Special Topics: Industrialization and Acceleration in Modern Building Culture
Claire Zimmerman
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
210 Tappan
3 Credit Seminar
*Meets with ARCH 603.002
Industrialization: This seminar will look at architecture's engagement with industrialization in two distinct arenas: that of building construction as geared increasingly towards prefabrication over the last two centuries; and that of mass media and image circulation over the same time frame. Since architecture initially became 'modern' through its engagement with mass media (rather than its rather limited success in engineering factory-produced architecture), we will consider the role of media culture in the creation of a 'culture of industrialization' for 20th c. architecture. We will also examine a variety of experiments in prefabricated building, to assess their successes and failures at proposing a marketable model for the building industry and the architecture market. The exhibition currently under development at MoMA will provide valuable material for our study; we will possibly travel to New York to see the show.

Acceleration: Throughout the semester, and through the range of topics described above, we will study another phenomenon of contemporary society that demands an entirely new approach to information and innovation: that of acceleration. It has long been clear that the moment of technological invention is often far less significant than the pace of innovation and improvement that follows; we will examine the affect of time and speed on our abilities to exploit new technological possibilities in both construction and media culture. Is there a moment when change begins to move much faster than we can possibly accommodate, given the pace of construction itself? At what point do we begin to find buildings that are obsolete before completion of construction? How, in an age of increasing acceleration, does architecture position itself in relation to innovation and dynamic change?

Requirements: Reading, attendance, and participation in class discussion; presentation of reading material on a periodic basis; one long presentation on a topic of the student's selection; final research paper or visual analysis project as agreed upon with instructor. Estimated cost of materials: $50 or more, but less than $100.