Public Lecture Series
Public Lecture Series
Bess Williamson is a historian of design and material culture with a particular interest in social and political concerns in design, including environmental, labor, justice, and rights issues as they shape and are shaped by spaces and things. Her book, Accessible America: A History of Disability and Design, traces the history of design responses to disability rights from 1945 to recent times. This project shows how the concept of “access” emerged as a value in design in this period, with consequences for the everyday lives of disabled people as well as for discourses around civil rights and design’s role in society. She is co-editor of Making Disability Modern: Design Histories, a collection of case studies of objects, buildings, and systems that reflect changing design approaches to disability from the 18th century to the present. She also contributed to a special section on digital culture in the book with a study of 3-D printed prosthetics in fashion and humanitarian design.
Andrea Bagnato has been researching architecture, ecology, and epidemiology since 2013, under the long-term project Terra Infecta. Among the project's outcomes are a book on infected landscapes in Mediterranean Italy (with Anna Positano; forthcoming by Humboldt Books), the book A Moving Border: Alpine Cartographies of Climate Change (with Marco Ferrari and Elisa Pasqual; Columbia/ZKM, 2019), as well as lectures and an essay series. Andrea has been teaching on these subjects at Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam and at the Architectural Association in London. As a book editor, he worked for the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, Forensic Architecture, and the Chicago Architecture Biennial. With Adrian Lahoud, he co-edited the two volumes Rights of Future Generations (Hatje Cantz, 2019–2022).
Nora Akawi is a Palestinian architect, and an assistant professor at The Cooper Union, New York. She focuses on erasure and bordering in settler colonialism and works at the intersection of architecture with border studies, cartography, and archive theory. Prior to joining The Cooper Union, Nora taught at Columbia University’s GSAPP, where she was the director of Studio-X Amman between 2012 and 2020, and the founding director of the Janet Abu-Lughod Library and Seminar since 2015. She curated Al Majhoola Min Al-Ard (this earth’s unknown) at the Biennale d’Architecture d’Orléans (2019), and co-curated Sarāb, a festival of experimental electronic music and performance from the Arab worlds (2019), and Friday Sermon at the Biennale Architettura in Venice (2018). She co-edited the books Friday Sermon (2018) and Architecture and Representation: The Arab City (2016). Together with Eduardo Rega Calvo, in 2019 she co-founded the interdisciplinary research and design studio Interim Projects.
Nora will present this work in dialogue with Pedro Ceñal Murga.
Pedro Ceñal Murga (born October 17, 1988) is an independent curator, architect and researcher based in Mexico City. He holds a degree in Architecture by the National Autonomous University of Mexico and a masters degree in Critical, Conceptual, and Curatorial Practices in Architecture by Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. His work has been published in Domus Magazine (IT), Arquine (MX), Harper’s Bazaar (MX) and Bitácora (MX), and exhibited un MUCA Campus (Mexico City), Instituto Helénico (Mexico City), Gopher Hole Gallery (London), ZOMA Art Center (Addis Abeba), Espacio CDMX, Royal Institute of British Architects (London), Kunstraum Kreuzberg (Berlin), laNao (Mexico City), and Museo de la Filatelia (Oaxaca, Mexico).
Pedro will present this work in dialogue with Nora Akawi.
WAI Architecture Think Tank is a planetary studio practicing by questioning the political, historical, and material legacy and imperatives of architecture and urbanism through a panoramic and critical approach. Founded in Brussels during the financial crisis of 2008 by Puerto Rican architect, artist, curator, educator, author and theorist Cruz Garcia and French architect, artist, curator, educator, author and poet, Nathalie Frankowski, WAI is one of their several platforms of public engagement that include Beijing-based anti-profit art space Intelligentsia Gallery, and the free and alternative education platform and trade-school Loudreaders. In search of critical forms of architectural pedagogy, Garcia and Frankowski are deeply invested in the development of new curricula and pedagogical experiments searching for diverse forms of public engagement with architecture, as well as a decolonization and anti-racist reconstruction of the role of architecture in the construction of new worlds.
Public Lecture Series
Struggle/Rupture/Joy describes the collisions, unraveling and ungrounding we are living through today. The convergent struggles expose as much the structural violence and injustices that brought us to the present as they open new forms of solidarity, communal care and revolutionary love. Rupture, the tenacious performance of living otherwise amidst the terror of a world collapsing; joy, a collective poetics, a charged glimmer that breaks through the violence of everyday oppression—the realization that nothing has to be the way it is.
