A History of Futures Past: Morphosis, Diamond Ranch and the Architecture of Weightlessness

Andrew Walters

This is a joint-lecture with Isle of Architecture. To find out what else is happening, and how you can get involved, visit the Isle of Architecture website and Facebook page.

Part of an ongoing doctoral project, this lecture will ask the complex and yet glaringly obvious question: why do we build the things we do?

Focusing on the phenomena of the ‘architecture of weightlessness’ – defined as the visible defiance of gravity in late 20th and early 21st century architectural design – we will, in the course of our short (I promise) journey, endeavour to understand three crucial things; (1) The role of the individual in the imagining of such weightless objects, (2) the way in which such objects come to be physically created, and (3) the meaning with which such objects are imbued throughout the process. In so doing we shall hope to come to an appreciation of, and be able to venture an answer to the driving question, why?

To understand the crucial aspects of the architecture of weightlessness, we will set ourselves against the broader backdrop of a wider, (not too) philosophical investigation. Our trajectory will challenge contemporary theories about human agency, about the role and strength of the architect in modern practice, and finally about the importance (or lack thereof) of the relationship between the client and the architect at the highest echelons of architectural endeavour.

Finally – all the architects in the room having long since left to collect their pitchforks – we will come, at last, to rest on an interpretation of one specific weightless object – Diamond Ranch High School in Pomona California – which will be dependent on our challenges to modern theory, and which is also, crucially, rooted in visions of the future that have long since passed into history.

Diamond Ranch High School - Photo Credit: US Library of Congress, Highsmith Archive; Carol Highsmith

Andrew Walters BA MA (Hull)

Andrew Walters is a final year doctoral student at the University of Hull. He holds both an undergraduate and a postgraduate degree in theology. His current research focuses on the philosophy of Paul Ricoeur, phenomenology and finally the architecture of weightlessness, the titular subject of his dissertation. Andrew has recently moved to the Isle of Man with his wife Kay, and their one eyed cat Nick Furry.

This lecture is part of a series of History & Heritage lectures run by University College Isle of Man. Andrew Walters’ lecture will take place from 6pm-7pm in the Lecture Theatre at Elmwood House on 28 June 2017. For directions to Elmwood House, please download this map.

All are welcome to attend the lecture, and no booking is required.

2016-17 History & Heritage Lecture Series