Style and Time

This course explores a non-representational approach to style, its consequence on the process of design, as well as on the built environment as a whole when adopted as a shared approach amongst architects. Like last year’s seminar, it will take as its springboard The Function of Style and its proposal that by embracing all aspects of everyday life as a raw material, architects can change the conventions of how buildings are assembled, grounding style, and the aesthetic experience of buildings, in the micro-politics of the everyday.  It will also explore notions of time in contemporary architecture, and how buildings can be approached as assemblages, rather than unified wholes, in order to isolate and activate history to meet changing contemporary needs. Within the design process itself, it will investigate how delay and the uncertainties which arise between the time a project starts and its completion, rather than being avoided, can be participated in to bring about novelty.

The seminar will be structured as a series of discussions around text and buildings, and will focus on the dialogue between the historical ideas that have shaped the concept of style since the 19th century and contemporary architectural practice, in order to provide a broad historical setting for the question of style. In addition to discussing style from the 19th and 20th centuries, and the issues that these historical definitions raise in contemporary culture (particularly since the advent of the internet), the seminar will discuss a range of texts relating to the relationship between time and architecture. In parallel, it will examine a range of buildings designed by different architects for various uses, such as for residing, working, viewing exhibitions, travelling, shopping, learning, and how style can engage them in different forms of everyday micropolitics.

Each participant will be responsible for leading a discussion session during the semester, and will also develop an individual pamphlet on the function of time in relation to a specific building, using text, drawings or a combination.