The Berlage Sessions: Patrice Derrington

04 September 2020 12:45 till 14:00 - Location: Online - By: Communication BK

As part of The Berlage Sessions, Patrice Derrington gives the lecture 'Calculation and Speculation'.

This lecture will be streamed live on the website of The Berlage.

Speculative private development is now responsible for delivering the larger proportion of the global urban built environment, even within state-ruled countries. But, unchecked, it is also held to be responsible for the tragic displacement of communities, unaffordability of housing, controversial additions to city typography and the increasing inequality of society. Private developers are typecast as brutal and greedy. How does such a criticized and disparaged activity persist as the most compelling force in the formation of our increasingly popular urban environments?  But importantly, seeking the answer to this question must go beyond the common superficial description of property development’s methods and the continued litany of what is done badly. Rather it must elicit and expose  its codified protocols by which the essential decisions and actions are formalized through a set of general terms and concepts that are otherwise hidden in the play of customary context practice.

This lecture, entitled “Calculation and Speculation,” locates the earliest instances of this activity that has been distributed and assiduously adopted within a variety of politico-economic conditions and geographies. This was seventeenth century London. Born of a primordial soup of unique constructs, actions and events, throughout its evolution, private development practice was so insidiously aligned with the dominant political, economic and social interests that its fundamental structure became deeply embedded within the urbanization of the Anglo-American world and rising capitalism. It was exported as the prevailing method of delivering the built environment throughout the colonized world of the eighteenth century and continues as germane to globalized capital today.

This lecture is part of The Berlage Sessions, a thematic Friday afternoon seminar series entitled “Architectures of Speculation,” which considers architecture’s historical and contemporary relationship to real estate speculation, from urban developments associated with nineteenth-century London, fin-de-siècle Paris, and postwar Rome; to land ownership, the spatial ordering of property, and buildings as financial instruments. Lecturers will include Gabriel Cuéllar, Patrice Derrington, Florian Hertweck, Forbes Massie, Andrew Saint, Davide Spina, and Alexia Yates.