These notions are a reminder that the future is not a temporal condition but a social and environmental modality of living otherwise. As the inaugural speaker series of Architecture at Bard, Struggle/Rupture/Joy foregrounds work that points to what architecture can be, as opposed to what it has been. It aims to open a space for both accountability for the historically situated struggles of our present and a set of emancipatory tools needed to live collectively otherwise.
How to Begin Again: Urgent Propositions for a New Urban Practice Cohabitation Strategies (CohStra) is a non-profit cooperative for socio-spatial research, design and development based in New York City, Rotterdam and Ibiza. CohStra was founded in the city of Rotterdam –right after the 2008 financial crash– by Lucia Babina, Emiliano Gandolfi, Gabriela Rendón and Miguel Robles-Durán. Since then, CohStra has initiated operation centers in various cities across Europe, South and North America. Its action research endeavors to facilitate transformative and progressive urban intervention projects. This is undertaken through the active engagement with a range of locally embedded actors from governments, municipalities, cultural institutions, non-profit organizations and civic groups to researchers, artists, designers and independent activists that coalesce around the desire for social, spatial and environmental justice – in short, the Right to the City.
An Atlas for Housing Justice aims to compose a structural and historical portrait of the history of public housing in the US. The exhibition represents a collective research project—an ‘atlas’—that gathers together social, political, spatial and architectural knowledge with an eye to read parallel relations and associations across various historical strands—housing-based social movements, architectural precedents, housing and governmental policies, major political uprisings and grassroots organizations, popular cultural depictions of housing and the less visible systemic forms of violence. The aim of this is to open different ways by which architecture can meaningfully engage the larger movement for housing justice.
The exhibition is the culmination of collective research work done by students enrolled in the architecture studio-seminar ARCH 321—Housing and Collective Care: Constituencies. Student participants are: Spencer Checkoway, Aidan Galloway, Matthew Gershovich, Ali Kane, Natalie Montoya, Hana Soule, Blake Sylvester and Raif Wexler.
Parity Front: Activism in Design Institutions
Charlotte Malterre-Barthes is Assistant Professor of Urban Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Principal of the urban design agency OMNIBUS, she holds a PhD from ETHZ on the effects of the political economy of commodities on the built environment. She is a founding member of the Parity Group and of the Parity Front.
Dubravka Sekulić (Royal College of Art) is an architect and educator, interested in unsettling epistemic frameworks of spatial education and how the interplay between politics and economy produces space and subjectivity. With Charlotte Malterre-Barthes she initiated Curriculum Revolution: Bringing Intersectionality to the Architecture School.
Khensani de Klerk is an architectural designer and planner from Johannesburg. Her efforts are centred on gender empowerment in the architectural industry through research and practice. She is the founder and co-director of Matri-Archi(tecture) which is a collective that empowers African women as a network dedicated to African spatial education and development.
Signs and Transmissions: Architecture and Intergenerational Rights
Adrian is Dean of the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art. Prior to his current role at the RCA, he was director of the MA program at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths and a research fellow in the Forensic Architecture ERC-funded project; studio master in the Projective Cities MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design at the Architectural Association; and director of the MArch Urban Design at the Bartlett, University College London.
This lecture presents Adrian’s recent work curating the first Sharjah Triennale of Architecture, ‘The Rights of Future Generations’, 2019 - 2020. Building on his work to date, the constellation of projects and interventions that the Triennale presented open questions that look to new ways of understanding futurity in relation to the many crises, as well as the many uprisings, that are shaping our present.
Participation as a Human Right: The Politics of Housing Production
COMUNAL was founded in 2015 in Mexico City by Mariana Ordóñez Grajales and Jesica Amescua Carrera. As a team made up of women, they are committed to facilitating the participation of adult women, young people and girls in all aspects of spatial production while always respecting their cultural contexts.
Architecture as Measure
Neyran Turan is an architect and a partner at NEMESTUDIO. She is currently an Associate Professor at the University of California-Berkeley. NEMESTUDIO is an award-winning studio recognized by the Architectural League New York, The Architects' Newspaper, Core 77 Design Awards, ACSA and the Graham Foundation. NEMESTUDIO’s work, ranging from installations to buildings and landscapes, has been widely published and exhibited internationally. Neyran's work focuses on alternative forms of environmental imagination and their capacity for new aesthetic and political trajectories within architecture and urbanism. She is the founding chief-editor of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) journal New Geographies and was the editor-in-chief of its first two volumes. Her recently published book, Architecture as Measure (ACTAR Publishers, 2020), has been awarded by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Turan is the curator of the Pavilion of Turkey in the 2021 Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition.
