Art 336. Architecture and Memory
Reed College, Spring 2006

Syllabus (Download as a .doc)

Classes: Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:40 to 4:00 pm. in Library 41.
Instructor: Ömür Harmansah (Office: Library 321)
Office Hours: Fridays 9-12 am and by appointment

Course Description

This course investigates 19th and 20th century theories of architecture that make explicit use of architectural evidence from the ancient and traditional societies. In the Western scholarship, architectural historians used ancient and vernacular paradigms in their interpretations, offering detailed discussions of especially classical and Near Eastern architecture. The architecture of antiquity and that of the non-western vernacular are represented in this literature in a variety of different ways, ranging from Orientalism of 19th century to the phenomenological approaches of latest decades. Architectural theory contributed to the construction (or critique) of bipolar categories such as the East and West, ancient and modern, industrial and pre-industrial through their representations. In this course we will explore these representations of the ancient and the vernacular in architectural debates, vis-á-vis more recent evidence provided by contemporary archaeological research from the Near East and the Aegean. Central issues in modern architectural theory including the relationship between collective memory and the built environment, and the interdisciplinary approaches in the interpretation of ancient architectural space will be main focus of discussions.

Books ordered through the Bookstore:

Students are recommended (not required) to purchase the following books which are available at Reed Bookstore. Several copies of the same volumes are also on library reserve. These books will be studied thoroughly, but the weekly readings will also include several articles and book excerpts which will be placed on reserve.

Norberg-Schulz, Christian; 2000. Architecture: presence, language, place. Skira: Milano.
Nelson, Robert S. and Margaret Olin (eds.); 2003. Monuments and memory: made and unmade. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago and London.
Mallgrave, Harry Francis and Eleftherios Ikonomou (eds.); 1994. Empathy, Form, and Space: Problems in German Aesthetics, 1873-1893. Getty Research Institute: Santa Monica.
Rossi, Aldo; 1982. The architecture of the city. Trans of L'architettura della citta, by D. Ghirardo and J Ockman. The MIT Press: Cambridge Mass.
Hartoonian, Gevork; 1997. Ontology of construction : on nihilism of technology in theories of modern architecture. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.


1. Conference Attendance, Participation, Documentation
All students (including auditors) are required to do the weekly readings and participate in the conference discussion. For the purposes of the writing assignments at least, it is essential for the students to take copious notes during the conferences and keep an intimate record of the discussions, which then they can use in writing their papers or in their future careers. Students are strongly recommended to keep a hard-bound logbook for this purpose.

2. Short Writing Assignments and Projects
In the first half of the semester prior to spring break, students will be asked to turn in brief papers (2-3 pages each) and collaborative or individual projects relevant to the issues discussed in class.

3. Research Project and Final Paper
In the second half of the semester, students will work on a research project on their own, to result in a 10 minute presentation and 8-10 page final paper. Students will choose the research topic in collaboration with the instructor and turn it into a library-research oriented project. The project should involve an analytical and critical discussion of the theoretical approaches adopted in the conference discussions and its application to a case study of architectural history. A 1-page research proposal with preliminary bibliography will be due on the 2nd week after break, and a 3-5 page draft will be due two weeks before the finals.

4. Collaborative Research Project: Ethnography of Space and Memory at Reed College Campus
Throughout the semester, we will collaboratively work on writing an ethnographic account of spaces and their cultural significance in the collective memories of the inhabitants of the campus. In groups, we will intensively study selected sites on campus, using interviews, photography, and archival research. The final product will hopefully be published as a website or a book depending on the funding, and as a report, it will help in the planning of Reed campus for future.

Weekly Reading Schedule

Please note that the following is only a guideline and there will be slight adjustments in this schedule over the course of the semester. Look for Ömür's handouts every week for reading list updates or check the course webpage.

Week 1. Introduction: Architecture and architectural history.

Jan. 24 - (T): Introduction: the scope of the class.
Jan. 26 - (Th): Architectural history: deconstructing the monuments of the past.
Kostof, Spiro; 1995. "The study of what we built" in A history of architecture: settings and rituals. New York: Oxford University Press, 3-19. (Reserve Main).
Arnold, Dana; 2002. "Reading the past: what is architectural history?" in Reading architectural history. Routledge: London, 1-13. (Handout)
Borden, Iain and Jane Rendell; 2000. "From chamber to transformer: epistemological challenges in the methodology of theorised architectural history," Journal of architecture 5: 215-228. (Handout)

Week 2. Reading Vitruvius.

