(Offered as ARCH 101 and ARHA 101) This introductory course focuses on the tools used to communicate and discuss ideas in architectural practice and theory. We study both the practical, from sketching to parallel drawing, to the theoretical, from historical to critical perspectives. Connecting both, we cover the formal analysis elements necessary to “read” and critique built works. Class activities include field trips, guest presentations, sketching and drawing, small design exercises, discussion of readings, and short written responses. Through these activities, at the end of the semester the student will understand in general terms what the dealings and challenges of architecture as a discipline are.
Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Five College Professor Arboleda.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
(Offered as ARCH 102 and ARHA 158) This course is an introduction to the many facets of architectural studies: the history, theory, and design of buildings, landscapes, and sites. We will survey the history of architecture from the earliest human dwellings to the present and expose students to diverse aspects of architectural theory, while also introducing the basic analytical skills of architectural representation. Starting with the earliest forms of human habitation and ending with issues of contemporary residences, we will study the style, purpose, and historical context of buildings, landscapes, and planning, including questions of climate change. We will conclude by considering the college campus as a place of habitation. Students will develop their skills of speaking and writing about architecture, while also learning basic design skills: the sketch, map, plan, elevation, materials study, landscape setting, and site. Design projects are based on effort and realization, not on proficiency. Two meetings a week, one in seminar format, and one in studio format.
Priority given to Architectural Studies majors and first-year students. Omitted 2017-18.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as ARCH 106 and MUSI 107.) Sound––heard or otherwise perceived––influences human existence, how we interpret lived experience, how we understand places and events. Yet our awareness of sound varies individually and contextually. This course posits sound as a medium that can be constructed and environmentally transformed. How do spatial acoustics inform and affect us? How is sound intrinsic to individual and social experience?
Built environments and architectural forms embody structured acoustic dynamics, whether their particular sonics are design features or ephemeral artifacts of spatial constructs. Musical and engineered sound products directly engage the human activities of sound-making and consuming, often abstracted from specific spatial environments, yet substantially linked to sense of place through cultural context. From vibratory mechanics to conceptual design, we will examine the material and immaterial ramifications of sonic structures and the structuring of sounds, their human interactive potentials and experiential implications. An interdisciplinary range of texts, works, and concepts will drive our exploration and analysis of sound as an environmental constant and fundament to human experience.
Students will develop two projects: a concise research paper that initiates a literature review and poses a perspective on a theme related to course discussion, and a design proposal for a space, object, artwork/installation, experiment or music/sound composition that will be presented to the class. Two class meetings per week.
Omitted 2017-18.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 135, ARCH 135, and EUST 135) This course is an introduction to painting, sculpture, and architecture of the early modern period. The goal of the course is to identify artistic innovations that characterize European art from the Renaissance to the French Revolution, and to situate the works of art historically, by examining the intellectual, political, religious, and social currents that contributed to their creation. In addition to tracing stylistic change within the oeuvre of individual artists and understanding its meaning, we will investigate the varied character of art, its interpretation, and its context in different regions, including Italy, France, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands.
Limited to 30 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Courtright.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 152, ARCH 152 and ASLC 142) This introductory course explores the architecture, manuscripts, painting, textiles, decorative arts, material culture, and popular art of the Islamic world, from the late seventh century C.E., touching on the present. It follows a basic chronology, but is structured primarily through thematic issues central to the study of Islamic visual culture, including, but not limited to: orality and textuality, geometry and ornament, optics and perception, sacred and royal space, the image and aniconism, modernity and tradition, and artistic exchange with Europe, China, and beyond. The class will focus on the relationships between visual culture, history, and literature, analyzing specific sites or objects, for example the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, carved ivory boxes from Spain, luxury manuscripts from Cairo, gardens of Iran, and contemporary art from Pakistan, alongside primary and secondary texts. Films, audio recordings, and field-trips to local museum collections will supplement assigned readings and lectures. Participation in class discussion, a significant component of the course, is expected. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.
Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professor Rice.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
(Offered as ARHA 154, ARCH 154, and ASLC 154) This introductory course surveys the architecture, painting, sculpture, textiles, decorative arts, and photography of South Asia (India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan), from 2300 B.C., touching on the present. It considers the role of tradition in the broader history of art in India, but does not see India as "traditional" or unchanging. The Indian sub-continent is the source for multi-cultural civilizations that have lasted and evolved for several thousand years. Its art is as rich and complex as that of Europe, and as diverse. This course attempts to introduce the full range of artistic production in India in relation to the multiple strands that have made the cultural fabric of the sub-continent so rich and long lasting. Films, musical recordings, and museum field-trips will supplement assigned readings and lectures. No previous background is presumed, and all readings will be available in English.
Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Professor Rice.
2020-21: Offered in Fall 2020
(Offered as ARHA 157, ARCH 157, and BLST 193 [D]) This introductory course engages the buildings, cities, and landscapes of former colonies in Africa, South Asia, and the Caribbean. Beginning with the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, the non-European territories, which once comprised the lucrative possessions of modern European empires, quickly became independent states charged with developing infrastructure, erecting national monuments, and handling the influx of laborers drawn to the metropolises that were formed as sleepy colonial towns grew into bustling postcolonial cities. This class will examine the buildings, urban spaces, rural landscapes, and national capitals that emerged in response to these political histories. We will approach a number of issues, such as the architecture of national independence monuments, the preservation of buildings linked to the colonial past, the growth of new urban centers in Africa and India after independence, architecture and regimes of postcolonial oppression, the built environments of tourism in the independent Caribbean, and artists’ responses to all of these events. Some of the places that we will address include: Johannesburg, South Africa; Chandigarh, India; Negril, Jamaica; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; and Lilongwe, Malawi. Our goal will be to determine what, if any, continuities linked the buildings, landscapes, and spaces of post-independence Africa, India, and the Caribbean in the twentieth century.
Over the course of the semester, students will gain skills in analyzing buildings, town plans, and other visual materials. Also, this class will aid students in developing their writing skills, particularly their ability to write about architecture and urban space.
Spring semester. Visiting Professor Carey.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
(Offered as ARCH 203 and EUST 203.) Cities, the largest human artifact, have been at the center of Europeans’ relationships with nature, gods, and their own kind since their first appearance. With the advent of capitalist energy, the European city went through radical change. The resultant invention, re-invention and growth of major metropolises will be the subject of this course.
We will discuss histories and theories of the city and of the urban imagination in Europe since the eighteenth century. We will consider Paris, London, Berlin, Rome, and St. Petersburg, among others, and the counter-example of New York City. We will study examples of city planning and mapping, urban architecture, film and photography, painting, poetry, fiction, and urban theory. And, we may study Atget, Baudelaire, Benjamin, Calvino, Dickens, Joyce, Rilke, Truffaut, Zola, and others.
Questions addressed will include: To what extent do those who would “improve” a city take into account the intangible qualities of that city? How do the economics of capital compromise with the economics of living? How does the body-healthy and unhealthy-interact with the built environment? How and why does the imagination create an “invisible city” that rivals the “real” geo-political site? Two classes per week.
Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professor Rosbottom.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as ARCH 104 and ARHA 104) This course studies the theory, policy, and practice of low-income housing in marginalized communities. In particular, the class examines housing in the context of international development—the global project of reducing urban poverty through providing safe housing to those in need. We study central concepts in housing theory, key issues regarding low-income housing, different approaches for addressing these issues, and political debates around housing the poor. This is a thematic, comparative, and transnational course that uses specific case studies from all around the world. We study our subject through illustrated lectures, field trips, seminar discussions, documentary films, and visual analysis exercises. The latter will be interspersed throughout the semester.