Jennifer Newsom is a licensed architect, artist, and principal of Dream The Combine, based in Minneapolis, MN. Together with partner Tom Carruthers, she has produced numerous site-specific installations in the U.S. and Canada that explore metaphor, perceptual uncertainties, and the boundary between real and illusory space. Dream The Combine are winners of the 2018 Young Architects Program at MoMA PS1 for their installation Hide & Seek, and were recently named winners of the 2020-2021 J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Prize. Dream The Combine has exhibited internationally and has been published widely, including Metropolis Magazine, Architect Magazine, Log, Architectural Record, The Architects Newspaper, and Dezeen. They are currently at work on upcoming installations in Minneapolis MN, Wilkinsburg PA, and Columbus IN.
In addition to Dream The Combine, Jennifer is Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota School of Architecture. She is a graduate of the Yale School of Architecture.
Architecture at Bard builds its pedagogy around a concern for the present, an acute attention to structural inequalities and a longing for other futures. The curriculum frames architecture as both an art form and an argument—a situated aesthetic spatial practice whose propositions aim to reconfigure our collective present toward more just futures. The program builds across architectural cultures, design techniques, histories and propositions to equip students with an expansive and experimental approach toward the field that simultaneously opens paths for engaging other disciplines spatially. The program teaches students that architecture is a site for transformative, insurgent spatial and material possibilities with which to imagine worlds otherwise.
The curriculum presents architecture as a historically situated and intellectually rigorous field in which the practice of design naturally intersects with and draws from discourses outside its traditionally conceived boundaries. Structurally, the curriculum is composed of four families of courses that build upon this conception:
are conceived as a hybrid pedagogical model that situates design interventions and technique acquisition within a broader, transdiscursive series of lectures, readings and discussions around a given question.
are intensive, 2-credit, one-month-long studio courses that invite emerging and renowned external practitioners and thinkers to expose students to a variety of contemporary practices and modes of architectural design.
introduce architectural practice and techniques within a socio-political field. They consist of courses that build a knowledge of architecture that cuts across spatial histories, theories, research methods and representation techniques.
draw from across the college to interrogate architecture and the production of space from the vantage point of non-architectural disciplines, works and modes of inquiry. These courses have a shared scope in questioning the ways in which we inhabit the world, the social and historical structures that animate them.
The curriculum builds a pedagogical sequence that cuts across the four groups of courses aiming, on the one hand, to encourage common points of inquiry to develop across the curriculum and, on the other, to give disciplinary and methodological progression over the duration of the program.
Recognizing issues like climate change brings to the fore the trans-scalar relations that directly tie buildings, bodies, cities and ecosystems together. In this context, the planetary lens shifts our view of architecture from the isolated object to the structurally situated and historically entangled design practice—an art form that necessarily cuts across and interrelates multiple scales, disciplines, bodies and actors.
Building on an inter-scalar understanding of architecture, the second phase in the sequence grounds architectural design and discourse in the spatial concerns of specific social groups, movements and struggles. It opens a critical framework by which to develop projects alongside various groups, organizations or actors that directly address issues such as spatial justice, housing rights, gentrification, spatial inequalities of gender and race.
The final phase of the sequence mobilizes the intellectual maturity, design skills and technical agility of the students to approach architecture as a site of open experimentation in building collective futures. This phase is the most methodologically open and intellectually challenging of the three. It aims to empower students to explore the capacity of design as a means to imagine realities of collective spatial life otherwise.
The curriculum consists of 9 courses (32 credits total) and two terms of Senior Project. In Upper College students will be able to select between a focus on Critical Cultures of Architecture or Design Studio-Seminar. Example:
|Amount of required courses||Required course type's shortname||Required course type's name|
|2×/3×||CCA||courses in Critical Cultures of Architecture|
|3×/2×||DSS||courses in Design Studio-Seminars|
|2×||ES||Electives on Space|
|2×||OPW||Open Practices Workshops|
|2×||Terms of Senior Project|
The Architecture Program treats moderation as an opportunity for in-depth discussion with key faculty at a crucial point in students’ development; it is a moment of shared reflection and constructive speculation aimed at building toward a Senior Project. To moderate, students will be required to complete the courses listed below. In addition to these course requirements, in order to moderate, students must present the following:
*Note: Students may take both ARTH 125 and ARTH 126, but are ONLY REQUIRED TO TAKE ONE FOR MODERATION.
