COURSES

Term 1 lectures and seminars focus on the philosophy and writing of history and the ways in which constructs of the past relate to architectural and visual practices. Modernity is interrogated through a critical reading of histories of modernism and reappraisal of the modern field of aesthetics.

 

Term 2 is concerned with the historical process of the formation of the discipline, its techniques, conventions, procedures and innovative practices in relation to contemporary architectural and urban thinking.

 

Readings of Modernity, Marina Lathouri

Through a detailed examination of modes of architectural writing – manifesto, historical narrative, architectural canon, formal analysis, critical essay and theory – this seminar series looks at the role which key texts played in the construction of an identifiable vocabulary of architectural modernity and its subsequent criticisms.

 

Le Corbusier (1920-1935): style, the Zeitgeist and nature, Tim Benton

One reason that Le Corbusier remains a necessary point of departure for any study of the ambiguities and contradictions in Modernist architecture is his continual reassessment of his own position. This series will follow his adoption and rejection of the founding arguments of modern architecture. An aim is to confront certain taboo concepts in the discussion of Modernism: style, the Zeitgeist argument, formalism and the vernacular.

 

Aesthetics and Architectural History, Mark Cousins

This course provides an account of the intellectual bases of architectural theories within a modern field of aesthetics, a discourse, which arises in the C18th. It follows this with an analysis of how this aesthetics sits uncomfortably in relation to the development of architectural and art history in the C19th. It explains how this tension anticipates theoretical problems of modernism.

 

Writing Practice, Caroline Rabourdin

This series is conceived as a sequence of writing exercises with the aim to give students the opportunity to test different approaches to writing, in order to gain confidence and develop their own voice. The course is underpinned by a critical as well as creative and literary methodology, with a corpus ranging from Surrealist writers to post-structuralist architects.

 

Architecture Knowledge and Writing, Marina Lathouri

The course examines the multiple ‘languages’ of architecture in the light of institutional and economic constraints, cultural specificities and political ideologies. From the early renaissance treatise the economy of the literary object elicits an intricate relation to the economy of the built object – its modes of production, its aesthetic norms, its didactic and historical value, its uses and effects and produces a disciplinary (public) space which cannot be found anywhere in the singular statement, built or written.

 

‘Another Philosophy of Language’, Caroline Rabourdin

This series is an introduction to theories of language —relating essentially to continental philosophy— and their relationship with the discipline of Architecture. Contemporary in its scope, the course focuses on the 20th century. It begins with the birth of Linguistics, otherwise known as the Science of Language, established by Ferdinand de Saussure and introduces the ensuing notions of Structuralism, Semiotics and Post-Structuralism before moving onto an ontological, performative and embodied theory of language with the work of Merleau-Ponty.

 

The Subject of Architecture, Douglas Spencer

Theories and practices of architecture have, especially since the 1960s, been engaged with questions of the relations between the self and its environments. The subjects of architecture have been conceived as operatives in cybernetic systems, cognitive mapmakers, deconstructive readers, and post-critical participants in the network of flows. This course addresses such constructions of the architectural subject through the analysis of a range of related themes, texts, and projects.

 

The Post-Eurocentric City, John Palmesino

This seminar series seeks to articulate the theoretical conjunctions that are shaping the contemporary city. It analyses the links between the transformations in international and sub-state polities, processes of institutional change and the material structures of human environments.

 

History and Critical Thinking Debates: Locating Architecture Politics, Marina Lathouri

Processes involved in the constitution of the multiple territories – professional, disciplinary, cultural and legal – and the negotiation of frontiers – conceptual, practical and technical – are proposed here essentially as a dispute over their proper locus. Guest speakers present and engage with tutors and students. The aim is to position the multiple voices making possible a process of thinking in common, by definition a pedagogical practice different from the seminar or the lecture.

 

Drawing Matter, Tina di Carlo

In this one-week intensive workshop, drawing is considered as a pedagogical tool. Specific focus on the collection and exhibition of architecture is to reveal a historiography and a critical approach and method through the history and connoisseurship of objects. Private collections and current exhibitions in and around London comprise part of the curriculum.

 

In Term 3, the Thesis Research Seminar focuses on the most significant component of the students’ work, the final thesis. The choice of topic, the organisation of the field of research and the development of the central argument are discussed within the Research Seminar where students learn about the nature of a dissertation from the shared experience of the group. The unit trip, which takes place in the third term, includes intense sessions to help students solidify their thesis. At the end of term and during the summer, work in progress is presented to invited critics.

 

In Term 4 the students complete the writing of their thesis to be submitted in September.


 

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