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ARCH 215 – Building Business


Corporations are said to be like people: “head” office buildings front the “bodies” of manufacturing sheds behind. But unlike people, corporations reconfigure themselves with astonishing speed and flexibility. Guided by capital, corporations perform according to its rules; they mutate quickly around economic requirements, or they die. Yet buildings are static, immobile, and slowly built, in sharp contrast to the increasing speed with which corporate capital moves its goods. Architecture promised the corporation an image, and yet refused to deliver it quickly, or to change it rapidly. This course on architecture and business focuses on the tension between architecture’s solidity, and capital’s fluidity, charting corporate development and occupied space in and around buildings and cities throughout the world. We move in reverse chronological order from tall buildings such as the proposed Tokyo Sky Mile Tower (2045), the Burj Khalifa, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation headquarters, and Chicago’s many early towers, to other building types associated with the conduct of business: suburban malls and real estate development corporations, banks, quasi- or multi-national corporations, even monasteries. Six units include: non-place corporations, skyscrapers and the multinational, the City of London since WWII, the birth of the highrise and the American city, colonial corporations across the globe, and early monastic and banking corporations in Europe.


Lecture: Tue, Thu 2:30-4:00pm Lec Rm 1 MLB

Multiple discussion sections offered. 


  • 002: Thu 4:00-5:00pm 130 TAP
  • 003: Fri 10:00-11:00am 180 TAP
  • 004: Fri 11:00am-12:00pm 180 TAP


Claire Zimmerman


Course Brief