Extracanonical Buildings

analysis, "a breaking-up" or "an untying;" from ana– "up, throughout" and lysis "a loosening" [1]

This project-based seminar is concerned with the formal analysis of buildings not included in officially sanctioned bodies of work. In "Radical Thought," Vittoria Di Palma argues for the value in studying the distant in time and place to challenge preconceptions of architectural precedent. Rather than seek historical corollaries in the recent past and in familiar contexts to validate work, this calls for a fundamentally destabilizing presence of history in design. Through initial reading discussions, the class will define the concept of the extracanonical, theorize its implications for the discipline, and think about its power to reorganize modes of instrumentalizing the past. Using these criteria, we will perform a double "untying"—of the canon, via each project. Students will describe and interpret a single building, looking critically at received methods of formal analysis and rethinking those methods with respect to the newly established extracanonical body.

The first part the seminar will entail weekly readings, a related student presentation and collective discussion. In the second part of the semester, students, working alone or in pairs, will design and produce an in-depth formal analysis, comprising drawings, animations, and/or models, of their chosen extracanonical example. After an initial project proposal, weekly progress will be expected for feedback from the instructor and collective engagement from the class. Final work will be aimed toward a review/display at the end of the term. The course is open to MArch and MDes students with demonstrable proficiency in visual techniques of architectural representation as listed above.

Up to five seats will be held for MDes students.

[1] Douglas Harper (2001—2012). “analysis (n.)”. ONLINE ETYMOLOGY DICTIONARY. Douglas Harper.

This course will meet for the first time on Wednesday, September 7th.