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ARCH 509 – Queer Aesthetic Categories: Mess, Excess, Nothingness


Can there be an aesthetics of refusal, of resignation, of obstruction, of opting-out? For too long, the aesthetic goal of architecture has been the production and preservation of beauty, and that beauty has been predominantly a straight, masculine, Western and white one. This aesthetic paradigm perpetuates real violence on bodies and buildings: preserving and promulgating if beautiful, leaving indifference, disdain, and destruction for the rest.  As inevitable participants in this aesthetic paradigm, pursuing aesthetics of resistance and refusal are necessary for survival. This seminar will locate alternate aesthetic expressions which better suit our politics. Students will contribute original thinking through the investigation of aesthetic expressions outside the beautiful/ugly binary, with a particular interest in hybrid and nonbinary logics. Beyond positing a recuperation of the ugly, as Venturi, Scott Brown, & Izenour pursued, the seminar seeds the field in-between the major aesthetic categories of beautiful and ugly, refusing their attendant polarizing value systems of good/bad. Via minor aesthetics like mess, excess, nothingness, and more, students will pursue new frameworks of value—wrenching an opening for queer aesthetics in the context of architecture its politics.


Fri 1:00-4:00pm  2108 A&AB


Adam Miller


Course Brief

Plan Your Future
Housing, Community, and Economic Development
Land Use and Environmental Planning
Physical Planning and Design
Transportation Planning
Global and Comparative Planning