Lecture by Alison Fisher
November 11, 2014


Alvin Boyarsky, Chicago à la Carte: The City as Energy System, Architectural Design, December 1970. Courtesy of the Alvin Boyarsky Archive, London. © Wiley/Architectural Design


Tuesday November 11, 2014. Doors open at 6 pm.


The third talk of our fall series is by Alison Fisher. The lecture will take place on Tuesday, November 11 at the International Museum of Surgical Science.

Alison Fisher is an assistant curator of architecture and design at the Art Institute of Chicago. Since joining the museum, she has curated many exhibitions including the retrospective Bertrand Goldberg: Architecture of Invention (2011–12), and the current exhibition The City Lost and Found: Capturing New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, which will travel to the Princeton University Art Museum in 2015. She completed her PhD in Art and Architectural History at Northwestern University and her research often focuses on issues of late modern architecture, housing, and urbanism in the United States and Europe. She is the local chair for the 2015 national conference of the Society of Architectural Historians in Chicago.

In her talk, titled “The Contextual Megastructure: Design after Urban Renewal,” Alison will discuss the architectural and planning implications of the return to the historical street and neighborhood as critical models during the 1960s and 1970s, as explored in the Art Institute exhibition The City Lost and Found. Through case studies in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, she will discuss the work of architects who attempted to repair the city and correct earlier models of urban planning and design using an unlikely model, the megastructure. Although contemporary criticism, like Reyner Banham’s 1976 book Megastructure, often dismissed the genre as bombastic and retrograde, she argues for a new understanding of these late megastructural developments as bold refusals to abandon the political and social project of cities.


The event will take place at the International Museum of Surgical Science, located in a historic lakeside mansion constructed in 1917 under the careful direction of Eleanor Robinson Countiss to house her family. Her father, an executive of the Diamond Match Company, generously provided the home building fund. One of the few remaining lakefront mansions, and the only one open to the public, the building received historic status in 1988, and is listed in the National Register and the Illinois Register of Historic Places and is a City of Chicago Landmark.

This talk is done in collaboration with the Society of Architectural Historians. To learn more about the organization, please visit www.sah.org.


What: Lecture by Alison Fisher
When: Tuesday November 11, 2014. Doors open at 6 pm. Lecture starts at 6:30 pm.
Where: International Museum of Surgical Science – 1524 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60610 (Clark/Division Stop Red Line)(151 Bus)
Cost: $10 suggested donation at the door. Includes wine.
Registration: Yes as space is limited.

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