Architecture as Concept: From 1968 to the Present

History/Theory

Spring 2013

Bernard Tschumi, instructor

The “Architecture as Concept” seminar took as its starting hypothesis that there is no architecture without a concept, and that concepts are what differentiate architecture from mere building. It attempted to demonstrate that the most important works of architecture in any given period are the ones with the strongest concept or idea rather than simply those with the most striking form or shape. The seminar discussed one hundred projects or buildings from 1968 to the present, in terms of their ability to mark the history of ideas and concepts in architecture. It also discussed differences between concepts, “partis”, diagrams and compositions as well as between concepts, percepts and affects.

For each historical moment in the past forty years, we also identified several major concepts that have either become out of date (“against”) or are still relevant today (“for”), as measured in relation to today’s moral, ideological, economic or formal standards. Students were required to make in-class presentations and write a final research paper. Class sessions focused on presentations and discussions of weekly readings.