Inside SCI-Arc


03.28.12 | SCI-Arc Lecture Series, W.M. Keck Lecture Hall
Nicholas de Monchaux: Fashioning Apollo

Wednesday, March 28, 7pm
W. M. Keck Lecture Hall

Intro by John Enright

Nicholas de Monchaux is an architect based in Oakland, California, working at the urban intersection of nature and technology. He is author of Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo (MIT Press, 2011), an architectural history of the Apollo 11 Extra-vehicular garment. He received his B.Arch with distinction from Yale, and his M.Arch from Princeton.

Since 2006, he has been an Assistant Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at UC Berkeley. His work has been published and reviewed in Log, Architectural Design, The New York Times, and Wall Street Journal and his design proposals for buildings, cities, and landscapes have been exhibited nationally and internationally.

"On July 20, 1969, the bodies of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were protected from a lunar vacuum by only twenty-one layers of fabric, each with a distinct yet interrelated function, custom-sewn for them by seamstresses whose usual work was fashioning bras and girdles. The twenty-one-layer spacesuit offers an object lesson. It tells us about redundancy and interdependence and about the distinctions between natural and man-made complexity; it teaches us to know the virtues of adaptation and to see the future as a set of possibilities rather than a scripted scenario. These are particularly important lessons for our own era, where architects grapple daily with the conflict and concurrence of nature and technology; at the core of the space age, the exchange defines our own historical moment."