Undoing Absolutes: Postmodern Archiitectural Theory

The seminar series investigates the theoretical underpinnings of diverse strands of postmodernism in architecture in the 1970s and 80s. Emphasis is given to the different modalities of reference used as sources for \”meaning\” in postmodern architecture and also as instruments to deconstruct or fragment any epistemological \”Absolutes\”; these modalities including nostalgia, satire, parody, melancholia, allegory, irony, pastiche. The proposed topics will be analyzed in direct relation to the built architectural artifacts with the intention to stress the mutual interdependence of \”objects\” and \”ideas.\” The first half of the seminar sequence will focus on a series of foundational theoretical theses relating to the thematic of the disintegration of Absolutes: among them, Jean Baudrillard\'s simulations (fragmentation of the \”real\”), Gregory Ulmer\'s puncepts (hybridization of concepts), Richard Rorty\'s ironism (suspension of metaphysics), Jacques Derrida\'s differance(deconstruction of presence). The following sessions then put these theoretical stances in dialogue with the concepts of postmodern architects, whose work comprises both designs and writing. This list includes Aldo Rossi, Jorge Silvetti, John Hejduk, O. M. Ungers, Arata Isozaki, Hans Hollein, Raimund Abraham, Rem Koolhaas, Stanley Tigerman, Ricardo Bofill, Helmut Jahn. The seminar is addressed foremost to MArch students, but can also include MDes and DDes students.

Prioritized readings; Active participation in discussions; 20 min. class presentations; 2 page midterm paper proposals; 15 page final paper, emmanuel.petit@yale.edu, TA: VVV