Architectural Design Theory and Methodologies — The Agency of Architectural Research: the 2014 Venice Biennale

Required for the Design SMArch students, this class is open to other advanced MArch, SMArch and PhD students by permission of the instructor.

Design as Research | Research as Design

Ten years ago the French historian of science and philosopher Bruno Latour proposed that our time is characterized by a transition from the culture of science to the culture of research. Research, he said, creates controversies, it does not resolve disputes, as science presumably did. And, in the last decade, all reasonably good (hip) schools of architecture in the US and Europe advertise their promise of contribution to the field and beyond by enumerating their research labs. But while lab may indeed be the popular contemporary model of producing new knowledge, the discipline of architecture has relied on research (exactly in terms in which it interests Latour) throughout modernity. Research that produces controversies, and renders objects familiar through narrating them, is in part what draws Latour to architecture, which, unlike science, never claimed to traffic in truths, but always in discursive bargains.

Establishing two different modes of instrumentality of research for the architectural discipline — research as design and design as research — the class will address methodological questions that affect and determine the entire spectrum of advanced work in architecture, from its most practical end in construction, through operative criticism to contemporary hybrid modes of deploying architectural knowledge to cultural and artistic ends.

The goals of this class are two-fold. On one end, the class will problematize research for architectural design in methodological terms. On the other end, it will be the laboratory in which students will conduct research directed toward the production of the American Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale. In order to accomplish the latter, students will perform a form of research as design: by researching and narrating the research conducted in the American architectural office over the last hundred years.

Limted to 12