|Required course's type||Required course's name||Credits||Area|
|ARCH 111.||Architecture as Media||4||CCA|
|ARTH 125.*||Modern Architecture in the Age of Colonialism||4*||CCA|
|ARTH 126.*||Situating Architecture||4*||CCA|
|—1XX-2XX.||Elective course on space||4||ES|
|ARCH 130.||Open Practices Workshop 1||2||OPW|
After moderation, students will be required to complete 18 additional credits, for a total of 32 credits, as well as two terms of Senior Project. In their advanced courses, students will be able to focus their work on either design-based study or research-based projects, with a choice of taking either ARCH 421 or ARCH 311. Senior Projects will typically be done on an individual basis, but the program will host periodic student colloquia across each term to build shared knowledge and a collaborative ethos across the entire Program. The Senior Projects will be expected to exhibit their work in a collective annual Senior Show at the end of the academic year.
|Required course's type||Required course's name||Credits||Area|
|ARCH 221.||Design Studio Seminar: Planetary||4||DSS|
|ARCH 321.||Design Studio-seminar: Constituencies||4||DSS|
|—3XX-4XX.||Elective seminar on space||4||ES|
|ARCH 311.*||Architecture as Research||4||CCA|
|ARCH 330.||Open Practices Workshop 2||2||OPW|
|ARCH 421.*||Design studio-seminar: Futures||4||DSS|
|ARCH 401||Senior Project 1||-|
|ARCH 402||Senior Project 2||-|
The effects of a changing climate on the environment around us cannot be entirely foreseen. While there is abundant information on how the climate might change given different economic and political scenarios, no one knows with any certainty how these changes will affect the plants, animals, soils, and complex ecosystem interactions that we depend on locally. While environmental sensing at a planetary scale has alerted us to this condition, a more local approach to monitoring environmental change is needed. This approach must engage with existing reservoirs of vernacular knowledge, bodily practices of careful observation, and a new architectural grammar for registering landscape change. In this short course we will design our own sensing devices to be deployed at the scale of a tree, a house, a lake, or a small forest. Each design will combine a sensor with a protocol for how to collect environmental data. By using sensors like cameras, thermometers, Ph meters, and our own bodily observations of the world, we will create high-resolution, if not necessarily high-tech drawings and images of environmental change. Through a direct engagement with local sites, we will test our insights and design proposals for how to engage with the condition of continuous change in the environment.
Cross-listed with the Center for Human Rights and the Arts and The Center for Curatorial Studies.
This course focuses on the histories of extractivism and violence against land and against the female body in the Americas, centering on ways in which writing, art and activism have responded to systemic violence across the continent. We will be looking at work emerging across many different languages and cultures in the continent and thinking about their hemispheric intersections as well as about their disconnects. Some of the thinkers, authors and artists we will be engaging with are Aimé Césaire, Natalie Díaz, Dolores Dorantes, Layli Longsoldier, Fred Moten, Yasnaya Elena Aguilar, and Vivir Quintana, as well as several art collectives.
This studio-based course introduces students to architectural tools of communication while presenting architecture as a field that communicates not only technical knowledge, but public imaginaries, spatial aesthetics of popular culture and contested ideas. In this way, the course will teach students basic architectural tools of representation as a situated practice of aesthetic production. Students will learn and practice techniques of contemporary digital drafting, diagramming, mapping, modeling and image-making, all of which will be carefully positioned against a survey of paradigmatic moments in the history of architecturally-related visual cultures. Thus, it will span a series of design technique workshops across a range of lectures from the historical emergence of the floorplan to the CGI-rendered culture of late capitalist architecture, among other crucial episodes in the history of architectural media.
The effects of a changing climate on the environment around us cannot be entirely foreseen. While there is abundant information on how the climate might change given different economic and political scenarios, no one knows with any certainty how these changes will affect the plants, animals, soils, and complex ecosystem interactions that we depend on locally. While environmental sensing at a planetary scale has alerted us to this condition, a more local approach to monitoring environmental change is needed. This approach must engage with existing reservoirs of vernacular knowledge, bodily practices of careful observation, and a new architectural grammar of ephemeral devices for registering landscape change. In this short course, we will design our own sensing devices to be deployed at the scale of a tree, a house, a lake, or a small forest. Our devices will be high-resolution, if not necessarily high-tech. Through a direct engagement with local sites, we will test our insights and design proposals for how to engage with the condition of continuous change in the environment.
