For General Reference:
- Francis D.K. Ching, A Visual Dictionary of Architecture (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1995): Design Terminology, Architectural History, Architectural Orders, Parts of a Building, Drawing Terminology, Architectural Sound
WEEK 1: January 25
Introductions, Preview, Gauging Your Experience & Interests
- We’ll review how various figures central to communication and media studies – James Carey, Edward T. Hall, Harold Innis, Marshall McLuhan, Joshua Meyrowitz, etc. – have addressed architecture.
- Beatriz Colomina, “The Media House” Assemblage 27 (August 1995): 55-66. [I’ll be referring to this text in our intro lesson, but it’s not required reading. That said, I highly recommend it!]
WEEK 2: February 1
Stones, Speak: Architecture as Medium
What do various media and architectural historians and theorists have to say about the relationships between media and architecture? Does architecture have a language? Can it be regarded as a mass medium? If so, what methods of analysis—e.g., formal analysis, reception studies, semiotic or rhetorical analysis, etc—might we employ in examining architecture?
- Umberto Eco, “Function and Sign: The Semiotics of Architecture” Reprinted in Neil Leach, Ed., Rethinking Architecture: Reader in Cultural Theory (New York: Routledge, 1997): 181-201.
Walter Benjamin is ubiquitous in media-architecture research. We’ll think about why – and consider alternatives.
- Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” [You’ve probably already read this essay. Please quickly review it, looking this time for references to architecture.]
- Stan Allen, “Dazed and Confused” Assemblage 27 Tulane Papers: The Politics of Contemporary Architectural Discourse (August 1995): 47-54.
- Robert Venturi, Denisse Scott Brown & Steven Izenour, “A Significance for A&P Parking Lots, or Learning From Las Vegas” In Learning from Las Vegas, rev. ed. (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1998): 1-83. [lots of images!]
WEEK 3: February 8
Open Office: The Digital Workspace
How do media workspaces embody the forms of media production that take place inside? How might the physical space help or hinder that work? How do they reflect the values, or ideologies, of the corporations they house? How have these buildings evolved as the media landscape has evolved, as the cityscape has evolved? How do these buildings themselves function as media?
Field Trip: Google, 111 8th Ave (still tentative!)
- Reinhold Martin, “The Physiognomy of the Office” and “Computer Architectures” In The Organizational Complex: Architecture, Media, and Corporate Space (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003): 80-121 (skim 105-120; read final three paragraphs on 120-1), 156-181.
- Andrew Ross, “Jobs in Candyland: An Introduction,” “The Golden Children of Razorfish,” & “Steel Tables” In No Collar: The Humane Workplace and Its Hidden Costs(Basic Books, 2003): 1-20, 55-9, 109-22. [there may be a few extra pages in the pdf]
- Check out MoMA’s “Workspheres” online exhibition to see many of the design innovations that would’ve graced the late-90s “no collar” workplace.
- James Bridle, “Secret Servers” ICON 99 (September 2011), Reprinted on BookTwo.org.
- Peter Jakobsson & Fredrik Stirnstedt, “Googleplex and Informational Culture” In Staffan Ericson & Kristina Riegert, Eds., Media Houses: Architecture, Media and the Production of Centrality (New York: Peter Lang, 2010): 111-132.
- Sam Gustin, “Google Buys Giant New York Building for $1.9 Billion” Wired Epicenter (December 22, 2010).
- Gabrielle Bruney, “Google’s NY HQ Glows With NYC Charm” AM New York (July 27, 2011).
- Recommended: Sam Jacob, “Revolving Doors: The Architecture of Corporate Media” Domus (November 2011).
WEEK 4: February 15
What has happened to our conceptions of space in an era of dematerialization and decentralization? How have networked digital technologies changed the way we design our buildings and cities, and altered our experiences of those built spaces? How new are these ideas of networked and immaterial architectures?
In the following two texts, and in many others you’ll read in the upcoming weeks, you’ll probably encounter names with which you’re not familiar. You’re welcome to look up unfamiliar references on your own – but we’ll also likely read and talk more about these people and projects as the semester unfolds.
