Kazys Varnelis [CV] is the Director of the Network Architecture Lab at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. In addition to directing the Netlab and conducting research, he is on the architecture faculty at Columbia and teaches studios and seminars in history, theory, and research.
Varnelis is a co-founder of the conceptual architecture/media group AUDC, which published Blue Monday: Absurd Realities and Natural Histories in 2007 and has exhibited widely in places such as High Desert Test Sites. He is editor of the Infrastructural City. Networked Ecologies in Los Angeles, Networked Publics and The Philip Johnson Tapes: Interviews with Robert A. M. Stern, all published in 2008. He has also worked with the Center for Land Use Interpretation, for which he produced the pamphlet Points of Interest in the Owens Valley.
Born in Chicago in 1967, he is the son of noted Lithuanian geometric abstractionist Kazys Varnelis [1917-] and grandson of Kazys Varnelis, the Samogitian folk artist [1867-1945]. When his family moved to the Berkshires, he encountered Fluxus, meeting George Maciunas and getting to know the movement through noted Fluxus collector Jean Brown who became close friends with his mother.
He received his Ph.D. in the history of architecture and urban development from Cornell University in 1994, where he completed his dissertation on the role of the spectacle in the production of form and persona in the architecture of the 1970s.
From 1996 to 2003 he taught at the Southern California Institute of Architecture where he was coordinator of the program in the History and Theory of Architecture and Cities. In 2004 he became a founding member of the faculty of the School of Architecture at the University of Limerick, Ireland where he continues to teach and is on the advisory board. He has also taught in the Environmental Design program at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, the Public Art Studies program at the University of Southern California, the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Department of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania.
In 2004, he was awarded a prestigious year-long appointment as senior researcher at the Annenberg Center for Communications at the University of Southern California where he examined the impact of telecommunications and digital technology on urbanism and architecture and directed a team of thirteen scholars looking at how new and maturing networking technologies are reconfiguring the ways by which we interact with content, media sources, other individuals and groups, and the world that surrounds us.
He has lectured internationally at schools such as Harvard, Yale, MIT, UCLA, TU-Delft, the IUAV and at venues such as the Digital Life Design Conference in Munich, the Architectural League, the Van Alen Institute, the Center for Land Use Interpretation, the Open Society Fund, and the Glass House.
He has published in journals such as A+U, Praxis, Log, Perspecta, Cabinet and is on the boards of numerous scholarly journals such as Thresholds, the Journal of Architectural Education, and Kulturos Barai.
As former President of the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design, he received the Educator of the Year Award from the Los Angeles Institute of the American Institute of Architects. He has served on the national board of DOCOMOMO-US since 2004.
Kazys's teaching and research focuses on contemporary architecture, late modernism, architecture and capitalism, and the impact of recent changes in telecommunications and demographics on the contemporary city. Most recently, Kazys has been exploring Network Culture, the Network City, and Networked Publics.