership is free. Once a member, you can use and improve the format to host official Turncoats events. It began with Architecture, but can be transposed to other disciplines in need of an alternative format to niggle into the depths of difficult issues.

    Email hello@turncoats.world about setting setting up a chapter

    Site built by Ben Chernett