Exploring Contemporary Architecture through Persisting Issues

The lecture course serves to emphasize my belief that a critical reflection on long-standing issues in the architectural practice can provide a valuable framework for studying today’s state of the art. The lecture course will be delivered with the format of three lectures in a row—Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday—one week every month.

I Architecture Versus Arbitrariness
The presence of arbitrariness in architecture, either in the classical tradition or in contemporary practice, and as a counterpoint the attempt to exclude arbitrariness, such as we see in the work of Gaudi. The continuous presence of arbitrariness can be seen as a token of the architect’s responsibility in the built form.
Lecture 1: Arbitrariness in the Western Classical Tradition
Lecture 2: Arbitrariness in Contemporary Architecture
Lecture 3: Against Arbitrariness: Gaudi´s Architecture

II Architecture Versus Necessity
How necessity, the answer to specific circumstances and the impact of contemporary design production and construction techniques are active forces shaping all building activity, and how in today’s architecture the notion of sustainability can be evaluated as a factor of significant force in this regard. Necessity justifying an explanation of architecture a product of cause and effect, and supporting the durable fantasy of determinism which today reappears in the “parametricism.”
Lecture 1: Architecture dictated by necessity: from vernacular architecture to parametricism
Lecture 2: Architecture dictated by necessity: the impact of building techniques
Lecture 3: The issue of sustainability

III Architecture as an Inevitable Witness of Time
The recognition of architecture as an inevitable witness of time and the relationship between the practice of architecture and the continuous consumption of the built form.
The consideration of architecture as resistant the idea of cannon, the exploration of why and how architectural forms evolve, using as a vehicle the notion of style, and a consideration of the continuous invention of language as a proprietary field for architects, ultimately questioning what is the role of the notion of style in today’s architecture.
Lecture 1: The “Zeitgeist” and the Notion of Style
Lecture 2: The Consumption of Form, Some Examples
Lecture 3: Architecture as the Invention of Languages

IV Architecture as Profession
The discussion as to the nature of the buildings as a basis of the meaning and the notion of architectural knowledge. What constituted architectural knowledge in the past and how was it disseminated? To study whence architects receive their skills and knowledge today is indeed an intriguing issue to be explored.
Lecture 1: The Notion of Knowledge in Architecture
Lecture 2: The Dissemination of Architectural Knowledge
Lecture 3: How Architects Work Nowadays; Whence Knowledge

Irregular schedule:
January 28, 29 and 30
March 4, 5 and 6
April 1, 2 and 3
April 22, 23, and 24

Exam Information:
The Final Exam is the only course requirement and the basis for the grade. The exam is scheduled for the morning of May 13th, Tuesday.
Students who have taken the exam and wish to improve their grade may submit a paper directly related to the themes discussed in the lectures. The due date for these papers will be announced at the end of the course by Professor Moneo.