1st Year Undergraduate Lecture, ARC141
Syracuse University School of Architecture
Fall 2012 / 2013

Martin Hättasch

Teaching Assistants:
Rene Duchesne, Nathan Geller, Hamza Hasan, Robert Metzger
Tanya Bhatia, David Domke, Christopher Malone, Jeffrey Nedelka

Enrollment: 135

As architects we are faced with a dual reality that forces us to constantly negotiate between the realm of the physical object on the one, and the world of ideas on the other hand. As designers, we seek to give form to our higher aspirations, while as critical thinkers we interrogate our built environment and extract from it the ideas that shaped it. Whenever architects have put their pens to paper, the implication of each line was that it could potentially contain the beginnings of a universal system to order the world. From the sum of visions of what architecture ought to be has emerged a multi-faceted, often controversial picture that makes it impossible to find a singular answer to the simple question: “What is architecture?” today. Just as traditions of construction have been passed on and evolved, architects have taken up the ideas of their predecessors and adapted, critiqued and rejected them. This body of ideas - in treatises, manifestoes and built projects - has created a disciplinary discourse across the history of architecture.

This course is an introduction to some of the conversations within this discourse guided by four categories:

- Architecture as Discipline / Architecture as Profession

- Architecture as Cultural Practice

- Architecture as Physical Object

- Architecture’s Expanded Field

The goal of this class is to provide an insight in some of the debates that have occupied and continue to occupy architects’ minds and practices. You will encounter multiple and contradictory positions that have emerged in response to often similar questions. Focusing on the connection between the world of ideas and the world of forms, we will operate on both ends of the spectrum: Through original and secondary texts we will study fundamental positions that have emerged in architectural discourse. On the other hand you will be introduced to canonical buildings and practices as physical manifestoes of these positions.