William Hutchins Orr, BA, M.Arch

Course Teaching Assistant - Third Year, History and Theory, AA Undergraduate School

Professional qualifications

I hold a professional degree from the University of Toronto, but have not become a member of the Ontario Association of Architects (the local provincial professional association).

Research Interest

His research focuses on political and philosophical questions within the history and theory of architecture, including the periodisation of modernity and the post-modern; "theory" and the Neo-avant-garde; as well as contradictions and intersections between form, function, and autonomy. Overall interests relate to how the inter-disciplinary character of architecture provides a unique challenge to critical aesthetics and historiography.


With a background in cultural studies and philosophy, William Orr studied architecture at the University of Toronto. He is currently a PhD candidate at the Architectural Association in London, where he teaches in the History and Theory Studies programme.


2018, William Orr, Crosswise: 4 Conversations, No Longer Revolutionary, Not Yet Reformist: Architectural Politics Against the Plan
Presented to the panel "The Politics of Planning: Conditions, Contradictions, Critiques" of the 2018 AA PhD Programme symposium, this paper concerned the complex and paradoxical life of political critiques of the welfare state from the 1960s to the present.

2017, William Orr, Theory's History 196X-199X, Modernism and Postmodernism: a Political Distinction
Paper presented to the panel "Theory over Time" at the conference "Theory's History 196X-199X," organised by KU Leuven and held in Brussels. The presentation questioned received characterisation of the two periods, arguing that the distinction could only be made at the level of political subjectivity.

2016, William Orr, The (Dis)enchanted Subject of Architecture: Between Neoliberalism and Neobaroque, Architectural Politics, or, Socialism in One Courtyard
Presentation questioned the political value of architectural form when defined as a spatial boundary. Delivered to symposium organized by Douglas Spencer and Nadir Lahiji, and held at the Architectural Association.

2015, William Orr, This Thing Called Theory, Periodizing the Present: Manfredo Tafuri and Modernist Temporality
Delivered to the annual Architectural Humanities Research Association conference held in 2015 at Leeds University, this paper drew consequences from the Italian historian's characterisation of modernist "anti-historicism" - particularly the elimination of history teaching at the Bauhaus.

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