ARCH 3819/5819-103
Materiality in Architecture

Pavilion with a curving roof supported by large poles

  • Instructor: Peter Christensen
  • Time: T 12:20–2:15 p.m.
  • Location: 261B East Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3

This seminar will examine theoretical, phenomenological, and technological aspects of materiality in architecture from circa 1800 to the present. Architecture of the modern period was conceived anew largely on the basis of the invention of new materials and the enhanced performance of old ones. The importance of materiality in the making of architecture in the modern period, however, has nevertheless been subsumed under the more fashionable rubrics of form, function, and cultural meaning. This seminar seeks to retrieve the inherent value of materiality in the study of architecture while also stressing broader social and political implications. A broad palette of materials, including wood, glass, iron, steel, concrete, plastic, and tensile fabrics will be studied in depth. Class discussion will revolve around the reading of key primary texts by figures like Viollet-le-Duc, Giedion, Le Corbusier, and Venturi and Scott Brown in tandem with in-depth case studies from across the globe and important secondary texts.

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