Inverting the Iceberg: Ethics, Efficacy and Architecture in the Globalized Economy
The course is an interdisciplinary seminar, deliberately crossing the boundaries among theory, professional practice and pedagogical studies, and bringing into play the significance for architecture of issues in economics, sociology, criminology, political science, and intellectual history. This broad scope is essential in addressing paradigms of value and action as they constitute ethical (or counter-ethical) models within architectural practice, education and criticism. Based upon an ongoing research project that examines the involvement of the architectural profession and academy in global economic and political shifts, the course seeks, through readings, discussion and case studies, to unpack and excavate assumptions about propriety and transgression in the day-to-day practices of architecture. Today, as opportunities present themselves in China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Dubai, Qatar, how do we decide what the "right thing" is to do?
In particular, the course examines the effects of the sometimes antagonistic, sometimes collusive, sometimes collaborative relationship between profession and academy in the development of these assumptions. We will examine the political economy of the relations between practitioners and critics, between publications and public relations, intellectual ethics and democratic practices.
Specific architectural practices that can be examined in these terms include Rem Koolhaas/OMA, Herzog & de Meuron, BIG/Bjarke Ingels, Norman Foster, MVRDV, Steven Holl, Zaha Hadid/Patrik Schumacher, Bernard Tschumi, Frank Gehry, Richard Rogers, Daniel Libeskind, William McDonough, their more recent progeny, and the critics who revolve around them; and, for historical comparison, those who have designed and written for or under questionable political or economic regimes, such as Giuseppe Terragni, Piacentini, Albert Speer, Philip Johnson, Oscar Niemeyer, and architects in practice in South Africa under apartheid.
We will examine the architect as tough guy, as fighter pilot, as arbitrageur; as mafioso, as "organic intellectual", as courtier, as insider trader, as multinational executive, as organ-player, and as closet eugenicist.
The course will appeal to the intellectually adventurous.
Old Course Number: APFC 6100