Karla M. Rothstein, DeathLAB Constellation Park - Karla M. Rothstein, DeathLAB Constellation Park

Karla M. Rothstein

CIVIC-SOLIDARITY: new networks of repair
29. 7. – 17. 8. 24

Democratizing Death, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (JP). Democratizing Death, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (JP).
LATENT Productions, 2014, Center for Architecture, New York, NY LATENT Productions, 2014, Center for Architecture, New York, NY

About the course

Times of civilizational uncertainty require posing and pursuing radical questions commensurate with the challenges and opportunities we discern. Fresh, critical thinking offers the potential to transform ossified conditions and catalyze new networks of repair.

In the realm of human-crafted ecosystems and the collective work of city-making, civic-solidarity urges social connection and vitality where the metropolitan-civil-communal coincides with the hallowed-exalted-mythological. Here, sacred is understood as capacious yet intimate. Uplifting reverence and respect for all life, diverse beliefs are embraced while avoiding the exclusionary dogmas of any single doctrine. Traditionally sequestered activities are exfoliated and intentionally re-situated to intertwine with quotidian life, allowing the work of memory, lamentation, and healing to be seen and shared.

Student research will be fueled by individual curiosity and motivation. It will inform the nature and capacities of infrastructures simultaneously negotiating ephemerality and accumulation, intimacy and collectivity, grief and healing. Projects will explore positions on what we should value, where we can reflect, who, what, and when we will remember, how we prioritize, why we collect, and how we will manifest remembrance.

We will tour and document cemeteries in Salzburg, explore our own preconceptions and diverse cultural rituals, and engage emerging sustainable technologies of corpse disposition to inform new possibilities for honoring the dead and celebrating our interlaced lives.

read more [+] read less[-]
Festung Hohensalzburg
29. 7. – 17. 8. 24
Teaching language
English (German possible)
Curiosity, Critical thinking, Motivation, Collaboration, Open-mindedness, Aesthetic and poetic sensibility
What to bring
Laptop with mouse, Camera or smartphone, Personal tools for creative work and physical production
Maximum number of participants
Participation fee
890 Euro (reduced 635 Euro)

Karla M. Rothstein

Karla M. Rothstein's research, teaching, and architectural practice interlace mortality, materiality, abstraction, and liminality. She founded Columbia University’s DeathLAB in 2013, combining the practical complexities of architectural design and construction and the idealism of academic and artistic experimentation to create an interdisciplinary initiative centered on the intricacies of mortality that both ground and unite us. Robust concepts aligned with iterative analyses and translation scaffold their projects with critical integrity. They work in the margins of the city and the sometimes-unlikely places where intimate and collective realms intersect.


Most important exhibitions
2021 A Section of Now: Social Norms and Rituals as Sites for Architectural Intervention, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Main Gallery, Quebec (CA). 2018ON SITE: Karla Rothstein, installation series focused on architectural experiments and contemporary practices of architects, Art OMI’s Benson Center, Ghent NY (US). DeathLAB: Democratizing Death, public Design Gallery, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (JP). 2017 Modern Death, MoMA Research & Development Salon #19, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (US). 2015BxW: Built By Women Awards Exhibition, featuring LATENT Productions’ Runner&Stone bakery-bar-restaurant, Center for Architecture, New York, NY. 2014 AIANY 2014 Design Awards Exhibition, featuring LATENT Productions, Center for Architecture, New York, NY. Physical model of Constellation Park exhibited and auctioned by Christie’s, with proceeds shared equally between Maggie’s Cancer Care and Sir John Soane’s Museum, Sir John Soane’s Museum, London. 2002 Max Protetch Gallery: 49th Annual P/A Awards. 20+22 Renwick development proposal, New York, NY.


Recent publications
Rothstein, Karla. Post-Mortem: Sustainable Disposition and Spaces of Remembrance in the 21st Century Metropolis. Columbia University Press (book manuscript currently under peer review; forthcoming) co-authored with Christina Staudt.

Rothstein, Karla, and Christina Staudt, eds. The Future of the Corpse: Changing Ecologies of Death and Disposition. ABC-Clio Praeger Imprint, 2021.
Karla Rothstein, “Mortal Agency,” in A Section of Now: Social Norms and Rituals as Sites for Architectural Intervention, Canadian Centre for Architecture, 2021.

Karla Rothstein and Christina Staudt, Living Death: Confronting Mortality and Associated Practices of Care, The Architectural Review, issue on Care, no.1479 (March 2021).

Cool is Everywhere: New and Adaptive Design Across America, Michel Arnaud, Harry N. Abrams. 2020.  Cover image and chapter on LATENT Productions’ Greylock WORKS industrial mill conversion project.

Karla Rothstein, Democratizing Death: Long-Form Interview of Rothstein by Bernd Upmeyer Editor-in-Chief, MONU (Magazine on Urbanism, Rotterdam) no.31 After Life Urbanism, (Fall 2019): 5-12.

Karla Rothstein, The New Civic Sacred: Designing for Life and Death in the Modern Metropolis, published in a special issue of MIT Design Issues on "Mortality in Design," with images by LATENT Productions and Columbia GSAPP DeathLAB, p.29-41. vol 34:1 (Winter 2018).

Rothstein, Karla ‘Carbon Black.’ In: Fornabai, Michelle, Ink or V is for Vermillion as described by Vitruvius, An A to Z of Ink in Architecture, Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2014.

Rothstein, Karla. ‘Reconfiguring Urban Spaces of Disposal, Sanctuary and Remembrance.’ In: Ellens, J. Harold and Staudt, C., editors. Our Changing Journey to the End: Reshaping Death, Dying, and Grief in America, Vol. I: Trends in How and Where We Die and Grieve, ABC-CLIO, Praeger Imprint, 2013.

American Masterworks, Houses of the Twentieth and Twenty First Century, Kenneth Frampton and David Larkin, Rizzoli, revised edition 2008 (features Rothstein’s Ballston Lake House): 340-345.