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Symposium Keynotes


Liam Young
is an Australian born architect who operates in the spaces between design, fiction and futures. He is founder of the think tank Tomorrows Thoughts Today, a group whose work explores the possibilities of fantastic, speculative and imaginary urbanisms. Building his design fictions from the realities of present Young also co runs the Unknown Fields Division, a nomadic research studio that travels on location shoots and expeditions to the ends of the earth to document emerging trends and uncover the weak signals of possible futures. He has been acclaimed in both mainstream and architectural media, including the BBC, NBC, Wired, Guardian, Time Magazine, and Dazed and Confused and his work has been collected by institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum. He has taught internationally including the Architectural Association and Princeton University and now runs an MA in Fiction and Entertainment at SciArc. Liam manages his time between exploring distant landscapes and visualising the fictional worlds he extrapolates from them.


David Gissen
is a historian and theorist with a specialty in environmental histories of American and European architecture, landscape architecture, and urbanism in the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition to writing works of history and theory, David is committed to exploring alternative and experimental methods of documenting and reconstructing historical environments, spaces and objects, and often turns to digital tools and processes in these efforts. David 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), and editor of the “Territory” issue of AD Journal (2010). He is a Professor at the California College of the Arts, and has been a visiting professor in the History Theory and Criticism of Art and Architecture, at MIT and the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University.

Symposium Speakers

Ellie Abrons is a principal of T+E+A+M and an Assistant Professor at the Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning. Recently, T+E+A+M won the 2017 Adrian Smith Prize for the Ragdale Ring, was commissioned to exhibit work in the Chicago Architecture Biennial, and built an installation in San Francisco for CCA’s Designing For Material Innovation exhibit.

Bradley Cantrell is a landscape architect and scholar whose work focuses on the role of computation and media in environmental and ecological design. He received a BSLA from the University of Kentucky and an MLA from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He is the Chair of Landscape at the University of Virginia School of Architecture and has held academic appointments at Harvard GSD, RISD, and LSU's Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture.

Lindsey french is an artist whose work engages in gestures of sensual and mediated communication with landscapes and the nonhuman. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Departments of Art and Technology Studies and Contemporary Practices.

Rania Ghosn is partner of Design Earth and Assistant Professor at MIT School of Architecture + Planning. She holds a doctor of design degree from Harvard GSD. Ghosn is editor-in-chief of New Geographies 2: Landscapes of Energy and co-author of Geographies of Trash and Two Cosmograms.

Christopher Hight is an Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies at the Rice University School of Architecture, where he is pursuing design and research on social, natural and subjective ecologies within the built environment. He has been a Fulbright Scholar and obtained a Masters from the Architectural Association, and a Ph.D. from the London Consortium at the University of London. His book, Architectural Principles in the Age of Cybernetics (2008), explored modern architecture’s contested humanism.

El Hadi Jazairy is partner of Design Earth and Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan. He holds a doctor of design degree from Harvard GSD. Jazairy is editor-in-chief of New Geographies 4: Scales of the Earth and co-author of Geographies of Trash and Two Cosmograms.

Lydia Kallipoliti is an architect, engineer and scholar, currently an Assistant Professor of Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Center for Architecture, Science and Ecology in New York. She is the founder of ANAcycle thinktank and the author of Closed Worlds, Or, What is the Power of Shit for which she received the ACSA award for creative achievement.

Sean Lally is the author of the book The Air from Other Planets: A Brief History of Architecture to Come (2014).  He is the host of the podcast ‘Night White Skies’ and is currently Associate Professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Mark Lindquist ASLA, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan. Mark’s research and teaching focus on the design and evaluation of high performance landscapes with an emphasis on multifunctional green infrastructure in urban areas. He is particularly interested in understanding how engaging with computation and data can transform the design process and decision making.

Meredith L. Miller is an architect and Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. She is currently developing an award-winning research project called Post Rock. She is a founding member of T+E+A+M.

Ricardo de Ostos creates speculative fictions that envision architectural projects in shifting environmental and cultural contexts. He lives, works and teaches in London at both, the Architectural Association and The Bartlett School of Architecture. He is the co-director of NaJa & deOstos studio and co-author of 'The Hanging Cemetery of Baghdad' (Springer Wien/New York, 2006) 'Ambiguous Spaces' (Princeton Press, 2007) and 'Scavengers and Other Creatures in Promised Lands' (fall 2017, AA).

Jennifer Peeples is a Full Professor at Utah State University.  Her work is in environmental rhetoric with a focus on the visual construction of toxicity.  Her research has earned Book of the Year from the Environmental Communication Division of the National Communication Association (2016) and the Christine L. Oravec Research Award in Environmental Communication (2011 & 2014).

Alessandra Ponte is a Full Professor at the École d’architecture, Université de Montréal. She has taught at Princeton University, Cornell University, Pratt Institute New York, the ETH Zurich, and at the IUAV Venice. Since 2008 she has been responsible for organizing the annual Phyllis Lambert Seminar. She has published extensively including a collection of essays on North American landscapes titled The House of Light and Entropy (2014). She contributed to the Canadian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale Architecture in 2014 (Arctic Adaptations) and 2016 (Extraction).

Symposium Schedule

Ambiguous Territory Symposium

October 5th – 6th 2017
University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
Free and open to the public

Thursday October 5th

5:00pm Ambiguous Territory Exhibition Reception
(Taubman College Gallery)
6:00pm Keynote Lecture: Liam Young
(Art + Architecture Auditorium)


Friday October 6th (all events occuring in The Commons)

9:00am Coffee
9:30am Welcome: Dean Jonathan Massey
Introductory Remarks: Associate Dean of Research and Creative Practice Geoffrey Thün
Symposium Introduction: Kathy Velikov
10:00am Atmospheric Mediations Panel
Introduction: Kathy Velikov
Speaker 1: Christopher Hight
Speaker 2: Lydia Kallipoliti
Speaker 3: Sean Lally
Respondent: Meredith Miller
Roundtable Discussion
12:00pm Lunch Break (lunch not provided)
1:00pm Biologic Mediations Panel
Introduction: David Salomon
Speaker 1: Jennifer Peeples
Speaker 2: Linsdey french
Speaker 3: Ricardo de Ostos
Respondent: Ellie Abrons
Roundtable Discussion
3:00pm Coffee Break
3:30pm Geologic Mediations Panel
Introduction: Cathryn Dwyre and Chris Perry
Speaker 1: Alessandra Ponte
Speaker 2: Bradley Cantrell
Speaker 3: Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy
Respondent: Mark Lindquist
Roundtable Discussion
5:30pm Break
6:00pm Keynote Lecture: David Gissen


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