ARCH 3308/6308-131
AAP NYC: Writing The City

People sitting in a town square going about their daily lives with trees, and a bus on the street.

Camilo Vergara, The New Normal, New York City, 2020. photo/provided

  • Instructor: Cynthia Davidson
  • Time: M 9:05–12:10 p.m.
  • Location: NYC
  • Credits: 3

The discourse of architecture and cities is created and sustained by the writing of architects, critics, and historians. This seminar introduces students to the importance of writing in architecture and ranges from why one needs to write, to how to write, to what to write. Students will read important examples of writing in architecture by Le Corbusier, Rem Koolhaas, and Keller Easterling, in cultural theory by Roland Barthes and Walter Benjamin, as well as contemporary critics and authors such as Teju Cole and Anne Carson. Each reading illustrates different ways of perceiving and imagining architecture and the city that can only be conveyed through writing. Collectively, the writings serve both as a minor history of cities, particularly New York, and as idea models for the student's own writing. Lectures, readings, and class discussions will be enriched by short, in-class writing and/or editing and rewriting exercises that students will read aloud in class. In addition to weekly reading assignments, there will be weekly assignments to write 250 or 500-word observations on New York City, which will be seen as a living laboratory of ideas, from the towers on the skyline to the street corner and the many scales in between.

View a PDF of this class description.


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