This seminar will explore the state of “canon” in the discipline of architecture. While the term likely conjures in the mind a list of familiar figures who are, for various reasons, judged to be important to the history of architecture–today we more clearly recognize that this same list has historically had an inexcusable lack of diversity on nearly all fronts. This is not to disparage the accomplishments of architects currently covered in history courses, but rather to acknowledge that the specific focus on limited groups is not sufficient for an equitable future discipline of architecture. This leaves architecture with a conundrum. Do we eliminate the very concept of a canon altogether? Or do we try to rebuild it with a broader perspective with regards to time period, geography, gender, race, and other factors? This course will discuss these options but ultimately accept the latter as, at least temporarily, axiomatic in order to explore the potential for the reconstruction of a new concept of canon retooled for a 21st century of discourse.
In this course each student will become a detective, and seek to re-discover the work of architects and designers who may have been unfairly excluded from deserving attention. In no way will the class consider itself to be an institutional gatekeeper for architectural canon, but rather will seek only to re-discover forgotten figures for introduction into the marketplace of ideas within architecture and its history. How we will do this is through the publication of a book- for which we already have a contract with the art-house publisher, Atelier Editions.
Each student will be responsible for producing 2-3 “candidate contributions” to the book- each about architectural figures that they believe to be important additions to the larger discussion of architectural history and perhaps the future of its canon. Each student will therefore leave the class as a (soon to be) published author and will, as a second agenda for the seminar, be exposed to the process of how one publishes a book; through writing, editing, designing, formatting, licensing and ultimately printing. This class will be heavily discussion-based, as we collectively discuss and debate the figures to be included in the limited space of the book, and architectural history. Limited Enrollment.