ARC 519– Contemporary Theory - From Habitation to Habitat
Course No.: 22829
Semester: 2015 Fall
Location: Diefendorf – 104
Meeting Day(s): Tuesday
Meeting Time: 10:00-12:40 PM
Modern theories of biology and architecture share common strands, beginning with the intensification of focus in the natural sciences on form over the course of the eighteenth century. The universal classification system initiated by Linnaeus took on an architectural project: that of determining the idealized formal criteria of each species. By the nineteenth century, biological science had become, in the words of the historian of biology François Jacob, the study of “the way in which living beings were arranged in space.” In a sense, the twentieth-century disciplines of biology and architecture can both be characterized by the change in the pursuit of the form of function from without to within. And in both fields, over time, as the straightforwardness of the form/function dialectic eroded, behavior in an ecosystem came to be seen as crucial factor for understanding animal—including human—life.
This interdisciplinary seminar will study how architectural theory, ever a barometer of the shifting ideologies of nature, adjusted in response to the emergence of the ecological sciences from biology. In addition to the analysis of texts, we will look at collaborations between ecologists and designers and explore the role given to design in staking out alternative futures, from designs for the home to the space cabin.