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2016 AIABaltimore and BAF Spring Lecture Series 5: The Beauty of Innovation: Lise Anne Couture, Asymptote

April 27 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


1.5 AIA/HSW LUs available


This year, the AIABaltimore and Baltimore Architecture Foundation Spring Lecture Series will take a critical look at Manufacturing Beauty.

Beauty has the power to arouse the senses and create a greater capacity for empathy. However, our modern understanding of beauty still tends to be limited and undervalued. We live in an era where everything is measured, material goods are prized and impersonal exchanges are the norm. And yet, beauty in the built environment can still move us and teach us something new about ourselves and the spaces we inhabit.  At a time when efficiency, expense and the bottom line are often project drivers, has beauty for beauty’s sake become a lost model from a bygone era?

What is the value of beauty? This series highlights designers working to answer this question through science, details, place process, and innovation.


Featuring: Lise Anne Couture, AIA of Asymptote, New York, NY


Lise Anne Couture, AIA is the co-founder and managing partner at New York City-based Asymptote Architecture. Couture has a Master of Architecture from Yale University and founded Asymptote with Hani Rashid in 1989. She is a member of the AlA and a New York State Registered Architect. Asymptote Architects has distinguished itself globally with projects that range from visionary urban masterplans, to sculptural towers, to conceptual art installations- and everything in-between. Couture is involved in all aspects of design oversight.

Couture in not only a successful managing partner but is an influential intellectual in the academic community. She has been appointed to many prestigious academic positions including the Bishop Chair and Saarinen Chair at Yale University, the Kenzo Tange Chair for architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and has held distinguished visiting professorships at Princeton University and numerous others.

Though many of Asymptote’s early designs went unbuilt, their parametric building forms are increasingly becoming physical architecture. Projects such as Yas Viceroy Hotel in Abu Dhabi, ARC Multimedia Theater in South Korea, and Kaohsiung Marine Gateway in Taiwan, demonstrate Asymptote’s ability to create physical works which stimulate the senses and seem to confirm the notion that beauty is an essential aspect of the built environment. Couture and Rashid have described their work as uexploring new spatial possibilities,” a feature that elevates their work beyond the purely “superficial.”

The question of beauty in architecture is relevant in the work of Asymptote. In October of last year Rashid and Couture took part in a series entitled “Architecture is Art… Is Architecture Art?’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago which examined the connection between contemporary art and the practice of architecture. The questions of how and when it is useful or necessary to distinguish the disciplines of art and architecture are inherently linked to a discussion of manufactured beauty.  Are there aspects of Lise Ann Couture’s body of work that can be deemed “beauty for beauty’s sake?”

Event Details
All lectures begin at 6pm and are followed by a reception. Lectures are held at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Falvey Hall of the Brown Center.

Public Transit:
The lecture location is within walking distance of several public transit options including:
-UB/Mount Royal Light Rail Stop
-Circulator Bus (Purple Line) at N. Charles and Mount Royal Avenue
-Penn Station: Amtrak/MARC

100 Free parking spots will be available in the RK&K parking lot at 81 W Mosher St, Baltimore. The lot is located at the east end of Mosher Street, one block east of Mt. Royal Avenue and accessible from the northbound lane only. The lot will close at 9pm.


March 2 – The SCIENCE of Beauty
Dr. Ed Connor PhD, Neuroaesthetics, Director of the JHU Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute, Baltimore, MD (3-D Glasses Included)

March 16Beauty in the DETAILS
Ilias Papageorgiou of SO-IL, New York, NY

March 30 Beauty of PLACE
ASLA Lecture. Mikyoung Kim of Mikyoung Kim Design, Boston, MA

April 13 The Beauty of PROCESS
Mark Smout of Smout Allen, London, UK

April 27 The Beauty of INNOVATION
Lise Anne Couture of Asymptote, New York, NY

Follow the Lecture Series on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Vimeo

Image: Yas Viceroy Hotel, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 2010. Courtesy Asymptote.

Thank you to our generous sponsors

Major Sponsors

K.C. Company – Pella Windows and Doors
Maryland Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects
Merritt Construction Services**
Maryland Institute College of Art and the Department of Architecture
Gutierrez Studios**
Corinthian Sponsors
American Cedar & Millwork*
Ayers Saint Gross
BKM | Burdette, Koehler, Murphy & Associates *
BCT Architects
CADD Microsystems
Centria Architectural Systems
Design Collective, Inc**
Forest City – New East Baltimore Partnership
Legacy Restorations, Inc*
Murphy & Dittenhafer, Architects
Penza Bailey Architects, Inc
Price Modern, LLC*
SM+P Architects
Smithouse Construction *
Swirnow Building Systems
The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co, Inc*
Tremco Roofing & Building Maintenance*
TW Perry*
Vision Technologies, Inc*
Window & Door Planning Consultants, LLC*
Younts Design, Inc*
Ionic Sponsors
Colimore Architects
GWWO Inc/Architects
Henry Adams*
Hord Coplan Macht*
James Posey Associates, Inc*
Mueller Associates*
North Point Builders, Inc*
Potomac Valley Brick and Supply Company*
Preservation Maryland
Read & Company Architects, Inc
Rubeling & Associates, Inc*
Site Resources*
Skarda & Associates, Inc*
Tandus | Centiva
Wohlsen Construction*
Doric Sponsors
Ames & Gough*
Bruce Dunlop Lighting Design, LLC
Centric Business Systems*
Cho Benn Holback + Associates, Inc*
Core Design Studio
Design Force Solutions
DoublEdge Design, LLC*
Harris Kupfer Architects
Keast  & Hood*
MAG-Lighting Design, LLC
Mahan Rykiel Associates, Inc*
Morabito Consultants, Inc*
Mullan Contracting Company*
National Facilities Management and Technology Conference Expo*
Palindrome Design: Lighting & Interiors*
Phillips Way*
RK&K | Rummel, Klepper & Kahl, LLP*
Southway Builders, Inc*
Structura, Inc*
T3XTURE Archizine
The Blue Book Network*
Ziger/Snead LLP Architects*
*Annual Sponsor
**Annual + Lecture Series Sponsor


View Spring Lecture Series 2015 


April 27
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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MICA Brown Center – Falvey Hall
1301 W Mt Royal Ave
Baltimore, MD 21217
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