This course examines the history of modern architecture, examining the debates, theories, and practices that informed its many facets from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century. We will be discussing the production of the built environment within the context of colonialism, focusing on the infrastructures, institutions, and building types that emerged in response to industrialization, social revolutions, and epistemic shifts. The industrialization of production, new technologies, material, and institutions, as well as growing urban cultures and changing social structures called for architects and designers to partake in the process of modernization. The course will pay particular attention to the ways in which architects responded to and participated in formal and aesthetic developments, as well as epistemic and cultural shifts that marked modernity, such as the enlightenment, Darwinism, positivism, and the rise of psychology. Covering many aspects of architecture, from buildings, drawings, exhibitions, and schools, to historical and theoretical writings and manifestos, we will investigate the wide range of modernist practices, polemics and institutions. The aim of the course is to provide a solid historical framework of the debates and practices that made architecture modern, while engaging the students in a critical discussion of the role of architecture in the production of the built environment and the forces that shape it. The course includes field trips, readings, and short assignments. (1800-present).
Cities and their surrounds have long been fertile grounds for the construction of narrative. This course examines relationships between narratives and their settings by employing conceptual frameworks borrowed from architectural studies and histories of the built environment. Weekly discussions of a wide range of texts—literary and otherwise—will be structured around building typologies and common tropes of urban planning: the row-house brownstone, the apartment building, the skyscraper, the suburban or rural house, and the arteries of linkage between them. We will read each set of texts as narratives of place, space, and architecture to discover what, if any, architectures of narrative may undergird or influence them. We will consider to what extent geography and landscape shape culture and identity; we’ll chart relationships between race, class, gender, and the environment as articulated by the city and related regions; and we will explore notions of public and private space and our ever-mutable understandings of what it means to be “urban.” Texts will include novels, essays, films, visual art, and graphic novels. Authors may include: Alison Bechdel, Sarah Broom, June Jordan, Rem Koolhaas, Ben Lerner, Kevin Lynch, Paule Marshall, Zadie Smith, D.J. Waldie, Colson Whitehead.
This elective offers an analogical approach to thinking about spaces of exhibition.
Holding the contemporary museum and gallery at bay, we will instead consider a wider range of human sites, technologies, and tropes that themselves enact processes of display, memorialization, exchange, and contestation. Moving from cemeteries and hard drives to highway revolts, swamps, and shopping malls, the seminar's aim is to think diagonally about the labor, possibilities, and social frictions of exhibition. In doing so, we will work also to understand the gallery, cinema, and theater as deeply porous, suffused with unexpected historical echoes and inflections that might be activated by experimental curatorial methods and display strategies. In other words, what might we gain from curatorial forms that learn not only from a history of exhibitions but also from practices of honoring the dead, luring in shoppers, leaving record for the far future, fortifying against threat, trimming plants to look like animals, and imagining a world that cannot be reconciled with this one?
The course is fundamentally interdisciplinary, pulling from architectural and spatial
theory, media archeology, literature and film, anti-colonial and insurgent history,
urbanism, ecology, and theories of design. Drawing on the insights of the radical
journal Contropiano (Counterplan) from which the seminar takes its name, our focus will be on understanding design as grounded in an awareness of a potential contradiction and a dense relation of visibility, access, and power.
More than half the world’s population now lives in urban areas. Thus, the study of social and political dynamics in urban centers is crucial if we are to understand and address the pressing issues of the contemporary world. This course will allow students to explore these dynamics through an introduction to urban sociology: the study of social relations, processes, and changes in the urban context. We will begin by reading perspectives on the development of cities, followed by an examination of how the city and its socio-spatial configuration affect and are affected by social interactions, particularly across gender, race, and class lines. The course will then consider the relationship between globalization and the modern city before concluding with a few examples of how citizens address the challenges in their communities. Throughout, we will explore the diverse methods that social scientists use to understand these dynamics, and students will have the opportunity to utilize some of these methods in an investigation of a local “urban community.”
This course will introduce students to the conceptual framework and implementation of design for stage. We will track the integration of technology in performance, and how mechanical advances and digital reproduction have shaped interpersonal interactions on stage and off. Readings include Walter Benjamin, Marshall McLuhan, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky, Miranda July and others. Through a series of case studies, we will explore the design choices of notable productions and discuss the technical apparatus at work. In parallel units, students will engage in a rendering practice of scenic and costume designs based on classic and contemporary texts. Projection, sound and lighting techniques will be introduced. The course will culminate in a final project which will combine dramaturgical research and rendering techniques acquired over the semester.
