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PORTALE DELLA DIDATTICA

Architectural and Urban history

01VPJPQ

A.A. 2022/23

Course Language

Inglese

Course degree

Master of science-level of the Bologna process in Architettura Costruzione Citta' - Torino

Course structure
Teaching Hours
Lezioni 20
Esercitazioni in aula 40
Teachers
Teacher Status SSD h.Les h.Ex h.Lab h.Tut Years teaching
De Pieri Filippo Professore Ordinario ICAR/18 20 40 0 0 1
Teaching assistant
Espandi

Context
SSD CFU Activities Area context
ICAR/18 6 B - Caratterizzanti Discipline storiche per l'architettura
Valutazione CPD 2022/23
2022/23
The course aims to provide advanced critical tools to read and contextualize the built environments of the past and at the same time grasp the historical roots of many contemporary phenomena. The course identifies the 'long' modernity, between the mid-eighteenth and twentieth centuries, as a field of investigation. In the first place, the aim is to understand the complexity of the processes, the identities of the different actors and the multiplicity of technological, economic, social, political reasons which, between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, produced architecture and cities. Secondly, the focus is on enriching the lexicon that allows the understanding and interpretation of architectural and urban phenomena in the long term. Thirdly, the aim is to build a specific skill in reading architecture, both as a figurative and cultural phenomenon. The course may have a monographic character and will be in any case characterized by a focus on the development of specific skills, such as documentary and bibliographic research, critical analysis of sources, and discussion of alternative interpretations, leading to the construction of complex arguments concerning the reading of architectural phenomena in their temporal dimension.
The course aims to provide advanced critical tools to read and contextualize the built environments of the past and at the same time grasp the historical roots of many contemporary phenomena. The course identifies the 'long' modernity, between the mid-eighteenth and twentieth centuries, as a field of investigation. In the first place, the aim is to understand the complexity of the processes, the identities of the different actors and the multiplicity of technological, economic, social, political reasons which, between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, produced architecture and cities. Secondly, the focus is on enriching the lexicon that allows the understanding and interpretation of architectural and urban phenomena in the long term. Thirdly, the aim is to build a specific skill in reading architecture, both as a figurative and cultural phenomenon. The course may have a monographic character and will be in any case characterized by a focus on the development of specific skills, such as documentary and bibliographic research, critical analysis of sources, and discussion of alternative interpretations, leading to the construction of complex arguments concerning the reading of architectural phenomena in their temporal dimension.
The course is based on two kinds of cognitive structures. The first, 'factual', focuses on architectural and urban episodes capable of exemplifying crucial problems and notions in the history of the built environment. The second, 'critical', analyzes and compares the different interpretations that have been produced on these facts over time and through a variety of social actors involved in the production and reception of the built environment. Students will learn to distinguish between these two levels: architectural and urban facts, and their historical and / or critical reception, along a wide temporal spectrum and through a plurality of voices. In deepening the study, students will also be asked to apply the notions of historical method they have acquired, and to interpret a plurality of materials and sources from the history of architecture and the city. Thus, at the end of the course, students will have to be able to demonstrate different intellectual qualities: the knowledge of architectural and urban facts, but also the ability to be able to distinguish the various interpretations, and, finally, the ability in producing other, new and original, historical insights.
The course is based on two kinds of cognitive structures. The first, 'factual', focuses on architectural and urban episodes capable of exemplifying crucial problems and notions in the history of the built environment. The second, 'critical', analyzes and compares the different interpretations that have been produced on these facts over time and through a variety of social actors involved in the production and reception of the built environment. Students will learn to distinguish between these two levels: architectural and urban facts, and their historical and / or critical reception, along a wide temporal spectrum and through a plurality of voices. In deepening the study, students will also be asked to apply the notions of historical method they have acquired, and to interpret a plurality of materials and sources from the history of architecture and the city. Thus, at the end of the course, students will have to be able to demonstrate different intellectual qualities: the knowledge of architectural and urban facts, but also the ability to be able to distinguish the various interpretations, and, finally, the ability in producing other, new and original, historical insights.
A basic historical culture and a good familiarity with written English are required to take the course. Furthermore, the knowledge and skills learned in the architectural history courses of the bachelor degree, both contemporary and modern,ar given for granted, as well as the competences stemming from other bachelor courses dealing with history and critical reading: such as " Theory, history and technique of restoration” or the multidisciplinary design ateliers. A good passive knowledge (reading) of Italian, French or another European language (Spanish, German) is certainly welcome and can be put to use, but it is not a requirement.
A basic historical culture and a good familiarity with written English are required to take the course. Furthermore, the knowledge and skills learned in the architectural history courses of the bachelor degree, both contemporary and modern, are given for granted, as well as the competences stemming from other bachelor courses dealing with history and critical reading: such as " Theory, history and technique of restoration” or the multidisciplinary design ateliers. A good passive knowledge (reading) of Italian, French or another European language (Spanish, German) is certainly welcome and can be put to use, but it is not a requirement.
