The numerous crises of the past year have presented us with images of neighborhoods on fire, cities closed to human activity, vandalism and rioting inside normally secure facilities such as the United States Capitol, and the brutal suppression of protests in spaces designed specifically for peaceful public gathering. Central to these all is the glaring but almost never discussed presence of architecture—and more importantly, its intentional abuse, destruction, forced occupation, and purposeful misuse. Architectural destruction such as this, or general decay, indexes not only the failure of individual buildings, but also of technologies, economies, communities, or, at times, entire civilizations. These acts against architecture, therefore, can oftentimes be far more impactful than the creation of the buildings themselves- functioning as architecture does as the backdrop of our lives if not our very physical definition of reality. And yet architecture is rarely discussed in these terms—as a framework of human reality that itself can be damaged or destroyed, thereby producing significant psychological effects on individuals, communities, and nations. Rarely do we consider the buildings that we propose as architects or those that surround us as citizens through decay, destruction, or their end-of-life, or afterlife. This is a course about such ruination in physical terms, but also philosophical ones that will help us determine new relationships between architecture, meaning, cultural value and the act of building. Download current syllabus

All Semesters

1228b
Spring 2020
Ruins and Ruination
Mark Foster Gage
1228b
Spring 2019
Disheveled Geometries: Ruins and Ruination
Mark Foster Gage