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Contemporary Architecture


This course is a survey of contemporary architecture around the world in the context of key historical debates. Contemporary architecture is often conceived as ahistorical or post-historic, especially because of practitioners' attempts to mark a separation from tradition and distinguish themselves as "avant-garde." Nevertheless, the reality is that the majority of today's most influential architectural practitioners and theorists were educated in institutions based in a long and vested modernist tradition. In this seminar, we will explore the contradiction between, on the one hand, a declaration of ahistoricity and avant-gardism, and on the other, the resurfacing of various aspects of the disciplinary legacy in contemporary practice. We will also attempt to theorize the reasons behind the legacy's simultaneous disavowal and reappearance: for purposes of persuasion, earnest inquiry, irony, and conscious attempts to discredit and deny tradition. We will draw upon historical tradition to trace and situate a set of issues that remain compelling for designers today, including globalization, sustainability, design techniques, surveillance, and others. The case studies we will examine include projects of global relevance since 1968. The purpose of this course is to help students develop a critical understanding of contemporary practice and to enable them to situate their own work within a historical trajectory.

Credits 3 Credits
Prerequisites * PR450
Co-Requisites None.
Fulfills MArch: Required
Fall, Spring, Summer


* Prerequisites listed are for onsite degree programs only.  For questions regarding prerequisites for Professional & Continuing Education, The Sustainable Design Institute or The Landscape Institute please call the office at 617-585-0101 or email pce@the-bac.edu. For questions regarding prerequisites for the Distance track Master of Architecture please call 617-585-0390 or email dmarch@the-bac.edu. If you are looking at the course page of a 4000 series course, the prerequisites listed on the page do apply to you.

For degree students contact Academic Advising at advising@the-bac.edu.