The Anthropocene Style Symposium: Architecture, Urgency, and Climate Change

Join us to imagine a new architecture for a transforming planet.

Photo by Alain Dupuy, CCA.

Event Details


SFAI | Osher Lecture Hall
800 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, California 94131 United States


April 28, 2018 from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-08:00)


Free, registration required

SFAI and swissnex San Francisco, together with Philippe Rahm, are co-hosting a festival of ideas to consider a design era specific to the Anthropocene.

Beginning from the belief that architecture, and our comfort within buildings, has accelerated climate change, Rahm has proposed a new decorative style that embraces the urgency of climate change. Across disciplines and from multiple perspectives, this event convenes artists, critics, and theorists to propose alternate futures for materials, the built environment, and human longevity on this planet.


12:00pm        Exhibition walkthrough with Philippe Rahm and Hesse McGraw
12:30pm        Welcome address
12:45pm        Short presentations: session one
2:00pm          Short presentations: session two
3:00pm          Panel discussion and Q&A
3:45pm          Closing remarks
4:00pm          Reception


Philippe Rahm: The Anthropocene Style is the first United States exhibition of internationally renowned Paris-based Swiss artist and architect Philippe Rahm. The exhibition manifests Rahm’s ideas surrounding the urgency of climate change through an architecture and design process that takes climate, atmosphere, and physiology as its primary material.

This exhibition runs in parallel with The Effusivity Pool, a show by Philippe Rahm architects, currently on view at the Instituto Svizzero in Milan, Italy. In 2018, a book surveying Rahm’s work over the past decade will be published by Lars Müller and include both exhibitions in San Francisco and Milan.


David Gissen

David Gissen is a historian, theorist, curator and critic whose work examines histories and theories of architecture, landscapes, environments and cities, primarily in the 19th and 20th century. His recent work focuses on developing experimental forms of historical practice, writing, and translation to depict the spaces, environments, and landscapes of the past. His curatorial and experimental historical work has been staged at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, The National Building Museum, Yale Architecture Gallery, Maryland Institute College of Art, Toronto Free Gallery, The Museum of the City of New York, Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and the Nevada Museum of Art. He is the author of the books Manhattan Atmospheres: Architecture, The Interior Environment and Urban Crisis (University of Minnesota Press, 2014) and Subnature: Architecture’s Other Environments (Princeton Architectural Press, 2009), editor of the “Territory” issue of AD Journal (2010) and the book Big and Green (Princeton Architectural Press, 2003).

Janette Kim

Janette Kim’s work focuses on design and ecology in relationship to public representation, interest, and debate. Janette is assistant professor of architecture and co-director of the Urban Works Agency at California College of the Arts, founding principal of the design practice All of the Above, and founding editor of ARPA Journal. Her projects include designs for the Oakland Coliseum neighborhood as part of the Resilient by Design Challenge, the Safari tours on urban ecology, the Pinterest Headquarters on 7th and Brannan, National AIDS Memorial, and the Fall Kill Creek Master Plan. Janette is also author of The Underdome Guide to Energy Reform.

Maria Paz Gutierrez

Maria Paz Gutierrez, Associate Professor of Architecture at UC Berkeley, is an architect and researcher focused on nature and multifunctional material organizations and 21st century environmental and socioeconomic challenges. In 2008, she founded BIOMS an interdisciplinary research initiative intersecting architecture and science pioneering methods to integrate principles of design and biophysics from the nano to the building scale in contexts of risk. Her recent research focuses on exploring the biophysical and cultural implication of functional natural materials and agricultural waste (mainly gels and fibers) through multiscale digital fabrication and material computation. Gutierrez is the recipient of various prestigious research grants from leading scientific organizations including the US National Science Foundation.

Hesse McGraw

Hesse McGraw is a partner at el dorado, and Vice President for Exhibitions and Public Programs at the San Francisco Art Institute. A curator and writer, Hesse previously worked at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska, where he has been Chief Curator since 2008. He has most recently served as Vice President for Exhibitions and Public Programs at San Francisco Art Institute and previously as Chief Curator at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, Nebraska; Associate Director at Max Protetch, New York; and as Founding Director and Curator of Paragraph. His curatorial practice and arts organization leadership are acclaimed for shifting organizations into springboards that strengthen the agency of artists across diverse cultural contexts.

Philippe Rahm

Philippe Rahm is a Swiss architect and the founder and principal of Philippe Rahm architectes, based in Paris, France. His work, which extends the field of architecture from the physiological to the meteorological, has received an international audience in the context of sustainability. In Venice, Rahm represented Switzerland at the 8th Architecture Biennale (2002) and was included in Aaron Betsky’s exhibition Out There: Architecture Beyond Building (2008). He has participated in a number of exhibitions worldwide including Centre Pompidou, Paris; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal; Manifesta 7; and more.

Phil Ross

As an artist, Phil Ross has exhibited work at the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Jurassic Technology; as a bioengineering scholar at Stanford University, he’s working to develop an internet of biological things. He’s also co-founder and CTO of MycoWorks, a start-up that turns mycelium (the threadlike, vegetative part of mushrooms) into building bricks and leather — where he’s poised to revolutionize the materials industry with bio-design.

Martino Stierli

Martino Stierli is Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at The Museum of Modern Art New York, a role he assumed in March 2015. Mr. Stierli oversees the wide-ranging program of special exhibitions, installations, and acquisitions of the Department of Architecture and Design. As the Swiss National Science Foundation Professor at the University of Zurich’s Institute of Art History, Mr. Stierli focused his research on architecture and media. His project The Architecture of Hedonism: Three Villas in the Island of Capri was included in the 14th Architecture Biennale in Venice. He has organized and co-curated exhibitions on a variety of topics, including the international traveling exhibition Las Vegas Studio: Images from the Archives of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown (2008–14).


Feature image: View of Philippe Rahm: The Anthropocene Style, Walter and McBean Galleries, San Francisco Art Institute, 2018. Photography: Perrine Huber