Architecture necessarily relies on repetition and appropriation, but at what point is the originality or authenticity of the architectural work foreclosed by copying; where is the line drawn? How does the law, particularly copyright law, define the limits of architectural production and innovation? Please join us for a conversation between architects, preservationists, and historians about the value of originality vs. reproduction, whether the two are necessarily opposed, and where the embodied aspects of the law help to draw a distinction between the two. This evening will also be a special reception for the journal Future Anterior, volume 12, devoted to copying and copyrights.

This program is part of a series of conversations related to Un/Fair Usean exhibition of research and proposals related to copying and copyright in architecture. Appropriation is as much a part of architecture as the expectation of novelty, and so it is at the very core of the discipline. Architecture advances via comment, criticism, parody, and innovation, forms of appropriation that fall under the umbrella of fair use. But what about when appropriation is deemed unfair? Where and how are the lines drawn around permissible use? Un/fair Use probes that legal boundary.


  • Sarah Hirschman, Curator, Un/Fair Use, Lecturer in Architecture, College of Environmental Design, University of California Berkeley
  • Ana Miljački, Curator, Un/Fair Use, Associate Professor, MIT Architecture
  • Jorge Otero-Pailos, Associate Professor of Historic Preservation, GSAPP, Columbia University, Founder and Editor Future Anterior.
  • Amanda Reeser Lawrence, Assistant Professor, Northeastern University
  • Florian Idenburg, Principal, SO-IL