Schedule + Readings

For General Reference:

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WEEK 1: January 25
Introductions, Preview, Gauging Your Experience & Interests

Discuss:

  • 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 HouseAssemblage 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!]

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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?

Readings:

Walter Benjamin is ubiquitous in media-architecture research. We’ll think about why – and consider alternatives.

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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!)

Readings:

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WEEK 4: February 15

Interface Space

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?

Readings:

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 RealityArtforum 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 SpaceVisual 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?

Readings:

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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?

Readings:

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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?

Readings:

Listenings:

  • 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]

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SPRING BREAK: March 14

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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.

Readings/Viewings Listenings:

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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?

Readings:

Some of our readings for next week will address architectural photography, too.

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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

Readings:

  • 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 PhotographyAssemblage 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.

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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?

Guest @ 5:00: Alan Rapp, Editor, DomusWeb International; Founder, Alan Rapp Studio; Former Senior Editor, Chronicle Books

Readings:

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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.

Readings:

  • 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, “BignessLondon 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 PlacesPlaces (July 25, 2011).

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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?

Readings:

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WEEK 14: May 2
Student Presentations

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WEEK 15: May 9
Student Presentations

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