Beginnings of Architecture

This is an intensive reading and discussion seminar for the theoretically ambitious, or, if not ambitious, at least curious and brave. Drawing on a range of material from history, theory, and philosophy, we will probe various beginnings of architecture ??? beginning with form, technology, or nature, for example, or with community, place, material, or light. We will traverse the edges of the idea of beginning: innovation, originality, revolution, convention, change, tradition, progress, periodization. Readings include Benjamin on history, Heidegger on origins, Adorno on progress, as well as Laugier, Semper, Viollet, Le Corbusier, and Rossi. Different beginnings authorize and make possible different kinds of architecture. For a beginning is not only historical, it is also structural and ideological; a beginning inaugurates certain kinds of thought processes and closes down others; a beginning organizes an architectural imaginary.