ARC 486 / ARC 589

ARC 486 / ARC 589– Option/Elective: Monuments for Buffalo

Course Preview Image
Course Details

Course No.: 21041

Department: Architecture


Location: Hayes Hall – 402

Meeting Day(s): Monday

Meeting Time: 6:00PM - 8:40PM

Faculty: Delaney

Faculty: Delaney



Monument, n.

1. A tomb, a sepulcher.2. a. A statue, building, or other structure erected to commemorate a famous or notable person or event.

b. An effigy; a carved figure, statue.

c. A statue or other structure erected in memory of the dead, either over the grave or in a church, etc.

d. A structure, edifice, or (in later use also) site of historical interest or importance.

3. a. A written document or record; (Law) a legal instrument.

b. A piece of information given in writing.

4. a. Something that by its survival commemorates and distinguishes a person, action, period, event, etc.; something that serves as a memorial.

b. An enduring, memorable, outstanding, or imposing example of some quality, attribute, etc.

c. Something that serves as a reminder of, or witness or tribute to, a way of life, attitude, achievement, etc.

d. An important or classic work of literature; esp. an outstanding survival of an early literature.

5. a. An indication or token (of a fact, deed, etc.). Now rare.

b. A thing that serves as identification; a mark, sign. Also: a thing that gives warning; a portent.

c. U.S. Law and Surveying. A fixed object, natural or artificial, used to make a property boundary or the location of a tract of land.

6. Sc. A ridiculous or objectionable person or thing; a laughing-stock, a fool, a rogue.

The history of architecture is synonymous with the making of monuments. Yet, the definition of monument remains hard to pin down, as justifications for monuments are as varied as their architectural responses—from monuments housing the dead (The Great Pyramids) to those honoring them (Vietnam Veterans Memorial); from the deeply symbolic (Statue of Liberty) to the mysterious (Stonehenge); and from the accidental monument (Tower of Pisa), to the natural (Uluru). There are monuments that mark the location of major events in history (Monument to the Great Fire of London), and ones that mark those of geographical landmarks (Monument to the Equator); there are ones designed and built for the express purpose of icon (Eiffel Tower), and those never designed as such, but achieve the status by will to survive (Hiroshima Peace Memorial).

For this undergraduate and graduate elective seminar, we will study the history of the monument and its architecture through a series of case studies and the examination of key texts. The seminar will culminate in individual design projects proposing new monuments for Buffalo, driven by interesting events, people, and places in the history of the city, and presenting bold visions for a more celebratory future

Image: “Recommendation for a monument,” in Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour’s Learning from Last Vegas, 1977 (MIT Press)

Definition: Oxford English Dictionary, Third Edition, December 2002.