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The aim of the course held in 2022/23 by Prof. De Pieri is to assess the state of current research on the history of modern architecture and the ways in which the emergence of a few topics of public concern – such as globalization, social inequalities and differences, memory controversies, ecological and climate crises, gender, race, etc. – are contributing to question or inflect established narratives in the field. The course will be articulated into three mutually interconnected parts 1) A vocabulary of Western architectural history. This part of the course will consist of a presentation and discussion of Adrian Forty’s "Words and Buildings". This book, published in 2000, offered a highly refined analysis of the historical evolution of some key notions behind Western architectural theory and practice. 2) New directions. This part of the course will discuss some of the new questions and research practices that have emerged in the field of architectural history over the course of the last two decades. Eight books will serve as entry points into a variety of potentially innovative topics and intellectual strategies. This part will be based on lectures and collective discussions. 3) Towards a new vocabulary? This part will consist of a research exercise: you will be asked to draft a paper that will connect parts 1 and 2 of the course, discussing the most recent (post-2000) literature on a relevant keyword, building, text, or historical figure. The purpose of the paper will be to update the dictionary proposed by Adrian Forty in 2000 by suggesting new research directions, or new words altogether. The topic of the paper will be agreed upon with Prof. De Pieri and the development of the paper will be closely followed by the professor during the weeks of the course.
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Further details concerning the organization of the course and the final evaluation will be given in the detailed version of the course program. This will be published on the Teaching Portal at the beginning of the semester.
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The course will be organized partly through lectures followed by discussions and partly through a research exercise. All activities will require active participation from the students. Part 1 (eight lectures, each followed by a discussion) will be based on the analysis of specific parts or chapters of Adrian Forty’s “Words and Buildings”. Part 2 (eight lectures or collective discussions) will be based on the close discussion of eight recent books, each of them representative of a tendency in historical research on architecture, cities, and landscapes. Part 3 (a paper, prepared through research work, public presentations, and intermediate reviews). Each student of the course will be required to research and write a full paper. The paper can be written either individually or in a group of two students. Specific methodological lectures and reviews will be dedicated to this exercise over the course of the semester. In particular, students will be asked to prepare two presentations of their ongoing work. Two weeks of the course will be entirely dedicated to a review of the papers. All the activities of the course, including the final exam, will take place in English. The paper can be written in English or Italian.
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Essential references: Part 1 Adrian Forty, Words and Buildings: A Vocabulary of Modern Architecture, London, Thames & Hudson, 2000 Part 2 Note: the following bibliography is provisional. The complete list of books that will serve as a reference for part 2 will be available at the beginning of the course. Jordan Sand, Tokyo Vernacular: Common Spaces, Local Histories, Found Objects, Berkeley, University of California Press, 2013. Emily Pugh, Architecture, Politics, and Identity in Divided Berlin, Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014. Jiat-Hwee Chang, A Genealogy of Tropical Architecture: Colonial Networks, Nature and Technoscience, Abingdon, Routledge, 2016. Sonja Dümpelmann, Seeing Trees: A History of Street Trees in New York City and Berlin, New Haven, CT, Yale University Press, 2019. Jane Hutton, Reciprocal Landscapes: Stories of Material Movements, Abingdon, Routledge, 2019. Daniel A. Barber, Modern Architecture and Climate: Design Before Air Conditioning, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 2020. Irene Cheng, Charles L. Davis II, Mabel O. Wilson, Race and Modern Architecture: A Critical History, Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020. Łukasz Stanek, Architecture in Global Socialism: Eastern Europe, West Africa, and the Middle East in the Cold War, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2020. Barnabas Calder, Architecture: Buildings and Energy from Pre-History to Climate Emergency, London, Pelican, 2021. Jeanne Haffner (ed.), Landscapes of Housing: Design and Planning in the History of Environmental Thought, Abingdon, Routledge, 2022.
Modalità di esame: Prova orale obbligatoria; Elaborato scritto individuale;
Exam: Compulsory oral exam; Individual essay;
Gli studenti e le studentesse con disabilità o con Disturbi Specifici di Apprendimento (DSA), oltre alla segnalazione tramite procedura informatizzata, sono invitati a comunicare anche direttamente al/la docente titolare dell'insegnamento, con un preavviso non inferiore ad una settimana dall'avvio della sessione d'esame, gli strumenti compensativi concordati con l'Unità Special Needs, al fine di permettere al/la docente la declinazione più idonea in riferimento alla specifica tipologia di esame.
Exam: Compulsory oral exam; Individual essay;
The final grade will be based upon an evaluation of: 1. An oral exam on Part 1 (30%). This will consist of a discussion of the required readings from Adrian Forty's book (see above). Students will typically be asked to present and discuss some of the keywords presented during the course. 3. An oral exam on Part 2 (30%). This will consist of a discussion of the books selected for this part of the course. Students will typically be asked to present and critically discuss the themes and issues emerging from these research works and the intellectual agenda behind them. 3. The written paper (30%). The paper will have to be submitted two weeks before the exam session that the student(s) wishes to attend. The evaluation of the paper will focus on its originality, the precision of bibliographic research, the clarity of its organization, and the quality of the critical discussion provided by the author(s). 4. An evaluation of the student’s overall participation in the activities and discussions carried out during the course (10%). The paper is optional and can be replaced with additional readings for the oral exam. Additional details will be provided at the beginning of the course and published on the Teaching Portal. The evaluation will assess: a) the capacity of the students to report historical facts with accuracy and precision; b) the capacity of the students to forge connections between the various elements of information acquired during the course and to critically discuss the historical problems raised by the bibliography; c) the capacity of each student to clearly express herself/himself through oral presentations and writing.
In addition to the message sent by the online system, students with disabilities or Specific Learning Disorders (SLD) are invited to directly inform the professor in charge of the course about the special arrangements for the exam that have been agreed with the Special Needs Unit. The professor has to be informed at least one week before the beginning of the examination session in order to provide students with the most suitable arrangements for each specific type of exam.
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