Style Worry or #FOMO

Reyner Banham once described the proliferation of styles after a waning epoch as “style worry,” an anxiety where the architect must decide how to go about choosing one out of the many. After digital architecture (90s-00s) and along with the influence of social media, the proliferation of post-digital styles has resulted in a different type of angst, characterized by a fear of missing out, propelling architects and their followers towards an eclectic and omnivorous diet of design methods. Nowadays, digital networks of production and distribution incentivize a culture of inclusiveness rather than discrimination, where producer and audience become one.

The core questions of the seminar prioritize architectural history and theory’s instrumental value, underscoring its direct role in motivating design innovation. The readings offer wide-ranging architectural thought, cultivating rancorous debate, contradictory presumptions, and generative hybrids. Some of these camps (Po-Mo 2.0, OOO, neo-neo-rationalism, and post-conceptualism, parametric semiology, and so on) are rumored to exist, and this course will prod them into shape, juxtaposing them in unexpected ways. As Sylvia Lavin describes it, “choosing and placing objects often of vastly different ontologies in a space is very close to a significant if often unacknowledged means of architectural design.” During the short period of a semester, this course will simulate the creative process involved in constructing a polemical and individual voice, especially amid the distraction of social media’s hullabaloo. Though timeliness is essential, historical texts will also serve as dialogical counterweight to these contemporary debates.

Acknowledging the myriad ways in which production intersects with history and theory, coursework will be transdisciplinary across domains of social media, text, and design. Each student will begin their own Instagram feed, serving as a curatorial and reciprocal exchange between conversations within the seminar and culture without. Additionally, students will work towards the development of their own treatise on architectural form along with designing a signature chair which will serve to exemplify the development of their own contemporary position.  

Please note, this course video is from last year's course.