Jan. 31 - (T): Vitruvius and his presentation to Augustus: ten books on architecture.
Vitruvius Pollio, 1st century BC. The ten books on architecture. Edited with an introductory essay by Ingrid D. Rowland. Roma, 1999. Read introduction, Books 1, 3, 5. (Handout)
Kruft, Hanno-Walter; 1994. A history of architectural theory : from Vitruvius to the present. Trans. R. Taylor, E. Callander, and A. Wood. New York : Princeton Architectural Press. Chapter 1: pp. 21-29. (Reserve Main)
Feb. 2 - (Th): Rereading Vitruvius in the 21st century: architecture as body and performance.
Hersey, George; 1988. The lost meaning of classical architecture: speculations on ornament from Vitruvius to Venturi. The MIT Press: Cambridge, Mass.; 1-75.

Week 3. Architecture of the ancient world: cosmologies, cultural memory, social practice.

Feb. 7 - (T): The goddess and the temple behind: the idea of the monumental temple in the ancient Greek world.
McEwen, Indra Kagis; 1993. Socrates' Ancestor: an essay on architectural beginnings. The MIT Press: Cambridge, Mass.
Feb. 9 - (Th): Architecture and social narratives in ancient Mesopotamia.
Jonker, Gerdien; 1995. The topography of remembrance: the dead, tradition and collective memory in Mesopotamia. Leiden: Brill.
Winter, Irene J.; 2000c. "Babylonian archaeologists of the(ir) Mesopotamian past," in Proceedings of the First International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East. P. Matthiae et al (eds.); Università degli studi di Roma "La Sapienza," Roma, 1785-1789.

Week 4. Social memory.

Feb. 14 - (T): Collective memory: the social shape of the past.
Connerton, Paul; 1989. "Social memory" in How societies remember. Cambridge University Press, 6-40.
Nora, Pierre; 1989. "Between memory and history: Les lieux de memoire," Representations 26: 7-24.
Feb. 16 - (Th): Landscapes of memory: sites of memory.
Alcock, Susan E.; 2002. Archaeologies of the Greek past: landscape, monuments, and memories. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 1-35.
Van Dyke, Ruth M. & Susan E. Alcock; 2003. "Archaeologies of memory: an introduction," in Archaeologies of memory. Ruth M. Van Dyke & Susan E. Alcock (eds.); Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1-13.
Norberg-Schulz, Christian; 2000. Architecture: presence, language, place. Skira: Milano, 7-29 (Reserve Main).

Week 5. College Art Association Meetings: no class. Ömür is out of town.

Feb. 21 (T) - Feb. 23 (Th): No class [Reading and research on the enthnography of space at Reed]

Week 6. Fictive Places and Real Spaces: ontology and representation in architectural space

Feb. 28 - (T): David Summers's space-oriented post-formalist art history.
Summers, David; 2003. "Places" and "Appropriation of the Center" in Real spaces. London: Phaidon.
Mar. 2 - (Th): Ethnography of space and place: architecture of the everyday-discussing Reed Campus.
Norberg-Schulz, Christian; 2000. Architecture: presence, language, place. Skira: Milano, 31-89 (Reserve Main).
Harris, Steven and Deborah Berke (eds.); 1997. Architecture of the Everyday. Princeton Architectural Press: New York.

Week 7. Modernity and architecture.

Mar. 7 - (T): What is modernity. What is modern architecture?
Habermas, Jurgen; 1998. "Modernity-an incomplete project" in The Anti-Aesthetic: essays on postmodern culture. The New Press: New York; 1-15.
Frampton, Kenneth; 1992. Modern architecture: a critical history. Thames & Hudson: London: 8-41.
Goldhagen, Susan W.; 2005. "Something to talk about: modernism, discourse, style." Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 64/2: 144-167.
Mar. 9 - (Th): Modernity and its architectural critiques.
Heynen, Hilde; 1999. Architecture and modernity: a critique. The MIT Press; Cambridge, Mass.; 8-24.
Heidegger, Martin; 1971. "Building dwelling thinking," in Poetry language throught. A. Hofstadter (trans.). New York: Perennial Classics, 141-160.
Norberg-Schulz, Christian; 2000. Architecture: presence, language, place. Skira: Milano, 91-123 (Reserve Main).

Spring Break: March 11-19.

Week 8. Monuments, destruction and memory.

Mar. 21 - (T): The monumental making of memory: architecture in urban space.
Nelson, Robert S., 2003. "Tourists, terrorists and metaphysical theater at Hagia Sophia," in Monuments and Memory, 59-81.
Kostof, Spiro: 1994. "His majesty the pick: The Aesthetics of demolition," in Streets: critical perspectioves on public space. Z. Celik et. al. (eds.). Berkeley: The University of California Press, 9-22.
Mar. 23 - (Th): Monument as a site of political contestation: the case of Ayodhya.
Guha-Thakurta. 2003. "Archaeology and the monument: an embattled site of history and memory in contemporary India," in Monuments and Memory, 59-81.
Bernbeck, Reinhard and Susan Pollock; 1996. "Ayodha, archaeology and identity," Current Anthropology 37: 138-142.
Mar. 24 - (F) 5 pm: [Ethnography of space group projects due- first draft.]

