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Reimagining Assembly Spaces for Face-to-Face Democracies

Monday, January 29 at 5:00pm

White Stag Block, Main Event Space 70 NW Couch Street Portland, OR

Please join us on Monday, January 29 at 05:00 pm PT in Portland WSB Main Event Space, or on zoom (link below), for the lecture "Reimagining Assembly Spaces for Face-to-Face Democracies" by Sergio Lopez-Pineiro.

Sergio Lopez-Pineiro will present his book Typologies for Big Words, published in 2022, and the design research that has followed. The book is a collection of projects redesigning traditional building and landscape types as openings within the current politico-economic global system, as holes within society’s big words. Each project is an inseparable pairing of a design proposal and a theoretical essay, and it is named after a spatial type and a big word. One of the types, the “Waiting Room of Democracy,” has triggered a new line of research about the need to update the presently outdated democratic spaces.

Since the establishment of modern democracies and the associated emergence of the public sphere in the 18th century, political spaces continue to be imagined as august places to assemble multitudes (e.g., houses of representatives or public squares). Today, no political spaces are explicitly designed for face-to-face meetings, and these crucial conversations for American democracy typically occur in ordinary multipurpose rooms. The old spatial imagination deployed at the dawn of modern democracies must be renewed to meet the challenges of contemporary democracies. 

Sergio Lopez-Pineiro is an interdisciplinary architect operating at the intersection of architecture and landscape, and exploring emptiness and allied spatial concepts to imagine a public realm where groups of free, diverse, and spontaneous strangers become a public body. Currently, he is focusing on the spatial needs and expressions of democratic acts that generate trust between strangers, such as voting or conversing face-to-face with citizens of opposing political views. He is the author of A Glossary of Urban Voids (Jovis, 2020) and Typologies for Big Words (ORO Editions, 2022). 

Lopez-Pineiro is the director of the design studio Holes of Matter and an Assistant Professor in Architecture at the School of Architecture & Urban Planning (SARUP) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he teaches design studios and theory seminars focusing on the public nature of the built environment. He has previously held the 2006-07 Reyner Banham Fellowship at the University at Buffalo and the 2014-15 Daniel Urban Kiley Fellowship at Harvard University. 

Lopez-Pineiro is a licensed architect in Spain. He trained at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid (ETSAM) and received his Master of Architecture degree from Princeton University, where he was awarded the Suzanne Kolarik Underwood Prize.

Event Type

Lectures & Presentations, Guest Speaker


College of Design: School of Architecture & Environment


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