052-0806-00L  History and Theory of Architecture IV

SemesterSpring Semester 2021
LecturersL. Stalder
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionGerman

AbstractThis two-semester course is an introduction to the history of architecture from the Second Industrial Revolution in the 1850s to the Oil Crisis in the 1970s in Europe. Students will be able to identify the “things”—technical objects and ensembles—that transformed architecture, and to relate them to the technical, scientific, and cultural concerns that introduced them as key features of modernity.
ObjectiveTo introduce students to the history and theory of architecture, the course has three objectives.
First, students will be able to identify the “things” that transformed architecture in modernity, and the crucial events, buildings, theories, and actors that characterize their history.
Second, students will be able to describe how these “things” operated at different scales, focusing less on the formal level, and naming instead the different forms of expertise that constituted them historically, as well as the processes within which they were embedded.
Third, students will be able to reflect on a series of apparatuses, devices, and building parts that are in fact micro-architectures which have often been neglected, despite their pivotal role in shaping the daily lives of modern societies.
ContentThe course proposes a new approach to the study of the history and theory of architecture in Europe during modernity. It focuses less on single architects or their buildings, and more on those “things” that have brought profound transformations in the built environment and daily life over the last 200 years, such as the revolving door, the clock, and the partition.
The notion of “thing” includes both the concrete building parts and the concerns associated with them, such as material performance, social synchronization, and individual expression. To understand buildings as assemblages of “things,” therefore, does not mean to diminish their significance, but on the contrary to add reality to them, to understand them in terms of the complex, historically situated, and diverse concerns within which they were designed.
Each lecture introduces one “thing” through a genealogy that shaped it, from patents and scientific discoveries and technological advancement, to cinema, the visual arts, and literature. A set of renowned projects as well as lesser-known buildings from all around Europe offer a variety of case studies to describe these “things,” to understand how they operated in relation with one another, and to identify the theories and tactics that architects mobilized to make sense of them.
Lecture notesLink
Prerequisites / NoticeLocation:
1. hour: Lecture: Link
2./3. hour: Seminars in groups on Zoom