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The Humanities Project

Bending: UNESCO House and the Architecture of Mediocracy

patrimonyDespite being collaboratively designed by eight of the most famous modern architects of the mid-20th Century, the UNESCO House complex in Paris became known as a “cliché” as soon as it was built in 1958. This lecture revisits the intrigue of its design—the protracted site negotiations, the sketch-by-sketch refinement of its Y-shaped plan, the struggle to define UNESCO’s core mission, and the connection with contemporaneous heritage projects—through the lens of “bending”, a new formal attitude that characterizes both the building and its architects.

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Sponsored by the Humanities Project, a program of the University of Rochester Humanities Center.