Filed under Notes from the Chair

Building the Case: Design and Media at the International Military Tribunal, c. 1945

The Dean of the College and the Art History Program
Olga Touloumi
Harvard University

Untitled copyDuring four short months in the summer of 1945, the Office of Strategic Services, IBM, and landscape architect Dan Kiley prepared Courtroom 600 for the Nuremberg Trials. Planned as a “world spectacle,” the project required a wide mobilization of resources and technologies that crossed national and institutional boundaries. Scholars have extensively discussed the legal and diplomatic history of the International Military Tribunal, along with its implications for international law in the post-World War II period, but little attention has been paid to the position of the courtroom itself in this seminal event.

This lecture will unravel the role of design and architecture in the Nuremberg Trials, explaining that both served to produce international law as an integral component of the world organization that the United Nations announced. By looking into the series of projects that led to the final courtroom design, I will discuss the debates on representation, mediation, and participation that informed this interior. Ultimately, I argue, in the Nuremberg Courtroom designers and officials reconceived architecture as a mobile technology to transfer and implement models of legal space across expansive and contested networks of global communication.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
4:30 pm
RKC 101