This seminar concentrates on issues that influence the way modern buildings and their architects are perceived by critics, scholars, and the public. The careers of such architects as Frank Lloyd Wright, Eero Saarinen, Louis Kahn, Philip Johnson, Robert Venturi, and Frank Gehry provide a framework for the examination of how patronage, fashion, social change, theory, finance, and politics affect the place of prominent designers and their work in the historical record. Readings include such critics as Lewis Mumford, Ada Louise Huxtable, Blair Kamin, Christopher Hawthorne, Michael Kimmelman, and Martin Filler. Responding to lectures by the instructor and visitors, students develop criteria for judging architectural quality (program, site, “message,” details), and then apply those criteria in three brief analytical papers that build toward a fifteen-page research paper investigating the elements that contributed to the “success,” “failure,” or “reevaluation” of an individual building, an architect’s career, or a body of architectural work. All written assignments are reviewed in individual conferences with the instructor. Limited enrollment.

All Semesters

Spring 2018
Case Studies in Architectural Criticism
Carter Wiseman