Architectural Design Theory and Methodologies

Required of: 
SMArchS (design)

This seminar looks to offer a broad historical survey of the notion of “design” as it applies to the plastic arts in general and architecture in particular; but this will extend to contemporary design theories and methodologies and speculate on emerging and anticipated future tendencies. The seminar will be pro-active, with students asked for analytical and inventive responses to the material presented, looking to frame heuretic design intelligence against a hermeneutic academic tradition.

The prime focus will be the relationship of technics and intellection, foregrounding the notions of “design” and “technology” in their history and becoming, and questioning their current ubiquity as generic aspirational tropes. We will ask what design and technology “are” within a context where their self-evident value is assumed, but where their specificity is seldom articulated.

We will look back to the development of proto-human aptitudes, even, and track successive technical paradigms through history as being marked by disjunctive shifts in intellection, identity formation and socio-political structure (3 registers of change). This is to offer an extended apparatus theory to account for the particularity of design-technology dualism through history, hopefully useful within an Institute of Technology that promotes inventive learning as a prime goal of its increasingly electrate education.

The course is most specifically targeted at SMArchS Design students to offer a conceptual background to underpin their development of an independent thesis; and it is twinned with a counterpoint Theory + Methodology course in the other Fall semester of their 2 year degree. But it should also be informative for senior MArch students as they begin independent thesis speculation, and any students interested in the enigmatic relationship of technical apparati with creative drives (in historic, contemporary and future contexts).

The seminar will primarily comprise the group of SMArchS Design students, but other SMArchS or MArch (or GSD DDes) students can petition to be included at the instructor’s discretion (numbers will be limited to permit it to function as a discursive seminar and active workshop  rather than as a lecture class).