Architecture: Course

Jack D.Weiler

Supports Studio

Elfassy Natanel, Semester 1, Monday, 09:30-11:00
Klein Yossi, Dr. Arch.‎, Semester 1, Monday, 09:30-11:00
Chronicles of the Architectural Monument of TomorrowThe Course aims at providing the theoretical and historical background for the Architectural Monument of Tomorrow studio being given by the “Design Mechanisms” Research Unit. It’s objective is to offer the academic and research tools for the studio, and to aid the students in the construction of the ideas and theoretical propositions of their studio design projects.BackgroundSince the dawn of history - from the Tower of Babel, through the pyramids, the Egyptian, Assyrian and Greek temples - the architectural monument, both as a physical object as well as an abstract idea - has been a site for discourse and realization of sublime and heroic human aspirations; for the construction of social and cultural identity; for stretching the limits of human imagination and ingenuity. In modern times, the notion of the monument has stood at the center of the debate on architecture’s role and ability to advance humanity towards a better future. Against the grandiose and futuristic visions of expressionist and futurist architectural experiments and the American skyscraper revolution - and especially since the advent of postmodernist thought - a critical discourse had begun to develop with regard to architecture of the spectacle. Monumental architecture had started to become identified with human hubris; as a tool in establishing power and control; as a symbol of excess, of socio-economic disparity; as an environmental burden.The studio and the course combined, wish to reexamine the role and place of the architectural monument as a subversive typology within the city and society of the future. We will examine the social and cultural roles of the monument in an inquisitive, critical (hopefully not self-righteous) manner. But above all, we will aim at (literally) constructive reflection and production - designing new monuments as means toward creativity and innovation.Course description and objectivesWe will examine the parameters which constitute the definition of the “architectural monument” – what makes an architectural project a “monument” –we will deconstruct the concept and analyze the mechanisms that have shaped architectural monuments in the course of modernity.We will dive into the ideas behind architectural movements that endorsed the construction of monuments. Concentrating on the concepts of modernity that are relevant to our times, we will discuss the monument in various contexts – the political (imperialism, nationalism, the great wars, the cold-war, and post colonialism), the social (rise of the civic society and classes), the cultural (sociology of art, notion of the sublime, Frankfurt school and the notion of aura), science and technology (Enlightenment, positivism, industrialism, materials, digital revolution and information culture), and the economic (Capitalism, Marxism, globalization and more).The course will present the “monument” as a product of a complex set of power players and their dynamics: politicians, developers and financers, engineers, planners, economists, technocrats and consumers. We will also discuss the recourse critical backlashes against the phenomenon of “the monument” and their expression in art, film and literature. The course will assist the students in examining conceptual alternatives for their studio design work. Based on class discussions and supplementary personal research, each student will develop a manifest for “The Architectural Monument of Tomorrow” which will be designed in the studio.