A Global History of Architecture — Part 1

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Course Date: 23 September 2014 to 16 December 2014 (12 weeks)

Price: free

Course Summary

This course is a history of architecture from a global perspective.

Course Instructors

Mark Jarzombek

Mark Jarzombek, Professor of the History and Theory of Architecture, is the Associate Dean of MIT's School of Architecture and Planning. He teaches in the History Theory Criticism program (HTC) of the Department of Architecture. Jarzombek has taught at MIT since 1995, and works on a wide range of historical topics from the Renaissance to the modern. Jarzombek received his architectural Diploma in 1980 from the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zurich and his Ph.D. from MIT in 1986. He was a CASVA fellow (1985), Post-doctoral Resident Fellow at the J. Paul Getty Center for the History of Humanities and Art, Santa Monica, California (1986), a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ (1993), at the Canadian Center for Architecture (2001) and at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (2005). He has worked extensively on nineteenth and twentieth century aesthetics, and the history and theory of architecture. He has published several books including a textbook entitled A Global History of Architecture (Wiley Press, 2006) with co-author Vikram Prakash with the noted illustrator Francis D.K. Ching. He is the author of Architecture of First Societies: A Global Perspective (forthcoming, Wiley Press, 2013). Jarzombek teaches a range of courses from the undergraduate to the Ph.D. level.

Vikramāditya “Vikram” Prakāsh

Vikram Prakāsh is an architect/urbanist and a historian. He received his B. Arch. from the Chandigarh College of Architecture, Panjab University (1986), and an M.A. and Ph.D. in History and Theory of Architecture and Urbanism from Cornell University, New York (1989, 1994). He teaches at the University of Washington in Seattle. Prakāsh has served as the Associate Dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and as Chair of the Department of Architecture. Currently, he is the Director of the Chandigarh Urban Lab. He teaches studios, lecture courses and seminars on issues in global architecture and urbanism and postcolonial history and theory. His published books include Chandigarh's Le Corbusier: The Struggle for Modernity in Postcolonial India (University of Washington Press, 2002), A Global History of Architecture (with Francis DK Ching & Mark Jarzombek, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006) and Colonial Modernities: Building, Dwelling and Architecture in British India and Ceylon (co-edited with Peter Scriver, Routledge, 2007). Prakash is writing Chandigarh 2.0: The Modern City in Neoliberal India (forthcoming: Routledge, 2013) and a textbook on the history of the architecture of India.

Ana Maria Leon

Ana Maria Leon is a Ph.D. candidate in the History Theory and Criticism Section of the Department of Architecture at MIT. Her scholarly work focuses on the friction between design, pedagogy, and political agendas in architecture. She has been published in Log, thresholds, PLOT, and JAE. She is editor of thresholds 41: REVOLUTION! - an interdisciplinary look at that topic - and is currently writing her dissertation, which maps discussions on Surrealism, Freudian psychoanalysis, totalitarianism, and migration in Buenos Aires as they took shape in the social housing projects of architect Antonio Bonet.

Course Description

How do we understand architecture? One way of answering this question is by looking through the lens of history. This course will examine architecture through time, beginning with First Societies and extending to the 15th century. Though the course is chronological, it is not intended as a linear narrative, but rather aims to provide a more global view, by focusing on different architectural "moments." The lectures will give students the appropriate grounding for understanding a range of buildings and contexts. The material in the lectures will be supplemented by readings from the textbook A Global History of Architecture. Each lecture analyzes a particular architectural transformation arising from a dynamic cultural situation. How did the introduction of iron in the ninth century BCE impact regional politics and the development of architecture? How did new religious formations, such as Buddhism and Hinduism, produce new architectural understandings? What were the architectural consequences of the changing political landscape in northern Italy in the 14th century? How did rock-cut architecture move across space and time from West Asia to India to Africa? How did the emergence of corn impact the rise of religious and temple construction in Mexico? These are typical questions that the lectures will address.

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