Limited to 25 students. Priority to majors, then sophomores. Spring semester. Five College Professor Arboleda.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
This class takes an ethno-historical approach to the architecture of societies that are under-represented in canonical architectural theory. We study the architecture of traditional societies through two supplementary lenses. On the one hand we look at the Euro-American perspective, studying how this type of architecture has been represented in classical architectural literature. The second lens is ethnographic and looks at traditional building from a locally informed perspective. Added to the seminar discussions, this class includes a visual analysis component. No previous architectural knowledge or special drafting skills required.
Limited to 22 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Arboleda.
2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as ARCH 216 and ARHA 216) In this intermediate architectural design studio we will explore the intellectual and creative process of making and representing architectural space. The focus will be to explore the boundaries of architecture--physically and theoretically, historically and presently--through digital media. Our process will prompt us to dissect 20th-century European architectures and urban spaces and to explore their relationships to contemporary, global issues. The capstone of the course will be a significant design project (TBD) requiring rigorous studio practices, resulting in plans, sections, elevations and digital models. This course will introduce students to various digital diagramming, drawing, and modeling software, while challenging students to question the theoretical and practical implications of these interdisciplinary media processes. Students will be required to participate in three workshop days outside of class time aimed at improving upon proficiency with digital tools. This course will combine lectures, reading, discussion, and extensive studio design.
Requisite: ARHA 111. Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Spring semester. Five College Professor Long.2020-21: Not offered
This design seminar will revisit the specific challenges of and changes to the private house that occurred throughout the twentieth century. This exploration will critically examine architectural innovations that occurred after World War II, including the interface between interior and exterior spaces, aesthetics of design, innovative use of materials, inventive manipulation of spaces, and creative use of the site. Concurrently, students will be introduced to digital design tools to build and transform a select group of houses from this time period. Students engage with CAD, 3D modeling, and 2D visualization techniques in Rhino 5 and Adobe CC. Students will become proficient in these skills as they craft a short series of cumulative design exercises focusing on the tectonics and articulation of architectural surfaces. The course subject matter will be explored through illustrated lectures, seminar discussions, digital tutorials, and design exercises. Students will learn to navigate the virtual environment as well as develop a critical understanding of architecture's motivating factors emphasizing the intellectual and tactile dimensions of the discipline.
Recommended requisite: ARHA 111. Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2017-18.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as ASLC 220 [J] and ARCH 220) Tokyo is the political, cultural, and economic center of Japan, the largest urban conglomeration on the planet, holding 35 million people, fully one fifth of Japan’s population. Since its founding 400 years ago, when a small fishing village became Edo, the castle headquarters of the Tokugawa shoguns, the city has been reinvented multiple times—as the birthplace of Japan’s early modern urban bourgeois culture, imperial capital to a nation-state, center of modern consumer culture, postwar democratic exemplar, and postmodern metropolis. The course will focus on the portrayals of Tokyo and its reinventions in art, literature, and politics from the end of the Edo period to the present day. It will examine the changes that took place as the city modernized and Westernized in the Meiji era, became the center of modern urban life in Japan before the Second World War, and rebuilt itself as part of the country’s economic miracle in the postwar era. As the largest human cultural creation in Japan, one that endured political upheavals, fires, earthquakes, fire-bombings and unbridled development, Tokyo has always been a complex subject. The course will use that complexity to consider how to analyze an urban environment that draws upon Japan's long history, yet which is also one of the most modern in Asia.
