Term: Fall 2020
Section: 2
Class Number: 603
Credits: 3
Required: No
Elective: Yes

/ ARCH 603

Reading: Topics in Architectural Theory

Each offering of ARCH 603, “Reading: Architectural Theory” focuses on a significant text within the development of architecture, selected for both its historical value and potential for revisited contemporary relevance. Students in the course participate in a close examination of the text (in a chapter-by-chapter reading of the book, with additional materials to contextualize), write weekly one-page reading responses, contribute to collective discussions regarding issues raised by the text (framed from historical and contemporary perspectives), and, as a final paper, write a “late” book review.

Texts previously read in this course include Theories and History of Architecture by Manfredo Tafuri (1968), The Language of Post-Modernism by Charles Jencks (1977), Collage City by Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter (1978), and Delirious New York by Rem Koolhaas (1978).

The text for ARCH 603, “Reading: Architectural Theory” in Fall 2020 is Vers Une Architecture, 1923 by Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret). A collection of observations arguing for (a new) architecture (though written almost 100 years ago), the book and its author have been subject to a continual process of interpretation and critique. On the topics of technology, form, politics, gender, and identity, authors as diverse as Colin Rowe, Reyner Banham, Peter Eisenman, Caroline Constant, and Mabel Wilson, have used the book as documentary evidence in the on-going trials of (modern) architecture. While no longer cited chapter and verse, the book continues to exist as an orginary font of architecture’s disciplinary imaginary and reading it now, in the framework of multiple critical contexts, while bracketing the question of innocence or guilt, offers the grounds for insights into what is embodied within these articles of architectural faith.


Class Instruction Mode:  Online

Tue 8:30-11:30am  


John McMorrough