The (New) Languages of Architecture

The (New) Languages of ArchitectureInstructor: Sanford KwinterThe last decade and a half has seen a remarkable profusion of architectural styles, an entirely new level of technical virtuosity in form-making, and an unprecedented embrace between designers and specialists (engineers, technologists, industrial manufacturers, and materials scientists, etc.). The very ethos of architecture itself, its culture and rhetoric is undergoing a steady transformation in the wake of these developments. A great deal of what was most familiar in the old languages and styles of thinking about architecture are being forgotten. But in favor of what?The purpose of this course is to ask \”how many angels in fact can be made to dance on the head of a pin?\”–in other words, what new languages, models and ideas can one legitimately use to elucidate the new relationships that architecture is now forging with the world of knowledge, culture, politics and economics around it.? What is genuinely new and worthy around us today and how should we speak about it in order to multiply the possibilities of invention that lie, like a reservoir of potential, within it. How should architecture present itself today to a public more open than ever to its specific excitements and risks, in a way that fulfills the field\’s responsibilities to public life, education, and the future of the discipline itself?This course is designed with the possibility (in workshop form) of developing a publication in which a dozen or more works of design will be presented in non-orthodox, but highly elaborated manner, as models to explore new ways in which architecture can occupy central place of interest in contemporary life, engaging areas of concern across the spectrum of civilized attention. This course will combine study of virtually any field of knowledge adjacent to architecture (including even new sociological phenomena, in addition to the arts, sciences, sports, history, etc.) as a way to multiply the ways of thinking and talking about architecture as well as producing it. Enrollment will be limited to 12 students of great commitment with backgrounds, or more importantly, interests in other fields. A strong interest or aptitude for writing will be an asset as will the ability to continue work beyond the formal end date of this course (should indeed a viable publication result from the collaboration).