Dr Adam Kaasa
School of Architecture
Adam Kaasa is an interdisciplinary scholar who specialises in the politics of the city, foregrounding the role of architecture and design. He completed his PhD as a SSHRC Scholar at the London School of Economics and is currently a Research Fellow in Architecture at the Royal College of Art. He is also a founding Fellow of Theatrum Mundi. His research and teaching interests include critical and urban theory to consider public space, the postcolonial and negotiations of capital in late modernity, as they touch ground in the practices of architecture.
Adam Kaasa is a Research Fellow in Architecture at the RCA on the three-year AHRC-FAPESP project, ‘Public Spaces and the role of the Architect – a comparative study of influential Modernist and contemporary examples in London and Sao Paulo’.Show more
As an SSHRC Scholar, he completed his PhD in Sociology on the Cities Programme at the London School of Economics. His specific focus was the practices of modern architecture and urbanism in post-war Mexico City. He also has an MSc in Cities, Space and Society from the LSE, and a BA (Hons) in Sociology from the University of Alberta, Canada. He is a founding Fellow of Theatrum Mundi with Professor Richard Sennett; this international urban forum brings together urban practitioners with people from the performing and visual arts.
Adam Kaasa co-edited (with Gassner and Robinson) Writing Cities 2 (2012), a joint project between the LSE, MIT School of Architecture + Planning, the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Harvard Law School. He has published articles in Architectural Design, New Geographies, The Graduate Journal of Social Sciences and All That Is Common, and has book chapters in Stories of Cosmopolitan Belonging (2014) and Living in the Endless City (2011).
He was a Visiting Lecturer at Middlesex University (2012–13), taught social theory and methods at the LSE (2008–12) and cultural and urban theory at Tate (2014). He has lectured at and coordinated events with the London Festival of Architecture, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, the Venice Biennale, the Architectural Association, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Southbank Centre, the São Paulo Architecture Biennale and the Museu Oscar Niemeyer in Curitiba.
Between 2007 and 2012, he coordinated the NYLON seminars and conferences, fostering a transatlantic intellectual working group between universities in London, New York and Berlin. Previously he worked on several international development projects in Guyana, Mexico and Sri Lanka. He is an Associate of Trinity College London in Speech and Drama, and a founding member of the research and art collective When We Build Again.
Adam grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, once home to the largest mall in the world, but now lives in London.
Adam is a founding Fellow of Theatrum Mundi with Professor Richard Sennett; this is an international urban forum that brings together urban practitioners with people from the performing and visual arts. He is also a founding member of When We Build Again, a transatlantic repository for discourse and creativity.Show more
Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes
Gassner, G., Kaasa, A., Robinson, K. (eds) (2012) Writing Cities 2., London: London School of Economics and Political Science, in collaboration with the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Harvard Graduate School of Design and Harvard Law School
Kaasa, A. (forthcoming 2018) ‘Claiming architecture, or, how we come to think of architecture as some “thing”’ In eds. Karen Engle and Yoke-Sum Wong, Feelings of Structure, McGill-Queen's University Press: Montreal.
Kaasa, A. (forthcoming 2017) ‘Against Porosity, Against the Crowd: Walking the Complex City’ in eds. Joseph Jasper-Lester and Roberto Bottazzi Walking Cities: London
Kaasa, A. (2014) 'Revolutionary Affect: Feeling Modern in Mexico City', in: Emma Jackson and Hannah Jones (eds), Stories of cosmopolitan belonging: Emotion and Location, London: Routledge
Kaasa, A. (2012) 'Appearing In or Out of Time: Temporal Rhetoric in Mexico City Modern', in: Gunter Gassner, Adam Kaasa and Katherine Robinson (eds), Writing Cities 2., London: London School of Economics and Political Science, 74–87
Gassner, G., Kaasa, A., Robinson, K. (2012) 'Introduction: The Process of Writing Cities 2011', in: Gunter Gassner, Adam Kaasa and Katherine Robinson (eds), Writing Cities 2., London: London School of Economics and Political Science, 12–15