In ancient Greece, gods were everywhere, living alongside their human worshippers in temples, shrines, and other houses of worship throughout the landscape. What did these temples look like? What activities occurred within? What made temples special, or “sacred”? In this course, we will apply modern theories of materiality, space, and religion to the ancient Greek material and literary evidence to interpret ancient Greek sacred spaces. The first half of the course focuses on the art and architecture of ancient Greek temples, paying specific attention to the development of the temple form across Greek history. In the second half of the course, we will turn to the human experience of sacred space. We will read descriptions of Greek temples by Pausanias and other ancient authors in an attempt to “repopulate” the ancient Greek landscape. Students will become familiar with different approaches to material culture and develop the ability to analyze material evidence in conjunction with more traditional, text-based sources.
What does the temperature outside have to do with politics, rights and duties? How does climate change intersect with colonialism, capitalism and other systems that foster inequality? How is it shaping people’s senses of time, risk and the good life? This course will draw on anthropological concepts and methods to consider how climatic changes (e.g. floods, desertification, “extreme” weather events) resulting from a rapidly warming planet are impacting cultural production and meaning-making in different geographical contexts. We will examine what imaginaries feed and are sustained by technologies invented and infrastructures erected to help specific populations “adapt” to global warming. Yet our assumption will also be that the cultural/social and the natural are not distinct but are rather made to appear distinct under particular conditions. That assumption will allow us to ask: What is at stake in calling the present moment “the Anthropocene”? And how does the belief (and scientific evidence demonstrating) that humans impact climate shape the range of political and social possibilities on offer in different political and social arrangements? We will aim to read and cite progressively by featuring contributions from scholars who are underread and undercited, following recent calls within and beyond Anthropology to rethink the processes of power that have led to some voices becoming canonized and others remaining less audible.
This studio-seminar will approach the design of housing from a careful, studied and historically critical point of view. It aims to expose students to architecture as both a creative practice of designing politically-relevant forms of co-habitation and as a realist, insurgent practice in which architecture serves as an instrument in the struggles for housing justice. Moving away from the refrain ‘housing crisis’, which has lent a certain critical myopia to the discourse of housing, today’s movement is empowered by a call for ‘housing justice’—a call to situate housing as a means and ends to a broader project of social and environmental justice. Building on prior design work, this course will continue to experiment with new ways of thinking about architecture grounded in what we are calling ‘constituencies’—an effort to illuminate the role architecture plays in mediating power relations between communities of people and structures of governance. Adopting approaches like housing reclamation and appropriation, this course will be an effort to imagine how architectural practices can intervene in a crucial site of social and political transformation.
Students should expect to gain a critical, hands-on knowledge of housing typologies, explore practical, imaginative ways in which to transform an existing context. Texts will bring into contact housing-specific readings from Ananya Roy, Raquel Rolnik, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and David Madden with broader geographies outlined by Adam Bledsoe Willie Jamaal Wright, Katherine McKittrick and Sylvia Wynter.
This seminar uses the space of the Silicon Valley to explore larger threads and themes in post-war economic, urban, political, and intellectual United States history. Together we will study social justice, class, race, gender, and sexuality, and the history of capitalism and inequality.
It goes without saying that liberal arts colleges put great importance on space and propinquity. Being together in physical proximity—not only in the classroom but in a range of formal and informal settings—is deemed an essential part of a liberal arts education. Yet, with the pandemic, this essential part of liberal arts education has been suddenly and forcefully put into question. In this workshop, we'll use this disorienting moment as an opportunity to reflect on the campus as a living / working / learning space. Our hypothesis is that being pulled out of familiar spatial habits might help us better understand what these habits are, where they come from, and how they might change going forward. Our goals will be (1) to find new ways of drawing and thereby conceptualizing our everyday environment, both prior to and during this time of social distancing, and (2) to make proposals in response to the current moment and/or for the long term. Our approach will be both pragmatic and visionary, in that we’ll ask how we actually live on campus now and how our lives could be potentially improved in simple, feasible ways, and we’ll simultaneously envision radically different ways of thinking about the campus space.
Islands have become associated with political separation and symbols of our changing environmental conditions as water levels rise and plastics form archipelagos. Islands also enable critical selectivity rather than imposed connectivity, a rarity in an age of constant status updates and notifications. In brief, islands constrain—they offer a condition that is the fundamental ingredient for this design brief. In the design of our islands, we will prototype typologies of micro living and investigate the environmental conditions of an artificial nature. The design studio workshop invites discussions around topics of post-work society, second nature, climate change, borders and domesticity in a micro-living/micro-nation condition.
The month-long course will move across a variety of scales; from the design of an object to bring to the island, to a single occupancy home, to the entire island. Developing skills such as CAD drawing, Rhino 3d modeling, casting and GIS mapping will be programmed into this workshop.
