Presidential Lecture Series: “Towards a Hybrid Metropolis” – March 30, 2015

The eighth installment of the Presidential Lecture Series, hosted by President John L. Anderson, will be held on Monday, March 30, 2015.

John W. Rowe, IIT Regent, Former Chairman of the Board, and Chairman Emeritus of Exelon Corporation, will introduce the lecture titled: “Towards a Hybrid Metropolis,” presented by Wiel Arets.

Towards a Hybrid Metropolis

Twentieth-century societies witnessed the rise of major technological inventions and innovations such as the car, the plane, the computer, the phone, and the Internet. Whereas those societies experienced the advent of such technological advances as spectacle, since they were then still new, today they are essential components of our modern lives. And they have begun to evolve. Tellingly, yesterday’s car has already become the driverless car; today’s smart phone seems to do nearly anything; and the Internet will only continue to further cast its reach. The human body and the ‘human’ robot will soon coexist; this double will be the new collective.

The metropolis of the twenty-first century is hybrid—it’s connected, automated, and noiseless. Such qualities enable today’s societies, within these hybrid metropolises, to live dualistically: They’re more interconnected, productive, and longer leisured than their predecessors, though capable of the securities that a village once provided.

Discourse around the metropolis is the prime challenge within Arets’s research. His vision as dean is focused on seeking out the boundaries and challenges currently facing us: How will architecture, as part of the metropolis, develop within our extremely exciting and complex world? Architects have to be inventors and storytellers, capable of making, crafting, and foreseeing the unthinkable in thought as constructive pragmatism. The hybrid metropolis should be based on an awareness of both risk and tension, and the creation of a new urban dream.

Monday, March 30, 2015

3:30 p.m. – Lecture, Hermann Hall Ballroom, 3241 South Federal Street

5 p.m. – Reception, Hermann Hall Expo

RSVP here no later than March 23.

Complimentary parking will be available in the A4 (32nd and State Streets) and B5 (32nd and Federal Streets) parking lots.

About the Speaker:

Wiel Arrets

Wiel Arets, an internationally acclaimed architect, educator, industrial designer, theorist, and urbanist known for progressive academic research and hybrid design solutions, has been dean of IIT College of Architecture since 2012. He also holds the Rowe Family College of Architecture Dean Endowed Chair at IIT.

Prior to joining IIT, he was a professor of building planning and design at Berlin University of the Arts. Born and educated in the Netherlands, he received his Master of Science in Architecture from the Technical University of Eindhoven in 1983 and, in the same year, founded Wiel Arets Architects (WAA). WAA has studios in Amsterdam, Maastricht, and Zürich, with numerous projects currently under construction throughout Europe, including the Amsterdam Centraal Station’s IJhal. Additionally, the firm recently completed the A’ House in Tokyo. Earlier projects include the library of Utrecht University, the Academy of Art & Architecture in Maastricht, the Euroborg Stadium in Groningen, and the Hedge House in Wijlre, the Netherlands.

Early in his career, Arets received the Mies van der Rohe Award for Emerging Architects. Awards since then include, most recently, the 2015 Good Design Award for cutlery, which is produced by Alessi, and the 2015 Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award for the Allianz Headquarters in Zürich. Arets served as dean of the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam from 1995–2002, and has been a guest professor at many of the world’s preeminent architecture schools—including the AA London, Columbia University, and Cooper Union. Arets has also served on the Advisory Council of Princeton University since 2003, was president of the jury of the 2012 Venice Biennale of Architecture, was chair of the jury for the 2013 Mies van der Rohe Award, and in 2014 established at IIT College of Architecture the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP), for which he is president of the board.


About the Moderator:


John W. Rowe is chairman emeritus of Exelon Corporation.

He previously held chief executive officer positions at the New England Electric System and Central Maine Power Company, served as general counsel of Consolidated Rail Corporation, and was a partner in the law firm of Isham, Lincoln & Beale. He is the lead independent director of Northern Trust Company and a member of the board of directors of The Allstate Corporation and SunCoke Energy.

Rowe is a university regent on IIT’s Board of Trustees. He is chairman of The Field Museum and the Illinois Holocaust Museum, and serves as a member of the board of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the Morgridge Institute for Research, the Northwestern University Settlement House, and Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

The Rowe Family Trust has founded the Rowe Professorships of Architecture and the Rowe Chair in Sustainable Energy at IIT, the Rowe Professorship in Byzantine History and the Rowe Professorship in Greek History at the University of Wisconsin, the Rowe Professorship in Virology at the Morgridge Institute and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, and the Curator of Evolutionary Biology at The Field Museum. The trust co-founded the Rowe-Clark Math and Science Academy and the Rowe Elementary School. The Rowes serve as patrons of the Pope John Paul II parochial school on Chicago’s southwest side.

Rowe holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Wisconsin, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and the Order of the Coif. He has also received that university’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

John Rowe and his wife, Jeanne, reside in Chicago.

This year IIT will have three lectures to celebrate three great contributions to society by IIT faculty and alumni. This theme coincides with the 125th anniversary of IIT and is part of other celebrations planned by the university. A second talk, on urban architecture (in honor of Mies van der Rohe), will be given by Wiel Arets, the dean of our College of Architecture, at a later time to be announced.

Watch the previous Presidential Lecture Series videos here.