Prof. Dutta | TA Patrick

Instructor: Arindam Dutta
e-mail: adutta@mit.edu
Room #: 3-305B
Office Hours: Thursdays, 1-3.
Phone: x3-1432.

Teaching Assistant: Patrick Haughey
e-mail: phaughey@mit.edu
Units: 3-0-6 Level: G
Required of all first year M.Arch. Students.

Course Description

General study of modern architecture as responses to important technological, cultural, environmental, aesthetic and theoretical challenges after the European Enlightenment. Begins with the archaeological digs into a classical past (Rome, Greece, Egypt) as well as exploratory travels into the "others" of Europe to examine the modern origins of architectural history itself within the profession. Ends with the contemporary era of "globalization" and the politics of "development" in North and South and its relevance to self-titled trans-national practitioners such as Rem Koolhaas. The course will subsequently reprise the history of architecture through its use of contemporary ideologies, such as organicism and technology, its provenance within administrative and legal structures, the changing conditions of the practice in response to economic conditions and structures of production, and their role in shaping and understanding social and aesthetic processes at large. Topics cover a wide range of debates on colour, drawing, ornament, structure, construction, material, inhabitation, gender, class, race, nationalism, etc. in architecture. In setting up these constraints, the course will also focus on aspects of architectural theory, historiography, and design in their complicity and resistance with texts of power, specifically with r egard to the immense transformations wrought in different cultural contexts by colonial, industrial and post-industrial expansions, and the complicity of the ideas of European modernism in securing these arenas. The course therefore seeks to establish new conceptual relationships between canonical themes of modernity framed within a certain "Europe" in relation to the emergence of a global modernity in the world at large. Explores modern architectural history through thematic exposition rather than as simple chronological succession of ideas.


Course Timetable
(view printable .pdf version)

Wednesday, September 5 Introduction: The History of Architectural History.
  Recommended viewing: Seinfeld episodes:
  1) Episode 78. The Marine Biologist: A woman Jerry and George know from college asks about George so Jerry tells her that he is a marine biologist. Famous line from George Castanza to Jerry, "Why did you tell her I was a marine biologist? Why couldn't you tell her I was an architect. You know I've always wanted to pretend that I was an architect." A Russian writer throws Elaine's electronic organizer out the car window and hits a woman in the head. Golden Boy is Jerry's favorite shirt but it doesn't make it through the wash. Kramer hits golf balls at the beach.
  2) Episode 148 - The Van Buren Boys: Official description: George interviews people for the foundation scholarship. Finds this kid who has terrible grades and wants to become an architect, fulfilling all of George's fantasies. Towards, the end of the episode, the student decides he wants to become an urban planner instead, driving George mad. Mr. Peterman buys Kramer's stories for his autobiography. Jerry dates someone who is socially challenged.
Week 1 Constructing the Past; Exploring Forth and Digging Under
Friday, September 7 See session 001 for readings
Wednesday, September 12 Discussion
Week 2 Prelude to an Architecture of Globalization: The Transatlantic Slave Trade
Friday, September 14 See session 002 for readings
Wednesday: September 19 Discussion
Week 3 Landscape; The Politics of Site
Thursday, September 21 See session 003 for readings
Wednesday, September 26 Discussion
Week 4 Architecture and Industrialism, Part 1: The Ghosts of Technology
Friday, September 28 See session 004 for readings
Wednesday, October 3 Discussion
Week 5 Architecture as Ornament
Friday, October 5
NOTE: Class meets early 8-9:30
See session 005 for readings
Wednesday, October 10 Discussion
Week 6 Architecture and Industrialism, Part 2: Masses, Classes and Regions
Friday, October 12 See session 006 for readings
Wednesday, October 17 Discussion
Week 7 Domesticity; Gender in Space
Friday - October 19
NOTE: Reschedule - Monday, October 22
See session 007 for readings
Wednesday, October 24 Discussion
Week 8 The Paper Architectures of the Avant-Garde
Friday, October 26 See session 008 for readings
Wednesday, October 31 Discussion
  Film: Part of the Struggle: Art and Politics, Germany 1919-1933.
Week 9 Body Talk; Body as Metaphor in Architecture
Friday, November 2 See session 009 for readings
Wednesday, November 7 Discussion
Week 10 Ludic Spaces; The Architecture of Play
Friday, November 9 See session 010 for readings
Wednesday, November 14 Discussion
Week 11 Lines Across the City; Architecture and the State
Friday, November 16 See session 011 for readings
Wednesday, November 21 Discussion
Friday, November 23 Thanksgiving Holiday
  Film: The Underground
(by Emir Kosturica)
Week 12 Post-War Narratives of "Development"
Wednesday, November 28 See session 012 for readings
Friday, November 30 Discussion
  Film: Taken For A Ride
Week 13 Semiotics / Signs
Wednesday, December 5 See session 013 for readings
Friday, December 7 Discussion
Week 14 Globalization and Transnationalism
Wednesday, December 12 See session 014 for readings
Exam Week  
17-21 December Exam Date TBA