I. Perceptions of Architecture
II. Modernity in Architecture and Urban Culture
III. City, Landscape, and Ecology
IV. Architectural Histories of Colonialism and Humanitarianism
V. Spaces and Territories of Housing
Perceptions of Architecture
(Required history/theory lecture)
Perceiving architecture involves the interpretation of optical imagery into a conception of space, which is subject to a perpetual reading of abstract meanings related to the city, nature, technology and culture. This is to say that the “perception of architecture” is more complex than simply seeing built form or the drawings used to represent building production; it involves a critical examination of human experience through prevailing modes of architectural convention. Together these conditions constitute a responsive body of knowledge that operates as the context for the perceiving subject, and as a constant basis for interpretive analysis and verbal discussion. By concentrating on modern buildings of high sensory and intellectual impact, studied along with a sequence of critical texts written by a range of architects, historians, philosophers and socio-cultural theorists, this class will explore the development of the discipline of architecture during the twentieth century and beyond.
Modernity in Architecture and Urban Culture
(Post-1750 history/theory lecture)
The survey course is composed of two weekly lectures that trace the idea of modernity from the Enlightenment to the present. It examines modernity as an aesthetic imperative in architecture, the visual arts and urban culture, and as a set of cultural transformations affecting society at every level: social mores and beliefs, philosophical inquiry, scientific impulse and technological innovation. The course is focused on the Modern Movement in the pre-war period (The Bauhaus, Russian Constructivism, De Stijl, Le Corbusier, etc.) and post-war period (CIAM, Brutalism, Metabolism, International Style, etc. ), although we will also examine pivotal developments in the 19th century and postmodernism.
City, Landscape, and Ecology
(Post-1750 history/theory lecture)
City, Landscape, Ecology is a thematically driven course that examines issues and polemics related to urbanization, land settlement and ecology over the past two centuries. The course is made up of discussion sessions and lectures. The purpose is to better understand the role urban, territorial and ecological organization plays in the construction of social practices, human subjectivities, and technologies of power.
Architectural Histories of Colonialism and Humanitarianism
This course examines colonialism and humanitarianism as objects of architectural history. We will use architecture and its histories as a set of tools with which to rethink colonialism and humanitarianism in relation to each other. We will also use the linked problems of humanitarianism and colonialism to rethink architectural history. In this course, we will study perspectives from Africa and Asia, refugee camps and detainment centers, colonial expositions and museums, and United Nations administrative headquarters and field sites.
Spaces and Territories of Housing
This class offers a critical platform for the discussion of housing in the modern and contemporary periods. It will explore the definition of housing at different scales, ranging from domestic objects and spatial arrangements to urban proposals and territorial organizations. Housing plays a central role in the formation of subjectivity, the definition of cultural norms, and the consolidation of social relations. This course will analyze the development of housing in relation to changing technologies, cultural shifts, and political transformations. It will focus on the relationship of diverse processes of modernization and traditions of housing around the world, ultimately reaching to housing paradigms in the contemporary world characterized by global processes and accelerating transformations. A series of workshops interspersed throughout the semester will introduce students to different modes of research, speculation, and argumentation coordinated with the development of a semester-long writing assignment.