Type-Topia is a city defined by its monuments and civic institutions. Seven of Khoury Levit Fong’s projects form the mental geography of a cityscape recognized through its iconic artefacts. The intimate and personal experiences of Type-topia’s citizenry thread through the collective figures formed by the architecture of the city’s civic institutions and monuments. While, travelers’ are drawn to the city by the charm of these distinctive figures.
Type-topia, the city, is visible here through the use augmented reality programmed into tablets through which the city can be surveyed. The singular iconic status of the totemic buildings through the use of the tablets reveals their role in the urban geography of Type-topia.
The architectural projects in this exhibition were done over the course of 10 years by Khoury Levit Fong. Seven speculative projects from that stretch of time have been here arrayed in a fictitious city— Type-topia. The intent of the exhibition is to call attention to the iconic status of important public spaces and buildings in shaping the identity of cities and producing the locus of their civic realms. By shifting attention away from some of today’s current themes focused on questions of performance the exhibition wishes to underline the role that buildings play as a geography of monuments that are touchstones to urban experience and that forgotten term “locus genii.”
Rodolphe el-Khoury is Dean of the University of Miami School of Architecture. Trained as both a historian and a designer, he divides his time between scholarship, research, and practice. He is the author of numerous books on architecture and urbanism, including See Through Ledoux; Architecture Theatre, and the Pursuit of Transparency; Monolithic Architecture; and Figures: Essays on Contemporary Architecture. el-Khoury’s leads RAD-UM, a research lab for embedded technology and robotics aiming at enhancing responsiveness and resilience in buildings and smart cities. The work of his firm, Khoury Levit Fong (KLF), has won international awards.
El-Khoury’s work has been featured in national and international media outlets that cut across disciplines ranging from WIRED Magazine to the Wall Street Journal to the Space Channel to BBC World. He has shared his work through teaching, visiting professorships and lectures at dozens of institutions in the U.S. and abroad.
Robert Levit has been the Director of the Master of Architecture Program, the Director of the Master of Urban Design Program, and Associate Dean at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture at the University of Toronto. His research and practice spans scales from architecture to urbanism and has explored the relationship between large scale questions of urban density and growth, and urban and architectural form. His design and teaching has looked at relationships between form and structure.
Levit’s architectural criticism has appeared in numerous journals, magazines, and been included in anthologies of contemporary criticism including The Return of Nature: Sustaining Architecture in the Face of Sustainability; Narrating Architecture: A Retrospective Anthology; The New Architectural Pragmatism: A Harvard Design Magazine Reader; Lightfall: Genealogy of a Museum: Paul and Herta Amir Building, Tel Aviv Museum of Art; His design work with Khoury Levit Fong, in which he is founding partner has been the winner of international awards and been featured in blogs, journals, and newspapers and most recently in the book Infrastructural Urbanism.
Khoury Levit Fong, founded in 2006 brings together three partners with diverse professional and academic backgrounds to align cutting-edge research with innovative practice: Rodolphe el-Khoury, Robert Levit, and Steven Fong. Because the practice ranges in the scale of its design activities from urban design to the details of architecture, KLF is able to envision and coordinate the synergies that occur across all scales of the built environment. The firm has gained international recognition for award-winning projects that balance the everyday needs of individuals with the collective identity and vision of institutions. The double commitment showcased in “Monuments + Bits,” a solo exhibition at the Eric Arthur Gallery featuring projects that “operate at the real scale of urban culture, and help make it livable,” as stated in John Bentley Mays’ review in the Globe and Mail. The shared fundamental commitment of KLF’s partners is to the communal aspects of architecture, to the role and potential of buildings and institutions in a wide social and cultural context. The partners’ work in diverse urban environments from Los Angeles to Shanghai gives them a broad perspective on design possibilities and they bring decades of experience to the development of award winning projects that capitalize on new technology as much as the environmental intelligence sedimented in traditional building types and construction techniques.