4.665 | Spring 2002 | Graduate

Contemporary Architecture and Critical Debate


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Introduction: Doing History Backwards

The course will look at key shifts in architectural thought and debates over the last four decades. The approach of the course will be to address current day problems, projecting back into the past in order to offer something of a historical “frame” to understand the present. The course begins by looking at four or five issues in architecture understood to be critical for present times: globalization, technology, cognitive sciences, the environment, and cultural politics. The course then reaches back over the last fifty years to establish precedents for these current-day preoccupations in architectural and critical terms. The above topics will be seen to have formal or theoretical resonances in a host of architectural movements: the technofantasist movements of the 1960s, “post-modern” semiosis, phenomenology, Third World “social modernism”, vernacularism, post-modernism, cybernetics, and so on. Students will look at buildings, writing and movements as part of the evolving critiques of modernism from the 1950s onwards; in doing so, the students will come to examine the manner in which modernism was both critically unraveled and reinvented at different moments of its aftermath.

Course Requirements

Two Presentations (Leading the Class in Debate and Discussion) 20%
Two Exams 30%
Regular Attendance 15%
Final Paper 35%

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2002
Learning Resource Types
notes Lecture Notes