The seminar explores the pleasures, perils, and potential productivity of architecture’s love affair with, or faith in, systems of standards. From the belief that the proper combinations of geometry would actually generate transcendence in ecclesiastical architecture, to the various adoptions of a neoclassical language for the redemption of buildings or cities, to the modular systems that would allow modernism to rewrite the world, to the hidden mysteries of ISO’s (International Organization for Standardization) supposedly rationalizing decisions, episodes in the alchemy of standards feature many architectural disciples. This seminar studies the ways in which the desire for standards has created isomorphic aesthetic regimes as well as productive renovations of construction and assembly. The seminar also explores the more expansive organs of decision-making that overwhelm and dictate to the architectural discipline, trumping the internal theories of design society with universal standards of much more consequence. While the seminar revisits familiar architectural theory, it also visits some less-familiar episodes such as Eiffel’s prefabricated cathedrals designed for distant French colonies, the origin of Sweets Catalog, the context of Konrad Wachsmann’s modular systems, or ISO’s control over everything from credit card thickness to construction industry protocols. As a true seminar, the first meetings are structured around collective readings and discussions, and the final meetings focus on individual research topics. Limited enrollment.