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Michael Sorkin Prize Lecture Series

in Critical Theory and Architectural Practice


BICAR will inaugurate our annual, Michael Sorkin Prize Lecture Series in Critical Theory and Architectural Practice, with Joan Copjec introducing the award and lectureship, and Faisal Devji orchestrating critical historical discussion and audience participation.


Each year, Copjec and Devji will select two committee members to work with them to award the Sorkin prize to an innovative international architect tacking between critical theory and built form. The recipient will deliver BICAR’s annual ‘Sorkin Lectures’ and receive a cash prize.

Michael Sorkin (1948 — 2020)

Michael Sorkin was the principal and founder of Michael Sorkin Studio. His practice and work spanned design, criticism, and pedagogy.

From 2000, Sorkin was Distinguished Professor of Architecture and Director of the Graduate Program in Urban Design at City College of New York. His previous academic engagements included Professor of Urbanism and Director of the Institute of Urbanism at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, Gensler Chair at Cornell University, Hyde Chair in Nebraska University, Saarinen Chair in the University of Michigan, Gilbert Chair in the University of Michigan, both the Davenport and Bishop Chair at Yale University, and professorships at the Architectural Association, Cooper Union, Harvard University, and Columbia University.

Sorkin was architecture critic for The Nation, contributing editor at Architectural Record, and author or editor of more than twenty books. These include Variations on a Theme Park, Exquisite Corpse, Local Code, Giving Ground (edited with Joan Copjec), Michael Sorkin Studio: Wiggle (Works in Progress), Some Assembly Required, Other Plans, The Next Jerusalem, After The Trade Center (edited with Sharon Zukin), Starting From Zero, Analyzing Ambasz, Against the Wall, Indefensible Space, New Orleans Under Reconstruction (edited with Carol Reese and Anthony Fontenot), All Over the Map, and Twenty Minutes in Manhattan.

In 2005, Sorkin founded Terreform and was its president. He was editor-in-chief of its imprint, UR (Urban Research), which was launched in 2015. He was on the board of several civic and professional organizations such as Urban Design Forum (Vice President) and the Architectural League of New York (Director). He was also a member of the International Committee of Architectural Critics.

Sorkin had been the recipient of several fellowships and awards. His latest awards included 'Design Mind' from the National Design Award in 2013 and Fellow in the field of architecture planning and design from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation in 2015.


Faisal Devji has held faculty positions at the New School in New York, Yale University and the University of Chicago, from where he also received his PhD in Intellectual History. Devji was Junior Fellow at the Society of Fellows, Harvard University, and Head of Graduate Studies at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London, from where he directed post-graduate courses in the Near East and Central Asia. He is a Fellow at New York University’s Institute of Public Knowledge and Yves Otramane Chair at the Graduate Institute in Geneva. He is interested in Indian political thought as well as that of modern Islam. Devji’s broader concerns have to do with ethics and violence in a globalized world.

Joan Copjec is Professor of Modern Media and Culture at Brown University. Until recently she was the Director of the Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture at the University of Buffalo and executive editor of its Lacanian journal, Umbr(a). She is the author of Read My Desire: Lacan against the Historicists (1994(; Imagine There's No Woman: Ethics and Sublimation (2002); and of the forthcoming Cloud: Between Paris and Tehran. She has also edited a number of books, including Jacques Lacan's Television (1990); Shades of Noir (1993); Supposing the Subject (1994); Radical Evil (1996); and Giving Ground: The Politics of Propinquity (1999).

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