ARCH 4408/6408; ARCH 3308/6308
Culture and Society: Body Space and the In Between (Revamped)

a girl leaning on her elbow in a cramped space

Alice Stuck in the White Rabbit's House, illustration by John Tenniel.

  • Instructor:
  • Time: F 10:10 a.m.–12:05 p.m.
  • Location: 304 Rand Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Ecology

This course will explore the role of the body in architecture and how this relationship has evolved historically and through different topics. Together we will investigate discourse surrounding this theme in the writing of Pallasmaa, Foucault, Federici, and Haraway– amongst others. They will help us understand how through the topic of body we can start to think about phenomenology, technology, cyborgs, race, gender, environment and many more in relationship to our practice. We will listen to podcasts, watch movie excerpts and explore work by experts that have been producing work that negotiates the boundary between the body and space, art and architecture—such as Léopold Lambert, Beatriz Colomina and Mabel O. Wilson, among others. We will speculate on new ways in which the body can both inform the production of space, and be rediscovered through it while addressing some of the burning issues of our times. Students are expected to bring their own related interests and questions to the seminar in one theme that they will develop throughout the semester resulting in a final essay with accompanying visuals.

Course requirements: weekly readings and participation in discussion; research presentation; final paper

“Architecture, in anyone’s definition of it, exists primarily to be at the service of the body. The question arises as to how to be most fully at the service of the body. Who would not want to live in a world built to serve the body to the nth degree? The question arises as to what the body is in the first place. Serving the body to the nth degree will include as much as the body bargains for and more.

It is mandated for the body that it fend off its own demise, and an architecture that would be unstinting toward the body, that would slavishly deliver up to the body all that it would seem to need, must take this as its mandate too.”   — Arakawa-Gins, Architectural Body

View a PDF of this class description.


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