Masters at the beginning of the XXI Century

The lecture course serves to emphasize my belief that a critical reflection on contemporary architecture is always helpful to allow students to reflect on why and where they would like to situate their work.

In last year´s course, I traced the development of architecture since the early 90s by discussing the work of those whom I consider to be the most influential architects, drawn from my survey of the work of eight architects. This year the course will focus on the works of Koolhaas, Herzog + DeMeuron, Sejima + Nishizawa, Holl, Hadid and Chipperfield.

When talking about Rem Koolhaas, I will situate his work far away from “classic modernism”, and emphasize how any theoretical approach is left aside in favor of what is possible and in this way his work is in clear opposition to Le Corbusier; with Herzog & De Meuron, I will distinguish between their earlier beginnings with their strong research on materials, the extreme rigor required by a global practice and their readiness to admit an eclectic, yet unexpected approach; how SANAA’s work means an always candid and direct attempt to build carefully, exploring what rigorous, detailed construction is able to give and how this together with a sense of poetic excess gives their work a rare consistency; Steven Holl is, in my view, the one who has kept a more faithful commitment to “classical modernism” and it can be said that of all the architects considered, he is the one who still tries to be inspired by the old spirit of the avant-garde; Zaha Hadid’s transformation from her first works to the later ones allows us to analyze the impact of the new means of representation, but also to consider that she is the only one stubbornly attached to the idea of architecture as language; and finally, David Chipperfield´s extensive work allows for reflection about what practice and respect for history are able to give, recognizing the specific and yet ending up in a soft and effective eclecticism. 

Lecture schedule:
Tuesday March 5: Rem Koolhaas
Wednesday, March 6: Rem Koolhaas
Thursday, March 7:Herzog & DeMeuron
Tuesday, March 12: Herzog & DeMeuron
Wednesday, March 13: Sanaa
Thursday March 14: Sanaa
Tuesday, April 16Steve Holl
Wednesday, April 17: Steve Holl
Thursday, April 18:Zaha Hadid
Tuesday, April 23: Zaha Hadid
Wednesday, April 24:David Chipperfield
Thursday, April 25:David Chipperfield
 Students who took GSD 03211 in the spring of 2012 should not take this course for credit as the content is similar.