• I Would Prefer Not To
    Ana Miljački
    Ana Miljački

Ana Miljački discusses "I Would Prefer Not To" with Mario Gooden and Paul Lewis, 2022. Screenshot. Courtesy Ana Miljački

I Would Prefer Not To is an oral history project conducted through audio interviews on the topic of the most important kind of refusal in architects’ toolboxes: refusal of the architectural commission. Decisions to refuse a commission, or withdraw from one, by definition, stay hidden from public scrutiny, and thus also hidden from architectural history. Withdrawals of this kind do not leave paper trails. If at all, they exist as specters of professional gossip, not easy to examine or learn from. And yet, the lessons contained in architects’ deliberations about, and decisions not to engage are politically relevant and urgent. Decisions to not engage a commission, or types of commissions, or commissions with certain characteristics, inevitably forfeit potential profit, placing other values above it, at least momentarily.

Ana Miljački is a critic, curator, and professor of architecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she teaches history, theory, and design, and directs the Architecture and Urbanism group. In 2018 Miljački launched the Critical Broadcasting Lab at MIT, engaged in critical curatorial and broadcasting work. Miljački is the author of The Optimum Imperative: Czech Architecture for the Socialist Lifestyle 1938–1968 (Routledge, 2017), coeditor of the OfficeUS series of books, guest editor of Praxis 14: True Stories, the editor of Terms of Appropriation: Modern and Architecture and Global Exchange with Amanda Reeser Lawrence (Routledge, 2018), as well as of The Under the Influence symposium proceedings (Actar, 2019). She recently coedited Log 54, coauthoring with Ann Lui, and an issue of Journal of Architectural Education, titled Pedagogies for a Broken World, with Igor Marjanović and Jay Cephas.