AP/CLTR 4810 3.00
Architecture & Social Change
Probes the complex relationship between architecture and social/cultural change in the 20th and 21st centuries with an emphasis on specific architectural "visions" and their intended/unintended consequences.
Modern architecture and design has often been based on identifiable visions and dreams of a future utopia made possible through good design and careful planning. Indeed, many architects and designers depict themlselves as visionaries capable of positivelyltering the social and cultural structures that dictate the course of everyday life. This course will probe the relationship between such visions and their intended or unintended results in terms of improving or seriously damaging the cultural fabrics of cities, towns, communities and individuals. The central focus will be on architects, designers, movements, projects and critics of the 20th and 21st centuries, such as the Bauhaus School, the Archigram Group, the International Style, Jane Jacobs, Leon Krier, Rem Koolhaas, Daniel Libeskind, and Zaha Hadid.
The course will be structured as a seminar, with a selection of case studies and readings serving as the platform for discussion and debate. Among the central issue to be probed, are the political and ethical questions raised by deliberate attempts to "remodel" societies through architectural/design models and practices. Can better design make the world into a better place? While there are many examples of failures that could be used to negate such optimism, there are also many instances where architectural/design visions have indeed made significant and positive alternations to social and cultural life. Given contemporary concerns over the environment, the role of architecture and design is particularly important in that it provides one context through which social and cultural structures (and the habits and behaviours associated with those structures) could potentially be reconfigured to decrease humanity's negative impact on the environment.