Why Architecture Belongs in the Museum: Giovanna Borasi


Wednesday, March 3, 2021, 5:00pm to 6:00pm

For a recording of this event, click here.

Speaker: Giovanna Borasi, Director, Canadian Center for Architecture 
Moderated by: Patricio del Real, Assistant Professor of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University

This conversation series is part of Curating Architecture Across the Americas (CAAA), an initiative that brings together institutions, curators, and scholars to discuss the role of architecture exhibitions and collections in the expanding world of curatorial practices and cultural debates. The series is run in parallel with the course Architecture in the “museum” a transnational seminar ran simultaneously by three institutions: Harvard University, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, each led by local faculty members.

Architect, editor, and curator, Giovanna Borasi joined the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in 2005, first as Curator, Contemporary Architecture (2005-10), then as Chief Curator (2014-19). She has been Director of the CCA since January 2020. Borasi’s work explores alternative ways of practicing and evaluating architecture, considering the impact of contemporary environmental, political, and social issues on urbanism and the built environment. She studied architecture at the Politecnico di Milano, worked as an editor of Lotus International (1998–2005) and Lotus Navigator (2000–2004) and was Deputy Editor in Chief of Abitare (2011–2013). Borasi’s latest curatorial project is a three-part documentary film series that considers changing definitions of home and homelessness as a result of urban and economic pressures. The first iteration, What it takes to make a home, premiered last year in New York and will continue circulating at film festivals worldwide. In February, it was screened at the 58th Commission for Social Development at the United Nations Headquarters.

Patricio del Real works on modern architecture and its transnational connections with a focus on the Americas. His forthcoming book: Inventing Latin American Architecture: Culture, Politics, and Race at the Museum of Modern Art, examines multiple architecture exhibitions and MoMA as a cultural weapon. It looks at its Department of Architecture and Design as its curators navigated the treacherous politics of Pan Americanism and the cultural conflicts of the second postwar era to secure its survival. Del Real co-edited the anthology, Latin American Modern Architectures: Ambiguous Territories (Routledge, 2012); was Visiting Associate Research Scholar in the Program of Latin American Studies at Princeton University, and worked in the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art on several exhibitions, co-curating "Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980," which received the 2017 Philip Johnson Exhibition Catalogue Award, recognizing excellence of architectural history scholarship in exhibition catalogues. Del Real holds a PhD in Architecture History and Theory from Columbia University and a Master of Architecture from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

Presented in collaboration with Harvard Department of History of Art and Architecture