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Course Detail

Term Fall 2017
Class ARCH 509
Class Title Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repeat
Description Architectural historian and theorist Mari Lending calls it the “re-glossary,” a collection of loosely-related terms sweeping through contemporary discourse: re-cycle, re-produce, re-stage, re-mix, re-frame, re-purpose, re-activate, re-turn, re-make, re-vitalize, etc., etc. However fresh these words might sound, they point to a set of phenomena deeply embedded in the long history of architecture, a set of processes through which buildings find ways to survive in various material and dematerialized states.
Working with a sequence of case studies, students in this seminar will analyze historically-situated practices of architectural recycling. From medieval buildings composed with spolia, to the 18th-century architectural salvage operations of Alexandre Lenoir and the very recent work of Factum Arte on high tech facsimiles, we will explore the various modes through which architecture persists over time, as well as the individual motivations and larger societal conditions that foster this endurance. As a rule, the seminar will attempt to bypass the term “preservation,” a word which – despite the increasing ranks of creative preservationists – still tends to bias the question of a structure’s survival towards an all-or-nothing outcome. We will focus instead on the vast gray area between total demolition and maximal intactness, looking at cases where buildings have survived in piecemeal formats as dispersed material traces, or prized sets of motifs, or merely as ideas.
Ultimately, the seminar has two goals. Through class discussions and the visual and textual analysis of historical examples, we will attempt to clarify the definitions of terms in the “re-glossary” whose individual meanings have a tendency to elide. At the same time, this course aims to embolden students to propose their own creative interventions in the ecology of architecture’s survival.
Prereq none entered yet
Crosslist none
Required No
Elective Yes
Selective No
Meets Tuesday 9:00am-12:00pm 2213 A&AB
Credits 3
Faculty Lauritano
Syllabus Arch509_F17_handout_Reduce_Reuse_Recycle_Repeat.pdf