Teaching Techniques

The course examines foundations 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.

Given that contemporary architecture is produced in response to competing impulses, it is imperative to articulate the criteria by which to author its pedagogy.  We will begin by reviewing 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, alternating with project brief writing exercises, will be dedicated to the analysis of key 20th and 21st century architectural concepts that serve as exemplars of the aforementioned dialectical terms. During the latter part of the semester, students will write a studio project brief for a first semester March program that aims to teach a specific architectural theme or principal.

This course is required for students in the MArch II program, and may be also be taken by students in the MArch I program. The course it is not open to students in other departments and programs without approval from the instructor.