Everyday Spaces

In geography, an \”entire spatial language has emerged for comprehending the contours of social reality.\” (Neil Smith) The seminar explores ways in which a more articulate spatial discourse can support an architecture whose meanings are grounded in spatial relations. It focuses on concepts and terms through which to address space as a material presence that is both product and producer of social activities and relationships. The course will identify different spatialities in three subdisciplines of geography that could be termed cultural, social, and feminist, and which, broadly construed, focus respectively on: landscape (D. Cosgrove, S. Daniels, J. Harley), city (D. Harvey, E. Soja, N. Smith), and identity (G. Rose, D. Massey, A. Blunt). All three of these subdisciplines differ from traditional geographies, in their recognition that space is a social construct made up of social relations and constituted through material practices, and also that spaces (are not only products, but) have material effects of their own. Both architecture and geography have taken for granted their basis in the naturalized opposition of masculine culture and feminine nature, wherein science has been presented as the objective agent for the revelation of an already existing transparent order of space. The persistence of these alignments is evidence that traditional conceptions of knowledge and gender are deeply embedded in existing spaces. To the extent that they go unrecognized, these conceptions also hinder our understanding of spaces that we construct. Recent geographical writing on the construction of space constitutes a critical resource for architectural thought. However, geographers rarely associate these issues with the productive challenges that architects address daily. In other words, architects are manipulators of space; geographers are not. The seminar frames questions about ways in which the two disciplines can extend each other\’s discourse on both social and formal aspects of spatial relationships.Each class meeting is organized around a spatial topic, including ground, boundary, scale, position, map, and paradox. Each student will work on two topics, for which he or she will collaboratively present readings, develop a glossary (of definitions, interpretations, and quotations), and produce a conceptual model of a space or spaces, due in final form and to include a 3-5 page text, during reading period.