Representing the collective: constructing meaning, legitimizing the discipline

How are the representations and discoures of collectivity organized? From the City Beautiful to Broadacre City, from Camillo Sitte to the Metabolists, from Plan Obus to the Las Vegas Strip, from Città Nuova to Citta Analoga, and from Delirious New York to New Urbanism, we can identify radically different notions of craft, technology, plasticity, scale and community. Yet, as diverse as these formal concepts and their urban meta-narratives may appear, they share an underpinning: the reflection of collective form and of individual identity. In this course, unravelling conceptional opposites will entail inquiries into aesthetic backgrounds, cultural contexts, symbolic economies, ideological superstructures, evolving disciplinary frameworks and modes of professional opportunism.

Developing structures and artifacts for collectivity has always been instrumental for the evolving culture of architecture. By constructing and narrating the collective, architects impart identity. Urban modernism was accompanied by such projections; postmodern architects critically reappropriated identity and community in differentiated urban landscapes. How essential is the projection of collectivity for the architectural avantgarde in positioning itself? How have such projections helped architects establish a hold on the urban imaginary?

The course will not meet in rrom 517 during the first week. Instead, it will meet in room Gund 518 on Friday, January 27th.