Authors in Architecture: Robert Harding Pittman

Robert Harding Pittman will present his book Anonymization and short film Concrete Coast.

5:30 Reception
6:00 Lecture and Film screening
7:00 Q&A and book signing

Copies of Anonymization will be available for purchase at the event.
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March 20, 2014
5:30 PM
Architecture Center Houston
315 Capitol, Suite 120
Houston, TE 77002

Brought to you by the Architecture Center Houston (ArCH)

Robert Harding Pittman will present his photographs and book of the same title, ANONYMIZATION, and a short documentary film, Concrete Coast.

ANONYMIZATION explores the world of a uniform, homogeneous model of development, inspired by Los Angeles style urban sprawl. This anonymous type of development consisting of massive freeways, parking lots, shopping malls and large scale masterplanned communities with golf courses is being stamped onto the earth’s topography. Harding Pittman's photos and book explore the impact of these developments on our natural and cultural environments, and their relationship to current and developing environmental, social, political and financial problems.

The book ANONYMIZATION, published by Kehrer Verlag, was nominated for the German Photobook Award (Deutscher Fotobuchpreis). Texts are included from curator Alison Nordström, environmentalist Bill McKibben, architect Galina Tachieva and sociologist Anette Baldauf. The book is a carbon neutral print production. The project was recently nominated for the Prix Pictet under the theme of Consumption.

The documentary film Concrete Coast examines the social, cultural and environmental effects of tourist development the last area of un-urbanized Spanish Mediterranean coast in the region of Murcia. Golf courses, marinas, freeways and new large scale planned communities with 1,000,000 residences are replacing agriculture along this 230km coastline. Built mainly for sun-seeking British retirees, this development will double the population of Murcia within a few years.

Harding Pittman illustrates the impact of these large-scale economic and political forces with the stories of a Spanish farming family being expropriated of their land and a retired British couple embarking on their new life in a country where they do not speak the language.  How will all of this change the culture of the region?  Will the populations integrate?  Will these and other Spanish farmers have to emigrate?  How will the global economic crisis affect the region?

Robert Harding Pittman grew up in Boston and Hamburg, the son of a German mother and American father. After taking his undergraduate and graduate degrees in environmental engineering (U.C. Berkeley), an area of concern that continues to inform his work, he received an M.F.A. in Photography and Film/Video at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). His main interest is how different cultures interact with the environment and how they manage “development.” Anonymization is a compilation of over ten years of Pittman’s photographic work. His photographs and award-winning documentary films have been exhibited internationally and are in public and private collections.