Preference to majors and students with an interest in urban studies. Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professors Maxey and Van Compernolle.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 253 and ARCH 253) This course traces the social and political history of the modern city from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. In the process, it questions the extent to which contemporary megacities—like São Paulo or Shanghai—reflect a social and urban system of organization that has its roots in earlier experiments in metropolitan design. Over the course of the semester, we will approach a number of genericized architectural spaces that have recurred across modern cities in ways that elucidate the broader template to which such urban zones often conform. These sites include the park, the nightclub, the brothel, the restaurant, the port, the highway, and the hotel, to name only a few. Our examination of these spaces will foreground the role of architecture and urban planning in shaping social interaction in these common locales. We will approach these sites as manifested in several modern metropolises, such as Paris, Dubai, Mumbai, Shanghai, Dakar, São Paulo, and New York. In investigating these places, we will ask: What makes a city? What, if any, continuities characterize the organizational structures, social spaces, and living conditions of modern cities in the western and non-western worlds? In encouraging students to explore the relationships between European and non-European urban centers, this class will serve as a point of departure for rethinking the binaries that separate the West and the Non-West. Through written assignments and independent research, students will gain knowledge of the ways in which urban spaces have informed social, political, economic, and cultural histories in America and beyond. This course will also aid students in developing their writing and research skills.
Omitted 2017-18. Visiting Professor Carey.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 257, ARCH 257, and BLST 253) Creole dwellings were first erected by enslaved builders working under Diego Colón (the son of Christopher Columbus) on the island of Hispaniola. By the end of the first wave of European expansion in the early nineteenth century, the creole style existed across imperial domains in the Caribbean, North and South America, Africa, the Indian Ocean, and even Asia. We will examine the global diffusion of this architectural typology from its emergence in the Spanish Caribbean to its florescence in British and French India in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. In doing so, we will address buildings and towns in Spanish, French, Dutch, Portuguese, and British colonies worldwide. Some of the urban centers that we will engage include: Kingston, Jamaica; Pondicherry, India; Cape Town, South Africa; Cartagena, Colombia; Saint-Louis, Senegal; and Macau, China. In investigating both creole structures and the cities that harbored such forms, we will think through the social and economic factors that caused buildings and urban areas to display marked continuities despite geographical and imperial distinctions.
Fall semester. Visiting Professor Carey.2020-21: Offered in Fall 2020
(Offered as ARHA 281, ARCH 281, and ASLC 281) This course examines artistic exchanges and encounters in the Islamic world during the early modern period. We will focus on the movement of artists, objects, and systems of knowledge between and beyond the Mamluk, Ottoman, Timurid, Safavid, and Mughal courts, placing special emphasis upon encounters with the arts of Europe and East Asia. Among the topics to be considered are the design, circulation, and trade of textiles; the arts of diplomacy and gift exchange; the nature of curiosity and wonder; and artists’ responses to the “other.” This course aims to challenge conventional, essentialist binaries (e.g., East vs. West, Islamic vs. European), and to re-assess the standard art historical narratives from a more culturally, geographically, and economically interconnected perspective.
Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professor Rice.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 354, ARCH 355, and EUST 355) Artists such as Donatello, Fra Angelico, Botticelli, Leonardo, Raphael, Bramante, Michelangelo, Cellini and Titian, but also unknown artisans, constructed illusions imitating nature or offering profound spiritual connectedness, be it through the spatial grandeur of perspectival narratives on painted walls, in sculpture and the built environment, or through the expert crafting of precious materials for domestic and ritual objects. Art, artifacts, and architecture created for merchants, monks, princes and pontiffs in the urban centers of Florence, Rome, Venice, and Paris from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries range from the gravely restrained and intentionally simple and devout to the monumental, fantastically complex or blindingly splendid. Emphasis will be upon the way the form, materiality, and content of each type of art conveyed ideas concerning creativity, originality, and individuality, but also expressed ideals of devotion and civic virtue; how artists dealt with the revived legacy of antiquity to develop an original visual language; how art revealed attitudes toward the body and the spirit, expressed the relationship between nature, the imagination and art, and developed the rhetoric of genius; and how art and attitudes towards it changed over time.
Rather than taking the form of a survey, this course, based on lectures but regularly incorporating discussion, will examine selected works in depth and will analyze contemporary attitudes toward art of this period through study of the art and the primary sources concerning it.
