Scale: City, Object, Field

*PLEASE NOTE*The first class meeting will take place this Thursday (September 3rd) from 1-2:00 pm in room 510. The seminar is concerned with how scale operates in architecture and urbanism. Focusing on the last 50 years, we will consider scale as both a physical attribute of objects and spaces and as ideology-as an operative idea-about relationships, which are both internal and external to the architectural object and/or field. Since it registers in relational rather than absolute terms, scale in architecture always implies context, and it only really registers in terms of context-whether that context is some implied whole, another object or set of objects, an urban fabric, field, or natural landscape. This relatively simple idea about the relational aspect of scale has complicated implications, which we will explore in the class. The course will start from two working propositions: First, that scale is both objectively and subjectively constituted; it is both a physical attribute of objects and something perceived. It therefore operates (and has operated in modern architecture) in highly ambiguous and contradictory ways. The second proposition is that scale in architecture not only describes relationships between objects and between part and whole, but also-by operating in terms of an implied other-it can enable architecture to generate otherness itself-both abstractly and programmatically. We will interrogate these propositions theoretically and historically as we examine the operations of scale in architecture and urbanism since the middle of the 20th century. Among the topics we will consider: -Scalar implications of Fordist and Postfordist principles of production-Superblock, megastructure, pods, and capsules -Communication: sign, ornament, and the semiotic dimensions of architecture-\”Scaling\” and textuality-Theory of Bigness-Repetition and self-similarity-Figure, field, texture-Camouflage and landscape-Rhythm and territorialityRequirements/assignments: Aside from active participation in weekly class discussions, over the course of the semester, students will be responsible for initiating discussion of assigned readings and topics relating to them. A final presentation and paper on a topic related to the seminar is required of all students.