Difference, Experience, Sensibility: Three Themes in European Architecture

For several decades, architecture in Europe aspired to contribute to general culture. It has represented concepts, demonstrated principles, embodied types or merely set examples. In the recent past, this desire to contribute ideas over and above the design of buildings has become less pronounced in Europe, and the actual experience of architecture has been revalued. The capacity of architecture to respond to complex negotiations and to adapt to particular milieus has received greater attention. In short, architecture in Europe has become more reponsive and, in some respects, finer. Using concrete examples, the course addresses the nature of architectural experience vis a vis abstractions such as concepts, theories, types and principles.The course consists of three bi-weekly sessions, each being dedicated to one of three themes: difference, experience and sensibility. In each session, a first lecture will examine in detail a major building of the recent past. A second lecture will present a historical case study in which an extreme approach to the theme was adopted, and which will put the building studied on the previous day in a wider perspective. Each lecture will be followed by a discussion and, schedule permitting, tutorials leading to the submission of an essay. Irenee Scalbert trained at the Architectural Association in London in the late 1970s. After several years in practice, he returned to the AA in 1989 to run a design studio. Since 2000, he has been AA Course Master in History and Theory. He is a member of the editorial board of AA Files. He has contributed articles to most European magazines. As a critic, he has been closely associated with architecture groups in Britain and in Holland. As a historian, he has written essays on architecture in the 1950s, notably on the Smithsons, as well as on the Rococo, landscape painting and other subjects which seemed relevant to the contemporary debate. He is the author of A Right to Difference: The Architecture of Jean Renaudie. In addition to his teaching, he is a regular guest lecturer.Tentative schedule:February 13 and 14February 27 and 28March 13 and 14