In January 1972, The Museum of Modern Art hosted "The Universitas Project," a two-day conference sponsored by the Museum's International Council and the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies. The distinguished participants, including Jean Baudrillard, Umberto Eco, Gyorgy Kepes, Octavio Paz, and Meyer Schapiro, engaged in a multidisciplinary debate on the future of design and design institutions in the postindustrial era. This important volume publishes in their entirety the various components of the conference, making this chapter in the intellectual history of the Museum available for the first time to scholars, the architecture and design community, and the general public.
The Universitas Project was conceived and directed by the noted architect and designer Emilio Ambasz, then Curator of Design at the Museum. It was originally described as "a critical and prospective inquiry into the relation of man to the natural and the sociocultural environment... specifically planned to explore the possibility of establishing in the United States a new type of institution centered around the task of evaluating and designing the man-made milieu."