Kaasa, A. with Shankar, P. and Rosa M. (2011) 'On the ground', in: Ricky Burdett and Deyan Sudjic (eds), Living in the Endless City, London: Phaidon, 396–411
Kaasa, A. (2014) 'Finding Lost Newness: Archiving the Architecture of Eileen Gray’s E.1027', Drain [forthcoming]
Kaasa, A. (2012) 'The Importance of Being Seen: Surrealism and mimesis in Mexican modern architecture' All That Is Common, 1, 15-19
Tanner, D., Kaasa A. (2011) 'Thinking anew every time: An encounter with Judith Butler', The Graduate Journal of Social Sciences, 8(1), 30–6
Burdett, R., Kaasa, A. (2011) 'Governing Change: The Metropolitan Revolution in Latin America', Architectural Design (Special Issue: Latin America at the Crossroads), 81(3) May/June 2011, 42–51
Burdett, R., Kaasa, A. (2010) 'Color and the City' in ed. Gareth Doherty New Geographies 3: Urbanisms of Color, Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 54–63
Kaasa, A. (2014) 'Review of Cityscapes in History: Creating the Urban Experience by Katrina Gulliver and Heléna Tóth', Planning Perspectives [forthcoming]
Kaasa, A. (2014) 'Review of Team 10: An Archival History by Anne Pedret', Planning Perspectives
Kaasa, A. (2008) 'Newness and Responsibility: Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine', Static: The Journal of the London Consortium, issue 7
Kaasa, A., Blakey, K. (eds) (2014) Beyond the Public, London: Theatrum Mundi
Blakey, K., Kaasa, A. (eds) (2014) Music and Architecture, London: Theatrum Mundi
Burdett, R., Taylor, M., Kaasa, A. (eds) (2011) Cities, Health and Well-being, Urban Age conference publication, LSE Cities, London: London School of Economics and Political Science
Public Speaking Engagements
Organiser and convener, ‘Kapital Architecture: Circulation, Labour, Commodity, Accumulation’, School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art with When We Build Again and Legion TV, part of the London Festival of Architecture, London, June 2014
Organiser and chair, ‘Between Curatorial and Urban Practice’, Theatrum Mundi, LSE Literary Festival, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, 2 March 2013
Invited speaker, ‘Lighting the Future’, Southbank Centre, London, 27 February 2013
Invited chair, ‘Chromazone: Colour and the City’, RIBA, London, 27 November 2012
Co-organiser and speaker, ‘Common Ground: Salutiamo Venezia II’, meeting on Architecture as part of the Finnisage of the Venice Biennale for Architecture with ‘weareherevenice’, Venice Biennale for Architecture, 24 November 2012
Organiser, ‘Common Ground: between Art and Urban Practice’, meeting on Architecture, developing panels ‘Designing for Politics’ and ‘Rethinking the Cultural Centre’, and Chair for ‘Designing for Politics’, Venice Biennale for Architecture, 3 November 2012
Invited speaker, 'Reflections on Living in the Endless City', Museu Oscar Niemeyer, Curitiba, Brazil, 29 November 2011
Invited speaker, ‘Theatrum Mundi: Bridging Stage and Street’, São Paulo Bienal of Architecture, OCA - Ibirapuera Park São Paulo, 27 November 2011
Invited speaker, ‘Reflections on Living in the Endless City’, São Paulo Bienal of Architecture, OCA - Ibirapuera Park São Paulo, 26 November 2011
Invited lecturer, ‘The Architecture of Citizenship: Mexico City in the 20th Century’, Architectural Association, London, 15 October 2011
Exhibition curator, organiser and chair of public symposium, Modern Ruin: Destruction and Creativity in the City, St Philips Exhibition Public Symposium, 11 May 2011
Organiser and Chair of Director’s Q&A, Utopia London, Film Screening and Public Lecture, Urban@LSE, 4 March 2011
Invited panel member, Peru: Exploring Three Current Realities, London Festival of Architecture, 19 June 2010
Invited panel member, ‘Elastic Spaces’, Decolonizing Architecture, The Delfina Foundation, 27 May 2010
Chair, ‘Urban Planning in Jerusalem’, This Is Not A Gateway Festival, 27 October 2009
Conferences, Seminars and Symposia
Co-organiser, speaker on ‘Cities’ and chair of emerging scholar workshops, Cities, Religion, Capitalism: Turning Points for Civilization, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, 3-6 April 2014
‘The Architecture of Legitimacy: Transnational circulation and the making of Mexico City Modern, 1947-64’, American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, 9–13 April 2013
‘Building an urban future: Temporal rhetoric in Mexico City modern’, Workshop on Time and Globalization, Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition, McMaster University, 19-20 October 2012
‘The idioms of architecture: a method to read the limits between texts and buildings’, 5th Annual Writing Cities Conference, MIT-LSE-Harvard Graduate Students Conference, Harvard GSD and MIT, Boston, 10–12 May 2012
