What We Don't Talk About When We Talk About Architecture (summer)

Permission of Instructor


  • Workshop occurs in Summer 2020 but registration is for the Fall 2020 term.
  • Expected number of work hours per week: 9
  • To enroll: Interested students should write a short explanation of their motivation. The deadline for submission will be Friday, June 5.

The scope of architectural discourse has historically been narrow, revolving around Eurocentric, capitalistic, male interpretations of the built environment. But architecture as a medium operates on a wider spectrum, and academic discourse must be able to address the different challenges posed by complex identities, geographies, and political contexts. What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Architecture is a workshop which critically explores the intersections between architecture and issues rooted in race, gender, and class. Collaboration is critical to the course design, as we collectively acknowledge the strengths and shortcomings of our respective knowledge and seek to learn from each other and from guest speakers. We also acknowledge the importance of personal identity and experience that shape our perceptions of the world. Thus, the course will culminate in the production of personalized syllabi that reflect the questions and interests of each participant. These syllabi could contain readings, podcasts, videos, art, interviews, and architecture projects. The syllabi will be combined to create a book / multimedia document that convey the collective and personal challenges as well as potentials of grappling with issues of race, gender, and class within architectural education.         

The course will be broken into two main parts. First, we will engage with critical theories about the built environment. Race, gender, and class will be explored through themes of subjective experience, property, and solidarity. We hope to provide background information to help students develop vocabularies and theoretical groundings. Second, we will engage in these topics as they explicitly relate to our architectural education by focusing on studio culture, reviews, and architectural practice.        

Each week participants will read media related to these topics, and will engage in discussions to learn from each other and broaden their understandings of the discipline. Students will then choose a resource from provided lists or add their own resources to their personalized syllabi. Lastly, students will reflect on these topics through weekly written and/or visual deliverables.        Aside from “deliverables”, we hope to offer a space for personal growth and collective discomfort, where students can develop the language to engage with concepts of race, gender, and class in their practice of architecture