Regarding an Archive

This will be the last course I will teach before retirement at the end of this academic year. Personally, it is an important occasion for me, and it coincides with the donation that Professor Emeritus Rodolfo Machado and I have made to the GSD of our entire academic and professional archives that register more than five decades of uninterrupted work in architecture. It is an occasion for an inevitable and welcome reflection on the whole arc of our work, which started in the late 60s, a moment that critics and historians concur marks a point in time when architectural discourse emerged as one of the most important events in the history of the discipline. Such discourse, characterized by a vigorous tone of self-reflection, forged an awareness of architecture’s position as a mode of knowledge whose constructions were open to a scrutiny as intense as any philosophical inquiry. My work both spans and is an inseparable part of this discourse, which is still unfolding. Thus, the coincidence of an author/protagonist’s self-examination and the relevance of the period it covers to our contemporary moment offers a rare pedagogical opportunity to share my regard on my oeuvre—my drawings, projects, buildings, writings, and pedagogy—both with architecture graduate students and also with one continuous interlocutor, Mark Lee, our chair, one of the most versed individuals on the period that defines the context of my work. This collective regard of an archive will take the form of a seminar that will include the participation of selected guests, contemporaries from this special period of architecture.

The seminar will take place over two meetings each week. The first will be a two-hour presentation by me, the instructor, and commentary, critique, and questioning by my interlocutor, Mark Lee. These lectures will focus on specific projects and preoccupations from the archive and their disciplinary and extra-disciplinary context. The second will be a one-hour session dedicated to general discussion and student presentations. Both sessions will be synchronous as the seminar nature of the course requires the active participation of all present. Students will be responsible for two additional assignments: a short midterm essay and a final design exercise, both critically engaging with materials from the archive. Students enrolled in this seminar will be expected to have previously acquired a broad and solid knowledge of the overall arc of western architecture history, from classical antiquity to the present.

Note: 6 spaces are reserved for MArch II students who select the course first in the limited enrollment course lottery (the course fulfills Discourse and Techniques requirement). This course is restricted to architecture students.