Requisite: One course in ARHA, FAMS, or ARCH, or with permission of the instructor. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Courtright.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
(Offered as ARHA 356, ARCH 356, and EUST 356) After the canonization of the notion of artistic genius in the Italian Renaissance and the subsequent imaginative license of artists known as Mannerists, phenomena sponsored throughout Europe by the largesse of merchants, courtiers, aristocrats, princes, and Churchmen alike, a crisis occurred in European society--and art--in the second half of the sixteenth century. Overturned dogmas of faith, accompanied by scientific discoveries and brutal political changes, brought about the reconsideration of fundamental values that had undergirded many facets of life and society in Europe at the beginning of the seventeenth century, the starting point of this course. Unexpectedly, these upheavals led to a renewed proliferation of innovative art. In this century of remarkably varied artistic production, paradoxes abounded. Some artists sought the illusion of reality by imitating unimproved, even base nature through close observation of the human body, of landscape, and of ordinary, humble objects of daily use, as others continued to quest for perfection in a return to the lofty principles implicit in ancient artistic canons of ideality. More than ever before, artists explored the expression of passion through dramatic narratives and sharply revealing portraiture, but, famously, artists also imbued art meant to inspire religious devotion with unbounded eroticism or with the gory details of painful suffering and hideous death. They depicted dominating political leaders as flawed mortals--even satirized them through the new art of caricature--at the same time that they developed a potent and persuasive vocabulary for the expression of the rulers’ absolutist political power. This class, based on lectures but regularly incorporating discussion, will examine in depth selected works of painting, sculpture, and architecture produced by artists in the countries which remained Catholic after the religious discords of this period-e.g., Caravaggio, Bernini, Poussin, Velázquez, and Rubens in Italy, France, Spain, and the Spanish Netherlands--as well as engaging the cultural, social, and intellectual framework for their accomplishments. Upper level.
Requisite: One other course in art history or consent of the instructor. Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Courtright.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as GERM 360, ARCH 360, EUST 360 and FAMS 316) What is performance? What constitutes an event? How can we address a phenomenon that has disappeared the moment we apprehend it? How does memory operate in our critical perception of an event? How does a body make meaning? These are a few of the questions we will explore in this course, as we discuss critical, theoretical, and compositional approaches in a broad range of multidisciplinary performance phenomena emerging from European--primarily German--culture in the twentieth century. We will focus on issues of performativity, composition, conceptualization, dramaturgy, identity construction, representation, space, gender, and dynamism. Readings of performance theory, performance studies, gender studies, and critical/cultural studies, as well as literary, philosophical, and architectural texts, will accompany close examination of performance material. Students will develop performative projects in various media (video, performance, text, online) and deliver a number of critical oral and written presentations on various aspects of the course material and their own projects. Performance material will be experienced live when possible, and in text, video, audio, digital media and online form, drawn from selected works of Dada and Surrealism, Bauhaus, German Expressionism, the Theater of the Absurd, Tanztheater, and Contemporary Theater, Performance, Dance, Opera, New Media, and Performance Art. A number of films, including Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, Oskar Schlemmer’s Das Triadische Ballett, Fernand Léger’s Ballet Mécanique, and Kurt Jooss’ Der Grüne Tisch, will also be screened. Conducted in English, with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German.
Limited to 18 students. Fall semester. Professor Gilpin.2020-21: Offered in Fall 2020
(Offered as GERM 364, ARCH 364, and EUST 364) This course will address a number of developments and transformations in contemporary urban architecture and performance from an international perspective. We will explore issues including, but not limited to, trauma, memory, absence, perception, corporeality, representation, and the senses in our examination of recent work in Germany and elsewhere, and read a number of texts from the fields of philosophy, critical theory, performance studies, and visual and architectural studies, in an attempt to understand how architecture is beginning to develop compositional systems in which to envision dynamic and responsive spaces in specific cultural contexts. We will focus our research on the work of a number of German and international architects, performance, and new media artists, including Jochen Gerz, Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock, Horst Hoheisel, Micha Ullman, Shimon Attie, Daniel Libeskind, Peter Eisenman, Rem Koolhaas, Greg Lynn, Mark Goulthorpe, R & Sie(n), Axel Kilian, Paul Privitera, Hani Rashid and Lise-Ann Couture, Herzog and de Meuron, Archigram, William Forsythe, Jan Fabre, Rachel Whiteread, Rebecca Horn, Sasha Waltz, Richard Siegal, Michael Schumacher, Robert Wilson, the Blix Brothers of Berlin, Pina Bausch, Granular Synthesis, Sponge, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Toni Dove, and many others. Conducted in English, with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German.
