ARCH3308/6308 4408/6408
Special Topics in Theory: Building Agency

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photo / Lucien Kroll, La MéMé

  • Instructor: Lily Chi
  • Time: M 9:05⁠–⁠11:00 a.m.
  • Location: 157 E. Sibley Hall
  • Credits: 3
  • Territory of Investigation: Architecture and Ecology, Architecture and Urbanism

Global crises in resource depletion, environmental degradation, structural inequity, and their lethal social and humanitarian consequences have reopened questions concerning architecture's intertwinement with broader systems and frameworks. If architectural work can be prefigured institutionally, economically, and politically, what are the possibilities for pursuing critical, resistant, or even activist trajectories in contemporary practice? Building Agency explores this question by focusing on critical and creative efforts to re-imagine the agency of the architectural artifact. The class will take up selected texts and projects spanning the post-World War II period to contemporary times. These reflections and pursuits of an expanded spatial or material agency offer opportunity also to unpack the common assumptions about the built form that they critique–and the frameworks, processes, and interests that sustain such assumptions. The discussion will focus on what these works and ideas offer for an engaged practice, and the limiting conditions and contexts of such practice. Course requirements include weekly readings, active participation in class debates, 1-2 presentations or discussion organizations, and a term project.

Instructor permission required:

Strong experience in critical reading, writing and architectural analysis.

View a PDF of this class description.


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