Architecture is both the product of labor and the organizer of its relations, yet often these issues remain overshadowed by aesthetic considerations and the broader discourse of design. In shifting the question of labor in architecture to the foreground, this course invites students to reflect on the spatio-political role architecture has played in mediating bodies, work and capital. To do this, we will analyze contemporary transformations to paradigmatic sites of work (offices, factories, tech campuses), as well as the many spaces that have been produced to feed architectural production and its endless cycles of extraction (camps, slums, mines), or the architecture that reproduces forms of maintenance (houses, squares, resorts). We will analyze a diverse set of contemporary and historical architectural precedents against a heterogenous landscape of voices from Maurizio Lazzarato, Silvia Federici, Mierle Laderman Ukeless, David Harvey, Peggy Deamer, Mabel O. Wilson, among others. The course will unfold in a combination of lectures and seminars. There are no exams but students are expected to complete weekly assignments, a midterm and a final project.
Recent global catastrophes including the Covid19 pandemic and unusually destructive wildfires have highlighted the importance of equitable access to clean air in human and ecological health. While air is the fluid humans engage with most intimately, we are not generally aware of whether or not the air we are interacting with is “clean.” Environmental racism in the US has resulted in an inequitable distribution of clean air, which has in turn given birth to the powerful movement for environmental justice. This class will be devoted to learning the scientific principles behind measuring and managing air quality on a local, regional, and global scale. We will be interacting with other Bard (OSUN) network institutions to think cross-disciplinarily and cross-nationally about the global nature of air “management” and to creatively address the scientific needs of local and regional community members working toward reducing air pollution. Lab work will be guided by scientific questions generated by communities including Kingston, NY and Bishkek, Kyrgysztan. Specifically, students will manipulate models to conduct field sampling, and utilize microbiological and chemical assays in the lab to better understand sources for and tracking of contaminants in air and the implications for people breathing that air. This course is part of the Racial Justice Initiative, an interdisciplinary collaboration among students and faculty to further the understanding of racial inequality and injustice in the United States and beyond.
Does art have a role to play in altering the course of the crisis of climate change? In this class we will analyze a range of artistic practices and strategies addressing climate change. Through focused case studies, we will learn to apply a range of basic artmaking techniques to civic engagement with this urgent topic. Techniques may include digital skills, drawing, and basic sculpture and installation techniques. These visual tools will be employed to increase our understanding of climate change through both individual reflection and public engagement. We will engage in research of the effects of climate change on our local, national, and global landscape. Projects may include posters, Instagram posts, public installations, and collaboration with local community venues such as the Bard Farm.
This course-practicum will bring students into the ongoing work of the Kingston Housing Lab. This project combines critical geography with the politics and philosophy of prison abolition, bringing both to bear upon the struggle for housing justice in Kingston, New York and Ulster county. Students will engage latest academic literature on housing insecurity and evictions as an ongoing crisis in late-capitalism, receive training in ArcGIS, and participate in our efforts to repair relationships between tenants and landlords. Though a small town, Kingston, NY is in the midst of a housing crisis, one that has been exacerbated by COVID-19 and which is driven by the regional and global flow of capital into real estate in small towns near and far. Kingston Housing Lab students will have an opportunity to directly intervene in these issues at a critical juncture in global history.
This course serves as an introduction to the art and architecture of the Byzantine Empire. Beginning with the reign of Constantine the Great in 324 and ending with the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453, the course will look at art produced in the eastern Mediterranean region under successive emperors. In addition to architecture, the course will look at mosaics, textiles, painting, city planning, manuscripts, and a range of other media. Course requirements include two short papers as well as quizzes and exams. AHVC distribution: Ancient, European
This class explores the theory and practice of utopia from an architectural perspective. Utopias have always been imagined through a variety of mediums like the manifesto, the blueprint, and visual and performing arts. The course investigates the manifold scales of utopian articulation and realization, from compound communities to projects designing the entire globe, and from unrealized proposals to intentional communes of co-liberation. The class will use the concept of utopia to map out the ways that men and women have sought to transform the spatial, psychic, and social landscapes they inhabited. What can we learn from the utopian imperative? What is the shape of utopia? How should we understand the relationship between thought and practice, hope and disappointment, idealism and realism? Projects presented range from early industrial colonies, socialist utopias, Christian communities, and anarchist utopias to settlement housing, shopping malls, and factories. The projects will be discussed in conjunction with major texts by Sir Thomas More, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Karl Marx, Robert Owen, Louis Marin, to name a few. Course requirements involve short assignments, class presentations and a final paper.
