In honor of the republication of two works by Mary Otis Stevens (MIT Alumni, SBArch’56), there will be an initial launch at SALT Instanbul on Thursday, September 15.
SALT is hosting a talk and book launch of the two significant i Press (1968-1978) titles, which have been out of print for decades: The Ideal Communist City and World of Variation. Originally published as part of the i Press Series on the Human Environment, founded by American architects Mary Otis Stevens and Thomas McNulty, these seminal volumes situate the fields of architecture and urban design within questions of social, political, and cultural practices, as well as emerging discourses around environment and globalization.
The first of the series published by i Press under the thematic umbrella of “Human Environment,” The Ideal Communist City (1969) is an English translation of urban concepts advanced by architects and planners from the University of Moscow. The book was first published in a Soviet journal of a communist youth organization in 1960 and was then republished in Italy in 1968. Offering a new perspective on mobility, equity and social interaction in neighborhood planning, the publication was a direct response to suburban development and its focus on private spaces, presenting a utopian proposition that “the new city is a world belonging to all and each.”In World of Variation (1970), Stevens and McNulty outlined a radical re-envisioning of socio-spatial relationships, informed by their background in philosophy and commitment to decentralizing hierarchies. Writing in the context of the Cold War and the political activism of 1960s America, they identified possible design solutions to then-current social issues. In striking abstract drawings, Stevens visualized aspects of the urban environment, proposing a design philosophy she termed “free flow.” These diagrams give expression to both the “flow” of movement and points of “hesitations.” Program 17.30 Introduction: Ute Meta Bauer, Pelin Tan, Karin Oen, Kirsten Weiss 18.00 Talk: Mary Otis Stevens 18.15 Guest Speakers: Hayriye Sözen, Neşe Gurallar, Ana Miljacki, Beatriz Colomina, Mark Wigley This event will be held in English.