Elective Seminar
Syracuse School of Architecture
Spring 2012

Martin Hättasch

15 (graduate & advanced undergraduate)

The immediate post-WWII period saw the emergence of two trajectories in architectural discourse: While Colin Rowe’s formalism insisted on a disciplinary definition that remained autonomous in its formal ambitions, Team X’s focus on relationship over form ultimately set the tone for architecture’s continuous expansion into unlimited flows, field conditions and soft systems. This course will examine the possibility of a third lineage: the call for a New Monumentality in 1943 might well have been the starting point for an architectural project that never came to be. In an attempt to consolidate architecture as a tool to address questions of democratic expression and increasing urban fragmentation, it suggested a renewed civic experience through the architectural form of the object. Starting from the debate around the New Monumentality, this course will examine instances throughout the history of postwar architecture in which the Monumental has resurfaced in discourse, and architects have addressed (and continue to address) publics in a changing urban context through bounded form. What are these forms, how do they relate to the ambitions of architecture as a public enterprise, and what is their relevance in today’s context? The class will largely rely on architectural evidence: Our main focus are close readings of formal strategies employed to construct specific ideas about the public. Complementary texts allow us to place and evaluate buildings in the larger trajectory of architectural discourse and the often conflicted search for a blueprint for public form in the city.

Student project images: Miguel Vega [1], Laya Pattana [2]