This course studies relays between industrialization and architecture to tease out a recurrent tension in the 19th and 20th c.: architecture as one-off creation, versus buildings as mass-produced good. As industrial development quickened unevenly over the course of the 20th c., the pace of building, and its rate of obsolescence, gradually accelerated. At the same time, architects struggled to absorb industrialization into their practices--or to shut it out of architectural discourse entirely. The course studies a range of responses to technological change, from industrialization to a post-Fordist world. We will narrate the changing identity of architecture in relation to its technologies, considering the phenomenon of acceleration on a practice that emphasized the production of stable objects constructed over a lengthy period.
Close reading of selected texts and buildings will include a range of historical and theoretical texts and a series of oppositions: Marx's analysis of industrial capitalism in relation to the development of the factory; Hilbersheimer's Großstadt vs. Fordism, the Bauhaus and cast concrete construction, James Stirling's extruded buildings and theories about "Endless" architecture, contemporary massive infrastructures of commerce and their impact on building. Topics may also include the architecture of World War II, prefabrication, systems building, Jean Prouvé, Levittown, the Metabolists, and recent adaptations of mass building systems to parametrics and mass customization.
Requirements for the course will include: presentation and discussion of assigned texts in class, one in-progress presentation of research project, and one final project.