- Mark Wigley, “The Architectural Brain” In Anthony Burke & Therese Tierney, Eds., Network Practices: New Strategies in Architecture and Design (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2007): 30-53.
- Aaron Betsky, “A Virtual Reality” Artforum 46:1 (September 2007): 440+.
The following two cover similar conceptual and theoretical territory, but they provide different, and complementary, examples: Manovich references media art and branded spaces, while Shepard focuses on technologies used in architecture and urban planning.
- Lev Manovich, “The Poetics of Augmented Space” Visual Communication 5:2 (2006): 219-40.
- Mark Shepard, “Toward the Sentient City” In Shepard, Ed., Sentient City: Ubiquitous Computing, Architecture, and the Future of Urban Space (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011): 16-37.
- The Living, Living City [follow the “next” links at the top-right; there are 25 pages in total]]
WEEK 5: February 22
Boxed In: Televisual Space
How has television altered our perception of global space and domestic space, and how has it influenced the way we design and experience our private and public spaces? What is the architecture of the screen itself?
- Lynn Spigel, Intro through Chapter 4 In Make Room for TV: Television and the Family Ideal in Postwar America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992): 1-135.
- Recommended: Shannon Mattern, “Broadcasting Space: China Central Television’s New Headquarters,” International Journal of Communication 2 (2008).
- Recommended: Beatriz Colomina, “Enclosed by Images: The Eameses’ Multimedia Architecture” Grey Room 2 (Winter 2001): 5-29.
- Recommended: Scott McQuire, Meredith Martin, and Sabine Niederer, Eds. Urban Screens Reader. Institute of Network Cultures Reader 5 (Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures and Creative Commons, 2009). [download here]
WEEK 6: February 29
Mise-en-Scène: Cinematic Spaces
Why do so many historians and theorists regard the material city as inherently cinematic, and how do particular spaces lend themselves to representation in film? How do filmmakers construct and capture filmic space? How might various architectural elements – promenades, circulation patterns, windows, etc. – promote cinematic ways of looking within and without architecture? How do we design spaces for the exhibition of film?
- Sergei M. Eisenstein, “Montage and Architecture,” reprinted, w/ Introduction by Yve-Alain Bois, in Assemblage 10 (1989): 110-31.
- Giuliana Bruno, “Site-seeing: Architecture and the Moving Image” Wide Angle 19:4 (1997): 8-24. [For larger images, access the essay via Project Muse. In this essay Bruno lays out a map for her Atlas of Emotion: Journeys in Art, Architecture, and Film (New York: Verso, 2002).]
- Siegfried Kracauer, “Cult of Distraction: On Berlin’s Picture Palaces” In The Mass Ornament: Weimar Essays, Trans. Thomas Y. Levin (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995): 323-8.
- Joan Ockman, “Architecture in a Mode of Distraction: Eight Takes on Jacques Tati’s Playtime” In Mark Lamster, Ed., Architecture and Film (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2000): 170-95. [The first section, “Toward a Theory of Distraction,” should present ideas familiar to you; feel free to skim.]
WEEK 7: March 7
Radio City: Sonic Spaces
How did new audio technologies of the 19th and early 20th centuries change the way people conceived of space? How could the building itself be thought of as a resonating or aural medium? What was the architecture of the “radio age”? How can architects design in response to the sounds that people and media make?
- Carolyn Marvin, “Protecting the Domestic Hearth” In When Old Technologies Were New (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990): 76-81.
- Rem Koolhaas, “All the Rockefeller Centers” and “Radio City Music Hall: The Fun Never Sets” In Delirious New York (New York: The Monacelli Press, 1994): 199-200, 208-19.
- Emily Thompson, “Electroacoustics and Modern Sound” & “Conclusion: Rockefeller Center and the End of an Era” In The Soundscape of Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America, 1900-1933 (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002): 229-48, 295-315.
