ARCH 3308/6308/4408/6408
Architectures of Resistance and Empowerment In an Age of Late Capital

intricate, colorful rendering of city street from an aerial perspective

Arsenal of Exclusion and Inclusion by Interboro.

  • Instructor: Sarosh Anklesaria
  • Time: W 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 142 East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3

"The right to beauty is as important as the right to drainage . . . And when a new, planned building rises in the slum — be it a public toilet or a sewing cooperative — it immediately becomes a monument. It was conceived by an architect, it indicates things are changing . . . The philosopher Felix Guattari once said that aesthetics are fundamental and revolutionary!"

~Jorge Mario Jáuregui, "Brazilian Heatwave: Mr. Jáuregui's Neighborhood," interview, Visionaire (August 2001)

"We must defend architecture from the pessimism that has been attributed to it in order to utilise the practice's true potential. Such action, intellectual and practical, calls for a deeper reorientation between politics and aesthetics, not simply a reordering of power relations between groups, but the creation of new subjects and heterogeneous objects."

~Camillo Boano, "Architecture must be defended: informality and the agency of space," interview (April 2013)

If the normative production of architecture entails its inevitable collusion with the forces of capital, the present age of late neoliberal capitalism has only seen an intensification of this trend. Architects have increasingly lost the ability to shape cities to real estate and market-driven trends, reduced to designing condominiums for the one percent. That architecture can and should have a socially and politically progressive agenda was, after all, a defining attribute of modernism — to bring design to the masses, to produce not only a new aesthetic but also a new egalitarian order. Form thus became a political instrument of reducing social inequity and shaping the city. The present global crises of housing, economic disparity, ecological Armageddon, and political obscurantism have led some architects to seriously question the dominant tropes of architecture as both discipline and praxis. What are the tactics, strategies, manifestos, and actions through which architects can resist, upend, destabilize, and reinvent normative mechanisms of architectural production? How do such practices seek new modes of conceiving the architectural project and its representation; radically reinvent the brief, site, program, construct, tectonics, and/or notions of ownership? The seminar seeks to unpack new ways of conceiving and drawing an architecture of empowerment through a questioning of both the terms of architectural engagement as well as the means of architectural drawing and representation.

Instructor permission required:

Students must attend the first class.

View a PDF of this class description.