Metropolis

History/Theory

Summer 2012

Enrique Walker, instructor

The modern metropolis—cauldron of social transformation, technological innovation and aesthetic experimentation—is inseparable from the equally modern notion of an international avant-garde. However, in the course of their myriad encounters through the twentieth century, both categories—the metropolis and the avant-gardes—have become virtually unrecognizable. In their place have emerged new configurations, new challenges and new possibilities. This course examined the arguments architecture has formulated for—and through—the city after metropolis. This is the global city, the financial capital of advanced capitalism. But it is also the city after the city—the result of massive urbanizations stemming from regional and global migrations, as well as massive dispersals that trace back to the decades immediately following the Second World War. The course scrutinized in detail architectural objects and the debates surrounding them, positioning these objects within the cities they imagine. In each case, we traced multiple, genealogical affiliations—the alliances it forges, the subjects it conjures, the pasts it constructs, the futures it projects, the others it excludes—and found a decisive realignment of the ways in which architecture and urbanism operate, as well as multiple opportunities to re-imagine the city—architecture’s recurring dream—yet again today.