- Recommended: Sam Jacob, “Dot Dot Dot.” Perspecta 44 (September 2011): 136-44.
- Geoff Manaugh, “Audio Architecture” BLDGBLOG (August 10, 2007).
- Skim the syllabi for my undergraduate “City & Sound” and graduate “Sound & Space” courses to get a sense of the breadth of this area of study.
- Roman Mars, 99% Invisible.podcast: listen to the following podcasts, which you can find on iTunes:
- Episode 1: “Noise” [4:21]
- Episode 10: “Sound and Feel” [4:52]
- Episode 21: “BLDGBLOG: On Sound” [5:22]
- Episode 43: “Accidental Music of Imperfect Escalators” [7:21]
SPRING BREAK: March 14
WEEK 8: No Class March 21 – Shannon @ SCMS Conference
Make-Up Class March 25, 3-5pm
Field Trip: Walking Tour of The High Line as Infoscape; more info here.
- Read Philip Lopate, “Above Grade: On the High Line” Places (November 1, 2011).
- Skim through Jonathan Lukes, “Last of the West Side Cowboys,” Urban Research Toolkit” (December 2011). [This is a Fall 2011 student project for Urban Media Archaeology. The interface for this mapping platform is still in development, so we encourage you to focus on content rather than aesthetics!]
- Visit the High Line website, and consider how it represents itself through various media
- Watch “Architecture Hunting on the High Line” New York Magazine [3:49].
- Download an experiment with “The Gaits: A High Line Soundwalk” iPhone App if you have an iPhone!
- Watch a video about how it works
- Skim Aja Martin, “Virtual Progression: The High Line as Verdant Infoscape,” Masters Thesis, Southern Methodist University, 2011 – Pay particular attention to “Virtual Augmentation,” pp. 42-62.
WEEK 9: March 28
Iconic Images: Photography & Architecture
What different functions has architectural photography served, what audiences does it appeal to? How does photography render space, and what is photographic space? What is the relationship between the photographed and the “real” building?
- James Ackerman, “On the Origins of Architectural Photography” In Kester Rattenbury, Ed., This is Not Architecture: Media Constructions (New York: Routledge, 2002): 26-35.
- Maria Antonella Pelizzari, “From Stone to Paper: Photographs of Architecture and the Traces of History” In Pelizzari, Ed., Traces of India: Photography, Architecture, and the Politics of Representation, 1850-1900 (Montreal/New Haven: Canadian Centre for Architecture / Yale Center for British Art / Yale University Press, 2003): 22-57.
- Pierluigi Serraino, “Framing Icons: Two Girls, Two Audiences / The Photographing of Case Study House #22” In Kester Rattenbury, Ed., This Is Not Architecture: Media Constructions (New York: Routledge, 2002): 127-135.
- Fred A. Bernstein, “Structural Integrity and People, Too” New York Times (January 22, 2010).
- Rob Walker, “Go Figure” New York Times (February 4, 2011).
Some of our readings for next week will address architectural photography, too.
WEEK 10: April 4
Le Corbusier: Designer as Media Maven
Beatriz Colomina argues that “modern architecture only becomes modern with its engagement with the media” – and that Le Corbusier was perhaps the first architect to recognize that media was a “new context of [architectural] production, existing in parallel with the construction site.” How did Le Corbusier choose to mediate himself and his work – and how did his media and architectural production practices inform one another? How do contemporary architects make use of new forms of media production to inform their design practice and construct their “brand”?
Guest: Molly Wright Steenson, Doctoral Candidate, Princeton University
- Jean-Louis Cohen, Introduction to Toward an Architecture Trans. John Goodman (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2007): 1-78 [feel free to skim over much of “The Break with Ozenfant” through “An Eye Opener for the Young,” pp. 43-57].
- Beatriz Colomina, “Le Corbusier and Photography” Assemblage 4 (October 1987): 6-23. [This essay contains many seeds that later bloomed in Colomina’s excellent Privacy and Publicity: Modern Architecture as Mass Media (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1994).]
