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Bard College Catalogue 2020-21
ArchitectureFaculty: Ross Exo Adams and Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco (directors), Olga Touloumi
Overview: Architecture at Bard approaches the discipline and practice as a matter of public concern—an aesthetic spatial practice whose propositions aim to reconfigure our collective present toward more just futures. The program builds connections across architectural cultures, design techniques, histories, and research to equip students with an expansive and experimental attitude toward the field that simultaneously opens paths for engaging other disciplines spatially. The curriculum is designed to frame architecture as both an art form and an argument: it presents architecture as a historically situated and intellectually rigorous field in which the practice of design intersects with and draws from discourses outside its traditionally conceived boundaries. The program teaches students that architecture is both entangled with and operative in worlds beyond its disciplinary boundaries, but that it is also a site for transformative, insurgent spatial and material possibilities with which to imagine our worlds otherwise.
Requirements: To moderate in Architecture, students must complete two Critical Cultures of Architecture courses (Architecture 111, Art History 126); one Design Studio-Seminar (Architecture 121); one Elective Course on Space (various); and one Open Practices Workshop (Architecture 130). Additionally, they must present a portfolio of work to date, a brief essay that reflects on the work in the portfolio and speculates on the student’s future intellectual development within architecture, and a representative work from an elective course on space. Graduation requirements include three Critical Cultures of Architecture courses; three Design Studio-Seminars; two Electives on Space; two Open Practices Workshops; and the Senior Project.
Course Clusters: Structurally, the curriculum is composed of four families of courses that build upon this concept.
• Critical Cultures of Architecture (CCA) courses introduce architectural practice and techniques within a sociopolitical field, and address spatial histories, theories, research methods, and representation techniques.
• Design Studio-Seminars (DSS) pair design interventions and technique acquisition with a series of lectures, readings, and discussions around a given question.
• Elective Courses and Seminars on Space (ES) draw from courses across the College that offer ways to interrogate architecture and the production of space from the vantage point of nonarchitectural disciplines, works, and modes of inquiry.
• Open Practices Workshops (OPW) are month-long, 2-credit studio courses that, through guest practitioners and thinkers, expose students to a variety of contemporary practices and modes of architectural design.
Program Sequence: The curriculum builds a pedagogical sequence that cuts across the four course clusters to encourage common points of inquiry and give disciplinary and methodological progression over the duration of the program.
• Planetary: The study of architecture begins by recognizing that issues like climate change bring to the fore the transcalar relations that directly tie buildings, bodies, cities, and ecosystems together.
• Constituencies: The second phase grounds architectural design and discourse in the spatial concerns of specific social groups, movements, and struggles, opening a framework by which to develop projects alongside various groups, organizations, or actors that address issues such as spatial justice, housing rights, gentrification, and spatial inequalities of gender and race.
• Futures: The final phase mobilizes the intellectual maturity, design skills, and technical agility of the student to see architecture as a site of open experimentation in building collective futures through iterative design processes.
Recent courses offered through the multidisciplinary Architecture Initiative include Islands: Intensive Architecture Studio Workshop; The Architecture of an Urbanized Planet: Designing Body and World; Architectural Entanglements with Labor; Situating Architecture: Modernisms; The Politics of Infrastructure; Romanesque and Gothic Art and Architecture; Governing the World: An Architectural History; Urban American History; Film Animation; and Domesticity and Power.
Note: The Architecture Program does not offer an accredited professional degree. Students who wish to proceed to a professional degree program are encouraged to take one course in elementary calculus and one in classical physics. They are also encouraged to discuss entry requirements for graduate programs with their advisers.
Architecture as Media
CROSS-LISTED: EXPERIMENTAL HUMANITIES
This studio-based course introduces architectural tools of communication and techniques of contemporary digital drafting, diagramming, mapping, and image making, all positioned against a survey of paradigmatic moments in the history of architecturally related visual cultures. Topics addressed range from the emergence of the floor plan to contextualizing the collages of El Lissitzky, the sci-fi animations of Archigram, the films of Ray and Charles Eames, the CGI-rendered culture of late capitalist architecture, the activism of Architecture Lobby, and forensic architecture, among others.
Design Studio-Seminar I: Planetary
An introduction to architecture as a transscalar practice that directly ties buildings, bodies, and ecosystems together. Architecture’s scope of practice has widened to include landscapes, cities, regions, territories—even the entire planet itself—while also narrowing its focus to include the design of microenvironments for and modulations of the human body. Working transversally across conceptual scales from the body to the planet, the course develops critical approaches to design aimed at intervening in the spaces and processes of planetary urbanization. Each ‘scale’ investigated is accompanied by a corresponding design project.
Open Practices Workshop I
This intensive workshop introduces students to architecture through a guided, rigorous design methodology that explores contemporary topics regarding the production of space while enabling students to learn basic technical design skills. This workshop is led by an emerging figure, ideally during the first month of the spring term.