Reworking Architecture

A conversation about architecture's lack of labor consciousness and architecture's place in activism


Organizing Institutions

Slought, The Architecture Lobby


Peggy Deamer


The Architect's Newspaper

Process initiated


Opens to public





4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

On the web



0% Formal - 100% Informal

Slought and the Architecture Lobby are pleased to announce the premiere of (Re)Working Architecture, a video documenting a performance event organized by the Architecture Lobby with scenes, real and absurd, of architectural practice, on Friday, May 20, 2016 at 6:30pm. The unveiling of the film will be followed by a panel discussion addressing both architecture's lack of labor consciousness and its ability to learn from art activism.

Filmed by Mass Ornament, an award winning video art practice, in October 2015 at the Co-Prosperity Sphere in an event parallel to the Chicago Biennial, the scenes have their origin in the Architecture Lobby's 10-point manifesto demanding better labor practices in and changed structures for architecture. The premiere of (Re)Working Architecture corresponds to and parallels the AIA National's Annual Convention in Philadelphia over the same weekend.

The Architecture Lobby is an organization of architectural workers advocating for the value of architecture in the general public and for architectural work within the discipline. It believes that the work architects do – aesthetic, technical, social, organizational, environmental, administrative, fiduciary – needs structural change to be more rewarding and more socially relevant. As long as architecture tolerates abusive practices in the office and the construction site, it cannot insist on its role in and for the public good.

This evening will be the first time that members of the public, the Architecture Lobby, and the art community come together to debate architecture's place in experimental activism. (Re)Working Architecture takes lessons from Theatre of the Oppressed and, having no sustained tradition of labor protest in its own field, looks to art for new models. At the same time, there are surely limits to how effective this usurping of art models is. What do artists and architects have in common in the current neoliberal context? Likewise, what are the limits to and potential for professional cooperation outside the boundaries of a professional organization like the AIA?

These are the issues at stake in the Slought forum where panelists Daniel Barber, Barrie Cline, and Damon Rich will join members of the Architecture Lobby - Peggy Deamer, Keefer Dunn, and Quilian Riano - to discuss architectural protest, labor, and relevance. Join us Friday, May 20, 6:30-8:00 to begin a conversation to reimagine architecture as a practice that is fair, socially motivated, and societally responsible.

read more

Barrie Cline is an artist who teaches public art to construction workers at the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies where she is also a Kelber Fellow. In 2014 she co-founded the Workers Art Coalition, a group made up of primarily building trades people who collaborate on art and movement building projects in public space.

Quilian Riano is an architectural and urban designer, researcher, writer, and educator working out of Brooklyn, New York. Quilian is the founder and principal of DSGN AGNC, a collaborative design/research studio exploring political engagement through architecture, urbanism and art.

Peggy Deamer is a practicing architect in New York, a professor at Yale School of Architecture, and the founding member of the Architecture Lobby. She is the editor of Architecture and Capitalism: 1845-Present and The Architect as Worker: Immaterial Labor, the Creative Class and the Politics of Design.

Daniel A. Barber's historical research examines the role of architecture in the emergence of global environmental culture. His book A House in the Sun: Modern Architecture and Solar Energy in the Cold War will be published in October by Oxford University Press.

Damon Rich is an urban designer, planner, and partner at Hector. He has recently designed a riverfront park, a set of citywide zoning and land use regulations, and a memorial for an eco-feminist nun.

Keefer Dunn is a recent graduate of IIT's M. Arch program who currently works as an educator, writer, and designer in Chicago, Illinois. He co-founded the Chicago chapter of the Architecture Lobby in 2014, bringing with him a background in political activism and labor politics.