Surv-World Architctr ILocation: CANVAS (CANVAS)
Crit Concepts in Design
Surv World Arch IG
I hope to achieve three interrelated objectives in my teaching; introduce conceptual categories necessary to appreciate the history of the physical environment, impart new reading and writing skills, and finally, to enhance the students’ ability to reflect upon their own intellectual and design assumptions. I incorporate the syllabus, assignments, field trips, audio-visual teaching aids, grouping study and the classroom environment to actualize these goals.
The syllabus and reading list lays out the intention and structure of the course, workload, and deadlines. It raises mutual expectations and gives students an opportunity to organize their time. The first class gives them an overview of the semester, the advantages and disadvantages of thematic and chronological organization, and the reasons for the choice of readings. My experience as a teacher has taught me that the most effective courses are the ones in which the professors are able to explain their choices, keep abreast of the latest scholarship, take note of students responses and demonstrate openness to changes in future offering of the course. I replicate this approach and regularly fine-tune the syllabus.
Courses in architectural history in liberal arts colleges attract students with diverse motivations. There are art and architectural majors, historians of the visual culture and those with lay fascination with the topic. This can make for an exciting learning environment if the students are encouraged to contribute to class meetings and work together. I use weekly assignments and group work to capitalize on this diversity of interests, turning it into a source of education and demonstrating the variety of relationship, which we enjoy to our physical surroundings. Each week students are paired up differently. Each pair is required to bring a coauthored response to the readings. This can either take the form of three questions, three most fascinating points they find in reading, or three of the most important categories of analysis applicable to the text. Their contributions are evaluated on the quality of both their form and content of writing. These not only stand in for the comprehension of the contributors, they also form the basis for class discussion. During class we map historical events and theories encountered in reading on a chart paper that grows as the semester proceeds. These two exercises have proven their worth. They ensure that students keep up with their readings and learn to synthesize, take notes, and record content. At the same time, they give me a sense of the students’ interests; they expose students to competing points of views. I have found teamwork not only to be an enjoyable tool for teaching but fostering friendships among students and developing their self-confidence. Field trips to buildings and towns help translate abstract historical and theoretical concerns to an experiential, tactile and spatial dimension.
In larger lecture classes without teaching assistants, circulating fact sheets to accompany the slides, audios or films that are used to animate the lecture helps students to manage the large amount of factual information being passed on in a short duration. This is particularly effective means of ensuring that undergraduates with little knowledge of the topic are able to keep up with new information. In such classes, I give a long sermon on the virtues of Q&A. A ten minutes session at the end of the lecture prompts participation, offering suggestions of the kind of questions they might ask. This technique is really to break the ice and liven up lectures. It gives students an opportunity to distinguish themselves in the group and I like creating this opportunity for them. I prefer a short end of the term paper over classroom exams, though in larger settings, a short mid-term exam is necessary to access my effectiveness and their progress. A term paper requires students to meet with me during office hours to discuss their ideas and research resources. I offer students special orientation session with a librarian to introduce them to the databases available for architectural research.
ARCH 6239 and ARCH 6210
From Enlightenment to Totalitarianism
The history of modern era is the history of mass-scale upheavals and high-speed changes in the world. It is an age of both exciting and disruptive contacts between different classes, cultures, technological and intellectual logics. This course revisits canonic moments in the history of modern architecture as both products and producers of the experience of modernity. We start with the epistemological revolution of Enlightenment, touch upon the optimism sparked by the first modular glass and steel building, the Crystal Palace in 1851 and end in the 1930’s when the ideologies of the modern movement were in their heroic moment and those of politics in its darkest moment. The readings and discussion emphasize the ways in which buildings may be interpreted in particular historical contexts, and includes an introduction to various strategies of readings, case-study analyses of architectural works, and background reading in 19th and 20th century architecture. The course looks at buildings and design ideologies against the socio-political, economic and cultural climate in which the architects consciously or intuitively defined their problems and solutions. We will consider architectural responses to a whole range of issues; industrialization, science, religion, consumerism, mass media, mass-politics, war, democracy, capitalism and socialism, the decline of aristocracy and the dominance of middle class values, and finally colonial, imperial and global imagination.
Introduction to Architecture
Introduction to the History of Architecture Course Overview This undergraduate course provides an introduction to the history of key tourist sites across the world from the ancient settlements of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East to the uneven urban development in Europe and Americas during the Quattrocento. It supplements the anecdotal knowledge found in tour guidebooks, smartphone apps and stereotypes with the latest scholarship on the history of architecture and planning. Class discussions and reading responses emphasize the connections and contrasts between the spatial and material concepts of Indus Valley Civilization, the Dynastic Egypt and the First Civilizations in the Americas. Examples reflect on the interface of oral and religion-centered worlds with the printing press, principles of humanism, and Islamic and European colonialism. The symbolism and cultural meaning of Athenian Propylaea, Parthenon, and Acropolis is juxtaposed in the following weeks with the construction and systems of technology of the Great Wall of China, and the spatial sequence and site planning of Gupta Period Temples, exemplifying Hindu cultural renaissance. Readings and lectures are supplemented with guest lectures, museum tours, film screenings, and radio broadcasts. The goal is to provide an insight into the roles that buildings have played in shaping human interactions and encourage students to translate this knowledge into subtle strategies for studio design and engagement with historical sites.
- "Avoid Formalist Interpretations of Architecture by Listening to Radio". Presentation in progress, 06/2013.
- "Figure of Speech: Reflections on the idea of Gesamtkunstwerk" . Presentation accepted, 04/2013.
- "Work of Art in the Culture of Mass Listening". Presentation accepted, 02/2013.
- “Oral Travelogues and New Preservation". Presentation accepted, 10/2012.