Symptomatic Reading of Architecture

Within the longstanding traditions of architectural interpretation, symptomatic reading is distinguished by its roots in Marxism, ideology critique, psychoanalytic models, and its emphasis on the productivity of reading form. While contemporary scholars like Fredric Jameson (Duke) and Ellen Rooney (Brown) are among those who have championed this position in literary studies, Manfredo Tafuri is the most recognized symptomatic reader of architecture.

This seminar examines the foundational texts of symptomatic reading, beginning with close readings of Louis Althusser, whose understanding itself requires a close reading of selected writings of Jacques Lacan. Selected theoretical writings of Tafuri will lead us to case studies of close readings of architecture. It will emerge that the work of form is crucial to this approach.

This course is recommended for students enrolled in the Narratives Domain of the MDes program, doctoral studies focusing on architecture, and MArch and MLA students sufficiently prepared in theory.