Buildings, Texts, and Contexts III: Rethinking Architecture

This course in the History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture looks at several iconic buildings and architectural texts from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present day. It then offers a critique of these buildings and texts through the lens of essays on architecture and urbanism by key philosophers and cultural theorists. The overall idea is not only to introduce students to these key buildings and texts within their contexts, but also to provide theoretical ‘tools’ from outside the discipline of architecture in order to rethink architectural discourse. In so doing the course seeks to demonstrate not only that can architectural discourse be reinforced by critical theoretical tools from other disciplines, but also that architecture and urbanism can be seen as a field of interdisciplinary cultural enquiry. The iconic buildings include the Sagrada Famiglia, Bauhaus, Barcelona Pavilion, Villa Savoie, Falling Water, Sydney Opera House, Centre Pompidou, Parc de la Villette, CCTV and the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, along with other works by Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius, Frank Lloyd Wright, Bernard Tschumi, Peter EIsenman, Zaha Hadid Architects, Rem Koolhaas, Herzog & de Meuron, and Frank Gehry. The architectural texts include Learning from Las Vegas, ‘Ornament and Crime’, Towards a New Architecture, S, M, L, XL and Informal. The essays on architecture and urbanism by key philosophers and cultural theorists include those by Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Henri Lefebvre, Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Fredric Jameson, Jean Baudrillard, Jacques Derrida, Helene Cixous and Gilles Deleuze.