- Beatriz Colomina, “Architectureproduction” In Kester Rattenbury, Ed., This Is Not Architecture: Media Constructions (New York: Routledge, 2002): 207-221.
WEEK 11: April 11
Circulation: Newspapers, Plans Books, Critical Journals, Design Magazines
What is the relationship between the pattern book, the theoretical journal, the design magazine, and the practice, reception, and experience of architecture? How did new commercial printing forms and formats influence the design of public and private spaces? And how has architecture informed the form and content of design publications?
- Lewis Mumford, “The Paper Dream City” in The Culture of Cities (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,  1966): 255-8.
- Gwendolyn Wright, “Populist Visions” In Moralism and the Model Home: Domestic Architecture and Cultural Conflict in Chicago, 1873-1913 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000): 9-45.
- Brian McLaren, “Under the Sign of Reproduction” Journal of Architectural Education 45:2 (February 1992): 98-106.
- Nancy Levinson, “Critical Beats” Places (March 6, 2010).
- Shannon Mattern, “Click/Scan/Bold: The New Materiality of Architectural Discourse and Its Counter-Publics” Design and Culture 3:3 (November 2011): 329-53.
- Browse through the website for the Clip/Stamp/Fold exhibition
WEEK 12: April 18
Books & Buildings: Print & Architecture
What parallels exist between the architectures of the page and codex and the architecture of physical space? Was Hugo right: Does the rise of the print medium necessarily spell the demise of earlier forms of communication and embodiments of cultural values, including architecture? How did the rise of print influence architectural education and practice? Where do we find material texts even in our contemporary, mediatized physical landscape.
- Lewis Mumford, “Architectural Forms” in The Culture of Cities (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1966): 128-135.
- Victor Hugo, “This Will Kill That” in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831) – or download as an audio book.
- Neil Levine, “The Book and the Building: Hugo’s Theory of Architecture and Labrouste’s Bibliothéque Ste-Geneviéve” In Robin Middleton, Ed., The Beaux Arts and Nineteenth-Century French Architecture (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1982): 138-173. [This is the most traditionally architectural historical text we’re reading this semester. It might be a challenge. Don’t get bogged down in the historical details; instead, I’d encourage you simply to look out for real-life connections between Hugo and his contemporary, the architect Henri Labrouste.]
- Hal Foster, “Bigness” London Review of Books (November 29, 2001).
- Skim through Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Yes is More!: An Archicomic on Architectural Education (Taschen 2009): If you have an iPad and $10 to spare, check out the digital version. You could also buy the printed book for $20, or you could simply leaf through here and watch the first 5 minutes or so of this video. [We’ll talk more about comics and illustration next week.]
- Optional: Rob Walker, “Implausible Futures for Unpopular Places” Places (July 25, 2011).
WEEK 13: April 25
Inscribed Space: Drawing & Architecture
How was space designed and experienced in an oral, or aural, age and in a writing culture – in a time before the printing press, as many have argued, brought fixity and linearity to the word and the world? What happens when a design is translated from word to image? How is the character of the “drawing” instrument – the pencil, paintbrush, or mouse – reflected in the buildings drawn and developed? What unique qualities of architecture can contemporary drawings practices—comics, cartoons, graphic novels, etc.—capture?
- James Ackerman, “The Conventions and Rhetoric of Architectural Drawing” In Origins, Imitations, Conventions: Representation in the Visual Arts (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2002): 293-317.
- Mark Hewitt, “Representational Forms and Modes of Conception: An Approach to the History of Architectural Drawing” Journal of Architectural Education 39:2 (Winter 1985): 2-9.
- Look through MoMA’s architectural drawings collection and its “The Changing of the Avant-garde: Visionary Architectural Drawings from the Howard Gilman Collection” online exhibition.
- Thomas A. Bredehoft, “Comics Architecture, Multidimensionality, Time; Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth” Modern Fiction Studies 52:4 (Winter 2006): 869-90.
- Dan Hill, “Teaching and Drawing Urban Sensing” City of Sound (September 2, 2009).