site conditions fall 2005

The theme for the fall workshop is Site. Objectifying and describing a site is typically difficult for beginning, or even advanced students, and yet is a skill all architects must master. Site is the precondition for construction and the link between architecture and the world. With forms of human habitation rapidly changing due to urbanization, site becomes a more important consideration every day.

Seminars will address Fields, Territories, Surveys, Flows, and Inhabitations, surveying both historical and contemporary material to challenge students. As an introduction to architecture as an expanded field, students will encounter disciplines such as politics, geology, philosophy, infrastructural engineering, land art, archaeology, and landscape architecture. Buildings will illustrate responses to the topics. Some examples might include the Yokohama Terminal, the Acropolis, the Parc de la Villette, the Stockholm South Cemetery, Robin Hood Gardens, the Pyramids, and the Berlin Free University. Readings by authors such as Rem Koolhaas, Colin Rowe, Michel Foucault, St. Brendan, Guy Debord, John McPhee, John Stilgoe, Robert Smithson, and Georg Simmel will challenge students with the diverse ways by which we can describe sites.


The theme for the fall workshop is Site. Objectifying and describing a site is typically difficult for beginning, or even advanced students, and yet is a skill all architects must master. Site is the precondition for construction and the link between architecture and the world. With forms of human habitation rapidly changing due to urbanization, site becomes a more important consideration every day.

Seminars will address Fields, Territories, Surveys, Flows, and Inhabitations, surveying both historical and contemporary material to challenge students. As an introduction to architecture as an expanded field, students will encounter disciplines such as politics, geology, philosophy, infrastructural engineering, land art, archaeology, and landscape architecture. Buildings will illustrate responses to the topics. Some examples might include the Yokohama Terminal, the Acropolis, the Parc de la Villette, the Stockholm South Cemetery, Robin Hood Gardens, the Pyramids, and the Berlin Free University. Readings by authors such as Rem Koolhaas, Colin Rowe, Michel Foucault, St. Brendan, Guy Debord, John McPhee, John Stilgoe, Robert Smithson, and Georg Simmel will challenge students with the diverse ways by which we can describe sites.

We will also visit three nearby sites first-hand in order to learn how to discuss them. Afternoon workshops will focus on describing these sites.

Grading:

33.3% notebooks, attendance, participation

Students will be issued Moleskine notebooks at the start of the course. All writing is to be done in pen. At the end of the course, notebooks will collected and graded to ensure that students have been participating a course. Attendance and class participation are mandatory.

33.3% essay exam

Upon completion of the course, students will undertake an essay exam. Questions will be distributed in advance, but students will not be allowed to use notes in the exam.

33.3% final essay

An essay on a specific site from studio will be due at the end of the term.

readings:

fields

Rem Koolhaas, “Junkspace,” OCTOBER 100, Spring 2002, pp. 175-190.

Stan Allen, “Field Condition,” Points + Lines. Diagrams and Projects for the City (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999), 90-103.

Colin Rowe, “Crisis of the Object: Predicament of Texture,” Collage City (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1978), 50-85.

territories

Anne Querrien, “The Metropolis and the Capital,” Zone 1/2 (New York: Urzone, 1986), 219-221.

Georg Simmel, “The Metropolis and Mental Life,” Neil Leach, ed. Rethinking Architecture, A Reader in Cultural Theory (London: Routledge, 1997), 69-79.

Michel Foucault, “Panopticism,” Discipline and Punish. The Birth of the Prison. (New York: Vintage, 1979), 195-217.

surveys

Robert Smithson. “A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey,” Jack Flam, ed. Robert Smithson, The Collected Writings (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), 68-74.

St. Brendan, “Jasconius,” “The Crystal Pillar,” “The Island of Smiths,” “The Fiery Mountain. The Third Latecomer Taken by Demons,” in The Voyage of Saint Brendan: Journey to the Promised Land, John J. O’Meara, trans., (Dublin: The Dolmen Press, 1976), 18-19, 50-55

flows

John McPhee, “The Control of Nature. Atchafalaya.” The New Yorker, February 23, 1987, 39-100.

Tony Smith, “from an interview with Samuel Wagstaff Jr,” in Charles Harrison and Paul Wood, eds. Art in Theory, 1900-1990 (Blackwell: Oxford, 1992), 741-742.

inhabitations

Ivan Chtcheglov, “Formulary for a New Urbanism,” 1-4, Guy Debord, “Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography,” 5-8, and Guy Debord, “Theory of the Derive,” 50-55 in Ken Knabb, ed., Situationist International Anthology (Berkeley: Bureau of Public Secrets, 1981).

http://www.traces-of-fire.org

John Stilgoe, “Landschaft and Linearity,” in Char Miller, Hal Rothman, Out of the Woods: Essays in Environmental History (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997), 65-78.