Basel Studio Fall 2014
Seminar: Communicating Architecture/Lars Müller
Basel Study Abroad Seminar: Communicating Architecture: The Planner and Architect as Active Participant in Democratic Processes
The subject matter and historical context that form the frame of reference for the Basel Studio “Warning: The Landscape”—the urban development and planning situation in the 1950s as described in the text “Achtung: Die Schweiz” (1955)—can only be understood in conjunction with the unique democratic constitutional civic rights in this country. The federalist division of the nation into small administrative units and the direct democratic instruments applied influence long-term planning processes for both the better and the worse. Lobbies, interest groups, and political circles shape the debates and processes of persuasion that precede far-reaching Swiss referendums. And on occasion, civic movements are also influential in forming public opinion.
Based on an analysis of the communication media (posters, brochures, publications) that have accompanied selected landmark referendums, the seminar will seek to understand the dynamics and mechanisms behind such political processes, looking at how the planner and architect can intervene in the dispute and present convincing arguments fostering forward-looking decisions.
On the basis of the analytical findings, students will design a poster or pamphlet for an actual or fictional project with the goal of verbally or visually assisting the citizen who is only vaguely aware of the matter at hand in reaching an informed decision. This practical work will provide the framework for a study of the conceptual foundations of design and the treatment of images and text/typography.
In the process, students will develop greater awareness of how their discipline can be integrated into social and democratic contexts, learning to see themselves as political stakeholders and citizens.
The seminar will be divided into weekly thematic units. A discussion of the analysis results with invited experts/activists is planned as mid-term event, followed by a phase of practical implementation, including individual and group meetings on the subjects covered and the related projects.
During the seminar, the lecturer would offer individual student consultation, and on request also portfolio advice.