ARC 404 SEM – ARC 591– The Built Environment in Media
Course No.: 24404
Semester: 2016 Spring
Location: Diefendorf – 208
Meeting Day(s): Monday
Meeting Time: 6:00PM - 8:40PM
The built environment transmits, reinforces and reproduces social values, attitudes and behaviors.
Experiencing a campus, for example, shapes perceptions of the university itself, personal
relationships, intellectual exploration, and professional life. These experiences and perceptions
are captured and manipulated symbolically in media. Examples are the portrayal of the university
as an “ivory tower,” a placed for “coming of age” or a setting for the practice of “weird science.” Thus, mass media can be a good vehicle to understand the symbolic content of architecture and places, uncover divergent interpretations and explore cultural trends.
A set of core readings will introduce media as a cultural artifact and explore the differences
between types of mass media from a perceptual perspective. Selected media will be presented
and discussed both in and out of class to introduce critical and interpretive skills. A series of
assignments will focus on practicing and developing those skills to learn lessons about architecture
and urbanism. After this initial introduction and skill building exercises, the course will
focus on science fiction in film and television. This genre is rich in critical and speculative
perspectives about buildings and cities and therefore offers significant insights about the
portrayal of the built environment in media. Students will complete independent projects on
topics of personal interest that use media in a critical and speculative way.