Past Event
Wednesday, October 28
PLAT Roundtable: Re-Committing Architecture

About the Event

On the occasion of the release of 9.0 Commit, PLAT Journal presents a panel discussion with contributors: Walter Benn Michaels, Professor of English, University of Illinois Chicago; Savia Palate, Ph.D. candidate, Cambridge University; Megan Panzano, Assistant Professor and Program Director of Undergraduate Architecture Studies, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, and Design Director, studioPM. The panel will explore the theme of the issue, navigating the nuances of what it means to commit. PLAT editors Sebastián López Cardozo (M.Arch. ’22) and Mai Okimoto (M.Arch. ’22) will moderate.

Walter Benn Michaels writes on literature, politics, and photography. His most recent books are The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality (10th anniversary edition, 2016), and The Beauty of a Social Problem: Photography, Autonomy, Economy (2015). For the last several years he has also been publishing on theory of action and art, sometimes in new artists’ books (e.g. Daniel Shea, Arthur Ou, and the architect Paul Preissner) and often in the online journal, where he also serves on the editorial board. He teaches in the English department at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Savia Palate is an architect and PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge. Her current research, funded by the Vice-Chancellor Award, focuses on the production of official reports on space standards and aims to investigate the complex interplay among housing, the state, and the market. She holds post-graduate degrees from Pennsylvania State University as a Fulbright Scholar and the Architectural Association School of London and. Most recently, she has been the co-editor of Scroope 28: The Cambridge Architecture Journal (June 2019) and convenor of the Martin Centre Seminar Series of the University of Cambridge (2018-2019).

Megan Panzano is Program Director of the Harvard Undergraduate Architecture Studies Track and Assistant Professor of Architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD) where she coordinates and teaches design studios and representation courses in the graduate and undergraduate programs. The award-winning design research and built work of her independent practice, studioPM, addresses architectures across a range of scales that are progressive through their interplay of images, objects, and space in the production of more inclusive, open-ended forms of subjectivity. Her work has been published and exhibited in a variety of contexts, both domestic and international.

Rice Architecture Fall 2020 Lectures are part of an initiative to acknowledge, understand, and act on systemic racism in the built environment. Invited designers, scholars, and activists will speak on the relationship between race, architecture, and, by extension, related questions of social equity, environmental justice, and gender parity. The aim of the lecture series is to foreground these issues in the school’s curriculum while more broadly fostering solidarity and action in architecture.

All lectures are free and open to the public. Please be sure to register online for each lecture to receive the link to join. For more information on all lectures and to register to attend, visit and

This lecture series is made possible through the generous support of the Betty R. and George F. Pierce Jr., FAIA, Fund and the William B. Coleman, Jr. Colloquium Fund for Architecture.

Rice Design Alliance’s Civic Forum is made possible through the generous support of the Humanities Research Center with additional support from the Texas Commission on the Arts. For RDA’s Houston Design Research Grant lunchtime lectures by awardees De Peter Yi (Faculty winner); Anna Fritz, Shree Kale, and Edward Liew (Student winners); and Sebastián López and Lene Sollie (Honorable Mention), please visit The Houston Design Research Grant lunchtime lectures are made possible through the generous support of The Mitsui U.S.A. Foundation.

All Fall 2020 evening lectures are eligible for one AIA/CES Learning Unit. Rice Design Alliance is an AIA/CES Registered Provider of quality educational programs.

Directions & Parking