Co-organiser and invited respondent, 11th Annual NYLON Project Conference, Graduate School of Social Sciences, Berlin, 12–14 March 2012
Co-organiser and speaker, ‘Distance in time: Temporal rhetoric in Mexico City modernism’, 4th Annual Writing Cities Conference, MIT-LSE-Harvard Graduate Students Conference, LSE with Chisendale Gallery and Zaha Hadid Architects, 19–21 May 2011
Invited respondent, Cultures of Circulation, International Workshop, Carleton University, Ottawa, 15–17 April 2011
Co-organiser and speaker, ‘The Politics of Appearing: Temporality of modern architecture in Mexico City, 1949’, 10th Annual NYLON Project Conference, LSE and Goldsmiths, 1–3 April 2011
‘The Ontology of a Public Sociologist’, LSE Sociology Annual Conference, Cumberland Lodge, 21–23 January 2011
‘Finding Lost Newness: A subject in search of the archive’, 3rd Annual Writing Cities Conference, MIT-LSE-Harvard Graduate Students Conference, MIT and Harvard GSD, 30 September–2 October 2010
‘Modern Movement, Movement Modern: The case of Melchor O’Campo’, Living in the Urban Modernity, Eleventh International Docomomo Conference, UNAM, Mexico City, 24–27 August 2010
Invited Postgraduate Architecture Charette Participant, ‘Glorieta Melchor O’Campo and Docomomo Mexico’, Living in the Urban Modernity, Eleventh International Docomomo Conference, Mexico City, 19–24 August 2010
Co-organiser and moderator of the ‘Built Environment’ panel, Urban@LSE Graduate Students Workshop, London School of Economics, 12 May 2010
Invited respondent, 9th Annual NYLON Project Conference, Institute of Public Knowledge, New York University, 19–21 March 2010
‘Nothingness and Post-Revolutionary Mexico City’; invited panel member, Object-ing Memory and the Visuals of Objectivity I & II; as part of the conference, Visuality / Materiality: Reviewing Theory, Method and Practice, The Royal Institute for British Architects, 9–11 July 2009
‘The Architecture of ‘lo mexicano’: Mario Pani’s Multifamiliare Miguel Alemán and transnational modernism’, Objects of Knowledge/Objects of Exchange: Contours of (Inter)disciplinarity, Mellon Graduate Student Conference, Humanities Center, Harvard University, 3–4 April 2009
Invited respondent, 8th Annual NYLON Project Conference, Cambridge University, 13–15 March 2009
‘Transatlantic Dialogues: The Architecture of Citizenship in Mexico’, Citizenship and governance at the margins of state: LatiAmerica between post-conflict and neo-populism, Roskilde University, Denmark, 2–5 September 2008
‘Multifamiliares: Locating Practice in Mexican Architecture’; invited panel member, Place and Cultural Practices in Latin America; 44th Annual Conference of the Society for Latin American Studies, University of Liverpool, 28–30 March 2008
Awards and Grants
Doctoral Fellowship, Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada (2009–11)This fellowship partially funded my doctoral work on the Cities Programme at the London School of Economics.
- Jane Hall
Adam Kaasa is an urban sociologist and his research asks social and political questions about the city, foregrounding architecture and design. He is particularly interested in the post-war architectural production, in public space and its contemporary transformation, and in architecture as a process beyond built form. He has expertise in Latin America, particularly Mexico and Brazil, and in the UK. Theoretically he is guided by post and de-colonial theories, feminist and queer theories that work against prevailing Eurocentric histories of architecture and those legacies in pedagogy and practice. His work aims to ask questions about the role of architecture and design in an era of acute global inequality, superdiversity and migration, and endemic neoliberal structures of life.
Current and recent research
‘The Architecture of Capital’
This project looks to how architecture and design confronts structures of late neoliberalism.
Looking at how ideas circulate and the power relationships involved.
‘Public Spaces and the role of the Architect - a
comparative study of influential Modernist and contemporary examples in London
and Sao Paulo’
Dates: 2014–2017 (AHRC-FAPESP funded)
Adam’s work as research fellow on this AHRC-FAPESP project involves primary research into the architectural archives of 1960s and 1970s British modernism and contemporary architectural practice, in part to detail a genealogy of ‘public space’ from an architectural perspective. His work feeds into a larger team at the RCA and in São Paulo investigating public spaces and the role of the architect.