Castles, pointed arches, and images of a white European Jesus all belong to our inheritance from the period known as the Middle Ages. Ideas of the “medieval” permeate our modern culture, be it in fantasy novels, adventure films, church architecture, honor codes, nursery rhymes, or the emblems adopted by white supremacists. This course allows students to explore modern notions and uses of medieval material culture through forms of public writing. Considering in particular how the visual aesthetics of the European Middle Ages function in modern contexts, students will be asked to try their hand at various forms of writing, such as a travel blog, a film review, a site analysis, and a museum wall label. Students will also serve as editors of and respondents to the writing of their classmates. The aim of the course is to allow students to engage critically with public discourses about a past that is still formative for modern national, cultural, and group identities.
This course critically explores the history of the twenty-and twenty-first century United States through the country’s natural and built environments. Moving chronologically, we consistently ask what the relationship is between nature, labor, and capital, and what the relationship is between space, place, and race. This course most closely speaks to students interested in federal and state environmental policies, activism regarding disability and health rights, fights over urban environmental concerns, perspectives from the North American West, and the history of transnational racial, indigenous, and environmental justice movements.
This seminar engages with disability studies, queer theory, architectural and design history, political ecology, and histories of radical organizing and mobilization that focus on the idea and experience of disability and sickness. In traversing these materials, this seminar aims to ask: rather than seeing disability and sickness simply as a limitation or failure to reach a “healthy” norm, what can the experience and often hidden histories of the disabled and chronically ill, as well as those who fight for their care, reveal about social structures, ideologies, and patterns of circulation that cannot be seen otherwise? What would it mean to move beyond the political and ideological centrality of the idea of health and to instead understand the way that it can function to normalize racialized and gendered structures of exclusion and privation? And what models of care, collectivity, flexibility, and access have been, and might be posed, against this, through the speculative work of chronic theorists and disability justice advocates and through hard-fought campaigns and daily ad hoc solutions alike? In addition to grappling with a range of historical and theoretical texts, we’ll also center on artistic, political, and critical tactics that work to draw out those hidden causes and the roles that conceptions of health, hygiene, and security play in reinforcing models of restricted access and normalized violence.
This course centers on key texts from French, German, Russian, and British literature, from Goethe’s Sorrows of Young Werther to Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. We will consider novelists who have diagnosed the effects of urban reality on their protagonists, prompting their readers to link the transformation of traditional power structures, the rise of social mobility, and the increasing centrality of science, to new literary techniques and a breakdown in self presentation. Belief and doubt, the real and the fantastic, omniscience and fragmentation, are at play in most of our texts. Readings will be from Balzac, Baudelaire, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Flaubert, Gogol, Hoffman, Woolf, and Zola.
This course introduces the students to critical themes and sites in the history of architectural culture. The goal is to situate architectural practices and theories within the political and social context that produced them, reframing and problematizing questions of modernity, technology, industrialization, internationalism, autonomy, postmodernism. During the course we will take an active approach to the writing of history, investigating the canonical history of modern architecture, but also bringing forth and examining projects marginalized by official historiographies of the modern movement. We will be asking what happened to modern architecture when the philosophical and aesthetic inquiries for an appropriately modern form of life met with the challenges of an increasingly internationalized world, post-World War II housing demands, decolonization, corporate capitalism, social movements, and a newly founded partnership with the military-industrial complex. How did architects respond to the social and political challenges of the new world order? Which were the main theories developed around architectural responses to sociopolitical questions? Which were the programs and agendas that these theories postulated to architecture? What can we learn from them about the past and future of architecture?
Assignments include weekly posts, presenting a case study, leading a discussion session, and a final ten-page paper on architecture.
What can we learn when we approach architecture as a ‘planetary’ condition? Aside from opening up new scales of design or shifting our focus to ecological concerns, how does this perspective fundamentally alter what it means to practice architecture? How might the planetary as a category trouble certain tropes and attitudes inherited from the likes of modernist universalism, techno-solutionism or racial capitalism that have long undergirded architectural thought and practice? How might the planetary inspire a radically different set of practices?
This course is an effort to build a different foundational knowledge of architecture in a moment of planetary crisis. It will do so by introducing architecture not as a fixed field, but one that must be understood as a situated practice—one that we will encounter transversally, across a range of sites from the body to the planet. The aim of doing so is not to present a scalar progression as an inevitable trajectory (the mirror image of perpetual growth) or as a set of discrete families of practice, but rather as an invitation to comprehend architecture otherwise—to approach architecture from alternate sites of inquiry that reveal it to be a technology that mediates our relation to the world.