Teaching Techniques

The course will examine the bases for contemporary architectural design pedagogy according to several broad themes — spatial, programmatic, material, structural, technological – defined in dialectical terms such as transparency vs. concealment, discretion vs. licentiousness, composed vs. unauthored, envelope vs. interiority, space as organization vs. space as form, interlocking vs. piled spaces, sequential vs. warehoused space, additive or subtractive vs. periodic vs. singular, tectonic vs. immobile, narrative vs. parametric, thermally segregated vs. homogeneous, tautological vs. circumstantial, attention vs. inattention, architecture as urbanism vs. contextual architecture.

The intention will be to understand architecture according to competing impulses. Today, it is impossible to avoid multiple and disagreeing criteria. How can this be exercised and embodied as a productive means to author pedagogy? We will begin by examining significantly divergent architectural strategies. For example, on the one hand, the organicist approach: intense interrelationship of parts within an unmistakably coherent whole; on the other hand, systems of organization that can be extended or plugged in to, without any obligation to manifest a coherent whole.

Weekly lectures and readings, followed by discussion, will be dedicated to the analysis of key 20th and 21st century architects, theories, projects and buildings that serve as exemplars of the aforementioned dialectical terms. During the latter part of the semester, students will write studio project briefs that would effectively teach these works and the dialectical concepts. Students will sketch responses to one another’s briefs. The writers of briefs will serve as critics.

The course will include precedent analysis workshops with guest lecturers Doug Graf, Danny Forter and Dan Sherer.

This course is required for and limited to students in the MArch 2 program.