Rodolphe El-Khoury on the Internet of Things – Nov. 20, 4pm, Herring 100

Posted by on Nov 17, 2014
Rodolphe El-Khoury on the Internet of Things – Nov. 20, 4pm, Herring 100

This lecture by architect Rodolphe El-Khoury continues recent discussion about the internet of things, or the idea of integrating billions of everyday objects into the web. As media theorist Benjamin Bratton notes, the internet of things is a not only a fascinating technological feat but a potential energy issue. Techno-utopian promises about the internet of things include the possibility of managing energy use much more efficiently. But predictions also include the possibility that the internet of things will use more energy than it saves. Either way, the IoT raises questions about energy culture.

You can read more about the internet of things, especially in relation to political economy, in this post by Ian Lowrie, a PhD candidate in Anthropology at Rice. The internet of things also has implications for theories popular in the environmental humanities such as Jane Bennet’s new materialism, Bruno Latour’s Actor-Network theory, and Graham Harman’s object-oriented philosophy–all of which attribute some form of agency to inanimate things, and all of which are interested in object-object relations that don’t necessarily relay through a human actor.

Herring Hall
100 from 4pm -6pm

More than ever before, the line between the digital and real worlds is increasingly blurred. Computers and communication devices have functioned as a separate layer within our lives but they are increasingly becoming integrated into objects and environments. Rodolphe el-Khoury, Dean of the School of Architecture at University of Miami, describes a not-too-distant future in which “the internet of things” will become a reality. In this world, our homes, workplaces, and the objects within them will all be wirelessly connected, intelligent, and responsive.


Rodolphe el-Khoury is Dean of the University of Miami School of Architecture. He was Canada Research Chair at the University of Toronto, Head of Architecture at California College of the Arts, and Associate Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Design. He also taught at Columbia University, Rhode Island School of Design, and Princeton University and has had Visiting Professor appointments atMIT, University of Hong Kong, and Rice University (Cullinen Visiting Chair).

El-Khoury was trained as a historian and as a practitioner and continues to divide his time between scholarship and design. His books on eighteenth-century European architecture include The Little House, An Architectural Seduction, and See Through Ledoux; Architecture Theatre, and the Pursuit of Transparency. Books on contemporary architecture and urbanism include Monolithic Architecture, Architecture in Fashion, and States of Architecture in the Twenty-first Century: New Directions from the Shanghai Expo.

El-Khoury is partner in Khoury Levit Fong (KLF). His award-winning projects include Beirut Martyrs’ Square (AIA San Francisco), MOCAPE, Shenzhen (AIA Cleveland), Market Square, Stratford (Boston Society of Architects). In 2012 KLF won international design competitions for a planning exhibition hall in Changzhi, China, and for the revitalization of Copley Square in Boston.

el-Khoury’s KLF projects and installations were exhibited in solo and group show at InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Center, the Arthur Gallery, and Harbourfront Center in Toronto. International venues include the CMY Gallery at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, The Keller Gallery at MIT in Cambridge; the 2007 DesCours New Media Festival in New Orleans, the 2008 Casablanca Biennale, the 2011 Chengdu Biennale.

el-Khoury’s current research in architecture focuses on applications for information technology aiming for enhanced responsiveness and sustainability in buildings and cities. Articles on his projects and research have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The Globe and Mail,The Toronto Star and WIRED Magazine. He was also featured online (Gizmodo, DeZeen, Fast Company, Domus, Reuters) and on television/radio shows (CBC, Space Channel, NBC, TFO, BBC World). His work in this area is documented in The Living, Breathing, Thinking Responsive Buildings of the Future, Thames and Hudson, 2012.