Week 9. Places: architecture, locality and critical regionalism.

Mar. 28 - (T): David Summers's visit. (Attend Lecture the previous day-time and place TBA).
Discussion with David Summers on Real Spaces.
Mar. 30 - (Th): Critical regionalism [Research proposals due]
Frampton, Kenneth; 1998. "Towards a critical regionalism: six points for an architecture of resistence" in The Anti-Aesthetic: essays on postmodern culture. The New Press: New York; 17-34.
Colquhoun, Alan; 1997. "The concept of regionalism," in Postcolonial space(s). G.B. Nalbantoglu and W. Chong Tai (eds.). New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 13-24.
Tzonis, Alexander and Liane Lefaivre; 1990. "Why critical regionalism today?" in Theorizing a new agenda for architecture: an anthology of architectural theory 1965-1995. Kate Nesbitt (ed.). Princeton Architectural Press: New York, 484-492.

Week 10. Problems in 19th century architectural theory I: antiquity and its uses.

Apr. 4 - (T): Ontology and poetics of construction
Frampton, Kenneth; 1995. Studies in tectonic culture: the poetics of construction in nineteenth and twentieth century architecture. The MIT Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Hartoonian, Gevork; 1997. Ontology of construction : on nihilism of technology in theories of modern architecture. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
Apr. 6 - (Th): Form, style and space: 19th century German theories of architecture.
Mallgrave, Harry Francis and Eleftherios Ikonomou; 1994. Empathy Form, and Space: Problems in German Aesthetics, 1873-1893. Getty Research Institute: Santa Monica.

Week 11. Problems in 19th century architectural theory II: Gottfried Semper and tectonic cultures.

Apr. 11 - (T): Karl Boetticher, Gottfried Semper and the theory of tectonics.
Van Eck, Caroline; 2004. "Modernity and the uses of of history: understanding classical architecture from Bštticher to Warburg," in Tracing modernity: manifestations of the modern in architecture and the city. M. Hvattum and C. Hermansen (eds.). Routledge: London and New York, 56-67.
Herrmann, Wolfgang; 1992. In what style should we build: the German debate on architectural style. The Getty Center Publications: Santa Monica.
Schwarzer, Mitchell; 1993. "Ontology and representation in Karl Bštticher's theory of tectonics," Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 52: 267-280.
Apr. 13 - (Th): Gottfried Semper and his theory of tectonics.
Semper, Gottfried; (1863) 2004. Style in the Technical and Tectonic Arts; or Practical Aesthetics. H.F. Mallgrave and M. Robinson (Trans). The Getty Research Institute: Los Angeles.
Semper, Gottfried 1989. The Four Elements of Architecture and Other Writings. H.F. Mallgrave and M. Robinson (Trans). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Hvattum, Mari; 2004. Gottfried Semper and the problem of historicism. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Apr. 15 - (Sat): Trip to Mount Angel Abbey- to see the library by Alvar Aalto (This date may change).

Week 12. Technologies of production, systems of cultural representation in architecture

Apr. 18 - (T): Production and representation: technologies and surfaces [Final Paper drafts due]
Leatherbarrow, David and Mohsen Mustafavi; 2002. Surface architecture. The MIT Press: Cambridge, Mass.
Apr. 20 - (Th): Knowledge-space: the case of the stone masons in Mardin.
Turnbull, David; 2000. Masons, tricksters and cartographers: Comparative studies in the sociology and indigenous knowledge, Harwood Academic Publishers: Singapore.

Week 13. City and memory

Apr. 25 - (T): Aldo Rossi: architecture of the city
Rossi, Aldo; 1982. The architecture of the city. Trans of L'architettura della citta, by D. Ghirardo and J Ockman. The MIT Press: Cambridge Mass.
Turan, Belgin; 1998. "Is 'rational' knowledge of architecture possible? Science and poiesis in L'Architettura della Citta," Journal of Architectural Education 51: 158-165.
Apr. 27 - (Th): Cities, memory and imagination: Calvino's Invisible Cities.
Calvino, Italo; 1972. Invisible Cities. W. Weaver (trans.). Harcourt: San Diego.
Boyer, M. Christine; 2001. The city of collective memory: its historical imagery and architectural entertainments. The MIT Press: Cambridge Massachusetts. 1-70. (after Benjamin).

May 11. Final papers due, before 5 pm at Ömür's door.