Limited to 15 students. Enrollment requires attendance at first class meeting. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Gilpin.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as GERM 365, ARCH 365, and EUST 365) This is a course about what happens to difficult memories: memories that are intensely personal, but made public, memories that belong to communities, but which become ideologically possessed by history, politics, or the media. How are memories processed into memorials? What constitutes a memorial? What gets included or excluded? How is memory performed in cultural objects, spaces, and institutions? What is the relationship between the politics of representation and memory? Who owns memory? Who is authorized to convey it? How does memory function? This course will explore the spaces in which memories are “preserved” and experienced. Our attention will focus on the transformation of private and public memories in works of architecture, performance, literature, and the visual arts, primarily in Germany, Europe, and the United States. Preference given to German majors and European Studies majors, as well as to students interested in architecture/design, performance, the visual arts, interactive installation and/or the environment. Conducted in English, with German majors required to do a substantial portion of the reading in German.
Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Gilpin.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as GERM 368, ARCH 368, EUST 368, and FAMS 368) This research seminar will explore conceptions of space as they have informed and influenced thought and creativity in the fields of cultural studies, literature, architecture, urban studies, performance, and the visual, electronic, and time-based arts. Students will select and pursue a major semester-long research project early in the semester in consultation with the professor, and present their research in its various stages of development throughout the semester, in a variety of media formats (writing, performance, video, electronic art/interactive media, installation, online and networked events, architectural/design drawings/renderings), along with oral presentations of readings and other materials. Readings and visual materials will be drawn from the fields of literature and philosophy; from architectural, art, and film theory and history; from performance studies and performance theory; and from theories of technology and the natural and built environment. Emphasis on developing research, writing, and presentation skills is a core of this seminar.
Preference given to German majors and European Studies majors, as well as to students interested in architecture/design, performance, film/video, interactive installation, and/or the environment. Conducted in English. German majors will select a research project focused on a German Studies context, and will do a substantial portion of the readings in German. Part of the Global Classroom Project. The Global Classroom Project uses videoconferencing technology to connect Amherst classes with courses/students outside the United States.
Limited to 15 students. Enrollment requires attendance at the first class meeting. Spring semester. Professor Gilpin.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as ARCH 369 and EUST 369) This research seminar will explore conceptions of time as they have informed and influenced thought and creativity in the fields of cultural studies, literature, architecture, urban studies, philosophy, neuroscience, performance, and the visual, electronic, and time-based arts. Students will select and pursue a major semester-long research project early in the semester in consultation with the professor, and present their research in its various stages of development throughout the semester, in a variety of media formats (writing, performance, video, electronic art/interactive media, installation, online and networked events, architectural/design drawings/renderings), along with oral presentations of readings and other materials. Readings and visual/sonic materials will be drawn from the fields of European literature, philosophy and critical theory; from architectural, art, music, neuroscience and film theory and history; from performance studies and performance theory; and from theories of technology and the natural and built environment. We will sustain a focus on issues of perception, cognition, duration, movement, attention, imagination, memory, and narrative throughout. Emphasis on developing research, writing, and presentation skills is central to this seminar. Conducted in English.
Preference given to Architectural Studies and European Studies majors, as well as to students interested in architecture/design, performance, film/video, interactive installation, and/or the environment. Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2017-18. Professor Gilpin.
2020-21: Not offered
Fall and spring semesters. The Department.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
A full course. Fall semester.2020-21: Offered in Fall 2020