Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session

Course Description

This class will be constructed as a lecture-discussion, the purpose being to engage important theoretical issues while simultaneously studying their continuing historical significance.

The sequence of topics that will be introduced cannot be absolutely predetermined, but some of the primary issues that will be addressed are, as they relate to architecture, the role of pedagogy as the discipline of teaching, the role of the profession as the discipline of practice, and the role of history as the discipline of knowledge. The discussions and debates are intended to demonstrate differences of opinion and enhance awareness of the consequences that these differences had in specific historical contexts. Other issues that will most probably be discussed are theories of beauty, social criticism, light, memory, and landscape.

The course will portray the history of theory neither as the history of architectural theory exclusively, nor as a series of pre-packaged static pronouncements, but as part of a broader set of issues with an active history that must be continually probed and queried.

To enhance discussion, three debates will be held in class. Each student will be required to participate in one. They will require planning and preparation as well as group research. Each student will also be required to write three short papers, which require independent research.


Class participation is essential and will be factored into the final grade. More than 2 absences will result in a full letter-grade devaluation.

The rough break-down of the grade will be as follows:

Debate 30%
Papers 30%
Final exam 40%

Debate Assignment

Each student is required to participate in at least one debate. These are formal debates with 5 minute opening statements on both sides, 5 minute rebuttal statements on both sides, open discussion, and 5 minute closing arguments on each side.

Students are required to turn in their preparatory notes and all other material relevant to their preparation.


1 Course introduction  
2 Modernity  
3 Metaphysics and anti-metaphysics  
4 Debate 1  
5 Social contract Paper 1 due
6 Defining the architect  
7 Avant-garde  
8 Debate 2  
9 Psychology Paper 2 due
10 Husserl  
11 Heidegger  
12 Debate 3  
13 Course wrap-up Paper 3 due

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2009
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Presentation Assignments
Written Assignments