• The Sixth Sphere
    AB(NORMAL) (Mattia Inselvini, Davide Masserini, Luigi Savio), aldayjover (Iñaki Alday & Margarita Jover), Alexandra Arènes - studio SOC (Société d’Objets Cartographiques) / atelier shaa, Common Accounts (Igor Bragado & Miles Gertler), Curtis Roth, Debbie Chen, DESIGN EARTH (Rania Ghosn & El Hadi Jazairy), Dogma (Pier Vittorio Aureli and Martino Tattara), Grandeza Studio (Amaia Sanchez-Velasco, Jorge Valiente Oriol and Gonzalo Valiente Oriol), HOME-OFFICE (Daniel Jacobs & Brittany Utting), Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation, Olalekan Jeyifous, Muoto Architects (Gilles Delalex & Yves Moreau), NEMESTUDIO (Neyran Turan), PRESENT FUTURE (Albert Pope), TAKK (Mireia Luzárraga & Alejandro Muiño), Territorial Agency (John Palmesino & Ann-Sofi Rönnskog), and Z4Z4+Z4A (Ophelia Mantz & Rafael Benetez-Duran)
    Albert Pope and Brittany Utting
    William T. Cannady Hall, School of Architecture, Rice University, Houston
    Oct 28, 2024 to Feb 01, 2025
    Albert Pope & Brittany Utting

Alexandra Arènes, studio SOC (Société d’Objets Cartographiques)/atelier shaa, “Map of the Strengbach Critical Zone Observatory in the Vosges forest, France,” 2023. 70 7/8 x 70 7/8 in. Courtesy Alexandra Arènes

Entangled within the Earth’s five natural spheres—the lithosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, and atmosphere—is a sixth: the technosphere. A term used by geologist Peter K. Haff, the technosphere is the material, spatial, and technological expression of human production. It includes feedlots and sewer systems, factories and housing, seaports and data centers, highways and croplands. Although critical to our material survival, the exponential growth of the technosphere is actively destabilizing the five spheres upon which its existence depends. The Sixth Sphere exhibition explores not only how the built environment operates at a planetary scale, but also how design can participate in systems of interdependence, reciprocity, and transition. In response to the environmental and social injustices caused by climate change, this exhibition explores how design thinking can expand beyond traditional spatial and temporal scales to approach the terrestrial in scope and complexity. To this end, The Sixth Sphere explores transcalar forms of design thinking, leveraging the cumulative power of the technosphere to imagine more viable planetary futures.

Albert Pope is the Gus Sessions Wortham Professor of Architecture at Rice University, where he teaches in the undergraduate and graduate programs. Pope holds degrees from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and Princeton University, and taught at Yale University and SCI-Arc before teaching at Rice. His design work has received numerous awards including national and regional awards by the American Institute of Architects as well as a design citation from Progressive Architecture. He is the recipient of numerous grants from a wide variety of funding agencies including the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Science Foundation. He is the author of the book-length study of the postwar American city, Ladders (Princeton Architectural Press, 2015) and Inverse Utopia (Birkhauser, 2024). Pope has written and lectured extensively on the broad implications of climate disruption in light of the extraordinary demands soon to be placed on the built environment. He is the director of Present Future, a nonprofit think tank for urban design based in Houston, Texas.

Brittany Utting is an assistant professor of architecture at Rice University and cofounder of the research and design collaborative HOME-OFFICE. Her work examines the relationship between architecture, collective life, and environmental care. She is the editor of the book Architectures of Care: From the Intimate to the Common (Routledge, 2023), and guest editor of Log 60: The Sixth Sphere (Winter/Spring 2024) with Albert Pope. Utting has been a MacDowell Fellow and a Willard A. Oberdick Fellow at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. She holds an MArch from Yale University and a bachelor's of science in architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Utting is a registered architect in New York, and prior to cofounding HOME-OFFICE, she practiced at Thomas Phifer and Partners as project designer for the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw.