News/Events

Bard Architecture

Future Commons

Public Lecture Series
2021-22

Bard College Campus

Photograph of a mountainous desert landscape cut by a border fence with new settlements on the left

Nora Akawi

The So-Called Border

Lecture

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.

image: Photo by Daniel Ruiz, 2018

Future Commons

Pedro Ceñal Murga

The Distributed Vertical Border

Lecture

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.

image: The Distributed Vertical Border, Pedro Ceñal Murga

future commons

Anjuli Fatima Raza Kolb

Where Was 9/11?

Lecture

Anjuli Fatima Raza Kolb is Associate Professor of English at the University of Toronto, where she teaches postcolonial literature and theory and poetry. She holds a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, and has taught at Bard, Williams College, City College New York, and the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research.
​Her academic research explores how science, medicine, natural history, and other kinds of colonial knowing reshaped literature, culture, economy, and politics. Her first book, Epidemic Empire (University of Chicago Press, 2021, Deutscher Prize nominee) uncovers the history behind the dead metaphor of the "terrorism epidemic," by looking at documents of public health, policy, immigration law, novels, poems, films, and more.

Her poems, translations, and essays have appeared in various venues and are in conversation with the traditions of Urdu poetry, contemporary queer poetics, and lyric memoir. Her poetry collection Janaab-e Shikva [Watchqueen] was a finalist for the national poetry series in 2021.

image: Landsat 7 - NASA Goddard Office of Public Affairs

Contagious- ness: SUPPORTED BY CHRA, EH & EUS.

Michael Wang

Techno Nature

Lecture

Michael Wang is an artist based in New York. His practice uses systems that operate at a global scale as media for art, addressing climate change, species distribution, resource allocation and the global economy. Wang's work was the subject of solo exhibitions at LMCC's Arts Center at Governors Island, New York, USA (curated by Swiss Institute, 2019) and the Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy (2017). His work has also been included in the 13th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, China (2021), Manifesta 12 in Palermo, Italy (2018) and the XX Bienal de Arquitectura y Urbanismo in Valparaíso, Chile (2017). In 2017, he was a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant.

image: Hypericum Densiflorum, 2019. Process documentation from 'Extinct' in New York. M. Wang

Contagious- ness: SUPPORTED BY CHRA, EH & EUS.

Andrea Bagnato

On (not) Staying at Home

Lecture

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). 

image: Man in a mosquito net, 1930, Wellcome Collection

Contagious- ness: SUPPORTED BY CHRA, EH & EUS.

sepia-toned stop-motion image of a white man in a wheelchair being pulled up stairs by a white woman

Bess Williamson

Accessible Commons: Disability, Care, and Design in Public and at Home

Lecture

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.

image: Ronald Mace, from Handbook of the Handicapped Section of the NC State Building Code, 1974

Future Commons

WAI Architecture Think Tank

A Great Loudreading is in the Making. But No One has Noticed.

Lecture

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.

image: WAI Architecture Think Tank, The Floating Stage

Bard Architecture

Struggle
Rupture
Joy

Public Lecture Series

2020–2021

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.

Bard College Campus

Cohabitation Strategies / Urban Front

How to Begin Again: Urgent Propositions for a New Urban Practice

Lecture

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.

ARCH 321: Housing and Collective Care: Constituencies

An Atlas for Housing Justice

Student Exhibition

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.

C. Malterre-Barthes with D. Sekulić & K. De Klerk

Parity Front:
Activism in Design Institutions

Lecture

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.

Adrian Lahoud

Signs and Transmissions:
Architecture and Intergenerational Rights

Lecture

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.

image: Talie Eigeland

Taller Comunal

Participation as a Human Right:
The Politics of Housing Production

Lecture

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.

image: Taller Comunal / Jake Naughton

LAIS|EUS|EH |OSUN

Neyran Turan

Architecture as Measure

Lecture

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.

image: ‘Middle Earth’, NEMESTUDIO, 2017

EUS|EH|OSUN

Jennifer Newsom

Basic Process

Lecture

Basic Process
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.

image: Hide & Seek. Photo by Pablo Enriquez

Curriculum

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.

Course Types

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:

DSS

Design
Studio
Seminars

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.

OPW

Open
Practices
Workshop

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.

CCA

Critical
Cultures of
Architecture

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.

ES

Electives
on Space

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.

Sequence

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.

Planetary
Practice

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.

Constituencies

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.

Collective
Futures

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.

Requirements

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
ES Electives on Space
OPW Open Practices Workshops
Terms of Senior Project

Moderation Requirements

14 credits
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:

  • the two essays required by the college reflecting on their trajectory and future intellectual development within architecture
  • a portfolio of work to date including at least one featured project.

*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

Graduation Requirements

18 credits
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 322.* Design studio-seminar: Futures 4 DSS
ARCH 401 Senior Project 1 -
ARCH 402 Senior Project 2 -

Courses

an array of six white rooms each with different furniture and inhabited by a thin white man

Michael Robinson Cohen

Spatial Subjects: Architecture as Media

This studio-based course introduces students to architectural tools of communication while presenting architecture as a field that is expansive—a field that engages not only with technical knowledge, but also with the making of public imaginaries, personal environments, cultural spatial aesthetics, and even the contested ground of the political, economic and social. The course is simultaneously an introduction to the techniques of representation that define the discipline of architecture and an opportunity to explore and question how architecture mediates the world. Students will learn and practice techniques of contemporary digital drafting, diagramming, mapping, 3D modeling and compositional image-making. While the focus will be on an array of forms of architectural drawing, these techniques will be carefully positioned against a survey of paradigmatic moments and themes in the history of architecture that will help situate the practice today. Throughout the term, our design work will be supplemented by readings and periodic research work, and we will situate this against regular lectures that will introduce you to the broader culture of architecture. The course will provide a foundation of concepts and skills necessary to make architecture legible and to convey a spatial argument through design.

image: Video stills from Solutions, by Absalon, 1992

Spring
2022

ARCH 111
CCA (PA)

Rectangular drawing composed of red hairline traces on off-white paper.

Ellen Driscoll

Mapping: You Are Here

Maps have been dynamic visual and conceptual inspiration for many artists. In this class, we will work with drawing and sculptural installation to investigate the translation of scale and data to abstraction inherent in the art of mapping. We will study a range of contemporary artists around the world for whom maps are central to their artistic practice. We will study the visual strategies, content, and context of maps in these artist's works. We will also look at a rich range of historical maps from Polynesian navigation charts to the soundless silk maps of World War 2. The work of Katherine Harmon, Rebecca Solnit, W.E. B. DuBois, the counter-maps of the Black Panthers, and the Indigenous Mapping Collective, among others will form foundations for our research and artistic exploration. The 1000-acre campus of Bard will be our laboratory for focused research and for generating three visual projects.

image: Yukinori Yanagi, Wandering Position on Alcatraz, 1997

Spring
2022

ART 126 ED
ES (PA)

Olga Touloumi

Situating Architecture

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.

Spring
2022

ARTH 126
CCA (AA)

HIST 136

Surveying Displacement and Migration in the United States

This class will explore the twentieth-century American experience through the exercise of hands-on historical research methods. We will delve into the following themes in United States history: labor and markets, wealth and inequality, ethnic identity and race, and gender and the environment. Our tools of exploration will include readings, discussions, music, journalism, poetry, scholarly articles, digital content, and films. Upon successfully completing the course, students will be able to employ the methods of historical practice to navigate present-day questions related to political and social issues affecting contemporary society. Together, we will learn how to articulate opinions, grounded in history, about the politics, culture, and economics of the global United States.

image: Jacob Lawrence, from The Migration Series, 1940-41

Spring
2022

HIST 136
ES (HA, D+J)

Betsy Clifton

Perspectival speculations: Open Practices Workshop I

This one-month workshop will run from February 2nd to March 2nd and introduces drawing techniques to investigate the inherited conditions of our constructed environment and to speculate on its future. Throughout the workshop, students will create a full-scale perspectival drawing to reveal aspects of our environment that have come together not by intention, but by chance. With this, we will construct an alternative architectural language which measures, recomposes, and acknowledges our built environment as an accumulation of codes, patents, systems and legal frameworks, in service of proposing new opportunities. Each student will isolate an intersection of built space around campus (mechanical, structural, material, open to closed, corner, hallway, gap, etc.) and productively work to collapse its boundaries. Through readings (both from architecture and our own interpretations) and technical documents such as building codes and patents, students will name their constructed context, and draw over and around the existing site as a means to transform it. This class invites students from all backgrounds to engage with the fundamentals of architectural language. The course will conduct a series of drawing workshops and short exercises testing physical and conceptual space through digital 2D/3D modeling, drafting and image collaging. The final installation of the course will result in full scale perspective drawings and collages installed on the sites around campus.

image: Ubiquitous Site, Nagi’s Ryoanji, Architectural Body, 1994, Nagi Museum of Contemporary Art

Spring
2022

ARCH 130
OPW (PA)

Ross Exo Adams

Institutions for Planetary Fictions

What can we learn when we approach architecture as a ‘planetary’ practice? 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? This design studio-seminar is an effort to introduce architecture as a worldmaking practice by acknowledging its inherently fictional capacity to imagine ways of being—modes of existence that depart from (or reinforce) the structures of our present world. Unsettling notions that have underpinned architectural thought for centuries—private property, territory, racial capitalism, terra nullius—the aim of this studio-seminar is to approach architecture from alternate sites of inquiry that reveal it to be, more than anything else, a technology that mediates our relation to the world. Our work will be to design institutions for planetary fictions, architectural interventions that seek to instigate public imaginaries around sites of common existence—air, water, soil, forest, clouds—as a basis to exploit the narrative and fictional capacity of architecture at a moment of climatic and cultural transformation. We will develop our planetary fictions through a network of readings, films, discussions, collective design work, image making and invited guest lectures.

image: First photo of the Earth taken from a V-2 rocket (1946)

Spring
2022

ARCH 221
DSS (PA)

Olga Touloumi

Of Utopias

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 shopping malls, factories, and afrofuturism. 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.

image: Bodys Isek Kingelez, City Dreams

Spring
2022

ARTH 234
ES (AA)

Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco

Architectural Entanglements with Labor

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.

Spring
2022

ARCH 240
CCA (PA)

A beat-up car driving down a road flanked on one side with junk and graffitied fences on the other

Jeannette Estruth

Making Silicon Valley Histories

This course is an introduction to the history of Silicon Valley. Moving chronologically between 1945 and the present, we will study the history of this significant region, and stories about the area’s technology industry. With a focus on social justice, this class will explore race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, health and disability, immigration and labor, and diversity and inequality in technology and the modern United States. In this class, students will experience first-hand the history of the early Silicon Valley through a wealth of primary sources, such as newspaper accounts, oral histories, photographic images, government documents, corporate reports, advertisements and business journalism, and more. We will also engage an exciting and emerging secondary literature.

image: Still from Sorry To Bother You, directed by Boots Riley, 2018

Spring
2022

HIST 298
ES (HA, D+J)

Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins

The Anthropology of Home

What makes a home? Are homes political? This course will examine the meanings, materialities, and effects of homes across cultural contexts and through time. It will seek to understand how homes are unmade and remade, and what the effects of those processes are on human relationships and on relations between humans and the nonhuman world. It will investigate the relationship between homes and wealth in different societies, and what kinds of ownership emerge out of humans’ relationships to the infrastructures of shelter. The course will explore cases when homes appear to operate as extensions of colonial, state and nationalist ideologies. And it will highlight contexts in which homes can become spaces that counter hegemonic ideologies or cultural norms, or that can preserve lifeways that such ideologies and norms seek to eradicate. It will examine the kinds of labor and attention it takes to keep a structure stable enough over time, and against erosion caused by the elements, asking what socialities are formed out of the different kinds of–often gendered–labor that go into maintaining a home? It will investigate the question of whether homes are always spaces of intimacy. And it will explore the relationship between homes and the seemingly natural division between public and private realms. Our readings will draw on works of earlier anthropologists and theorists (e.g. Bourdieu, Hurston, Arendt, Levi-Strauss, Foucault, Laporte, Weiner), as well as on more contemporary ethnographies of places such as Palestine, Greece, Argentina, Vietnam, and the US.

Spring
2022

ANTH 296
ES (SA, D+J)

A makeshift workbench in a white room with concrete floor, on top of which is an array of art tools

Betsy Clifton

Lexicon of Everyday Futures

Where is the line between a presentation of proposed use (built space) and a presentation of potential use (exhibited space)? This design studio-seminar collapses the distinction between curating and creating by designing an exhibition, as well as the objects to be exhibited. By constructing our own vocabulary of contexts, codes, systems, and details of architecture, we will examine components of built space at multiple scales through a series of evolving models. We will reframe the institutional space of the gallery as a site of intellectual and creative production itself, and collapse the boundary between specified collections and our everyday context. Through a series of experimental workshops our focus will be on ubiquitous elements of space which inhabit most projects, but whose agency is usually anonymous (fire codes, mechanical systems, utilities, for example). Over the semester, we will iterate scaled physical models and interchange their roles between gallery and architectural mock up, speculative object and utilitarian element. The semester will culminate in a built exhibition which intends to open up architecture as a future practice that can more readily accept itself as a collective/collected environment.

image: Untitled, Peter Fischli and David Weiss, 1994–2013, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

Spring
2022

ARCH 322
DSS (PA)

Peter Klein

Hudson Valley Cities and Environmental (In)Justice

How do urban processes of growth, decline, and revitalization affect different groups, particularly along dimensions of race, class, and gender? This place-based research seminar course looks closely at this question by examining the historical, political, and social landscape of Kingston. We will use this nearby city as a case to explore theories on urban transformation and the contemporary challenges that face small urban centers. In particular, the course will use the lens of environmental inequality to examine the effects of historical processes, as well as to investigate how residents and government officials are addressing pressing problems. The course will look specifically at issues of food justice, pollution, access to resources, environmental decision-making processes, and housing security. We will visit Kingston as a class, and students will develop and carry out their own project with a community partner.

Spring
2022

SOC/EUS 361
ES (SA, D+J)

Carlos Bedoya-Ikeda

Urban Creatures: Open Practices Workshop II

In this one-month long, intensive design studio running from February 7th to March 7th, students will design ‘urban creatures’—architectural artifacts that will interact in and with relevant urban conditions through their symbolism, location and monumentality. As opposed to an architecture that predetermines its uses, our proposals are meant to take on a life of their own in their context. Designing urban creatures will push us to operate beyond habit and work outside of preconceived architectural responses, experimenting instead with an architecture that dialogues with contemporary urban conditions more directly. We will begin by analyzing historical references to learn and understand the different positions and creative responses that other designers have had to concrete social, political and cultural conditions. We will then design our creatures through an iterative process working primarily through detailed hand drawings, as well as other techniques like 3D modeling and physical model making.

image: Entry for 'Aesthetics/Anesthetics', Storefront for Art and Architecture, Productora, 2012

Spring
2022

ARCH 330
OPW (PA)

Evan Calder Williams

Chronic: Disability, Sickness, and Care

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 how 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? Authors considered include: Alexis Shotwell, Alondra Nelson, Liat Ben-Moshe, Aimi Hamraie, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Neil Ahuja, Georges Canguilhem, Mel Y. Chen, and Eli Clare.

Spring
2022

HR 372
ES (SA, D+J)

A world map made of woven yarn, suspended on a dark grey wall. Balls of yarn sit on the wood floor

Dina Ramadan

Exhibiting (Im)mobility: Art, Museums, Migration

Can artists and museums respond to the current refugee crisis? The 21st century has witnessed the undeniable prevalence of the refugee, the migrant, the stateless, and the politically displaced — categories produced by global capitalism’s uneven distribution of resources. Against this harsh reality, artists and curators have actively engaged with representations of the disposed, and more recently, welcomed refugees into their spaces as part of broader initiatives centered on integration. This class will consider how contemporary exhibitions and artistic projects have sought to integrate the figure of the refugee into the traditionally reified space of the museum and examine the possibilities and limitations of art to transcend cultural and political barriers to generate empathy, and even solidarity. Topics to be discussed include art programming and refugee integration, museum responses to the migrant crisis, attempts to decolonize museums, migration and repatriation, boycott and divestment efforts. This class will be a collaboration between students at Bard College and Middlebury College. Throughout the semester, students will work together to produce an online resource related to the course materials.

image: Woven Chronicle, Reena Saini Kallat, 2011-2016

Spring
2022

HR 379
ES (AA)

Kwame Holmes

Housing Justice

This course-practicum will introduce students to the l theory, history and practice of political organizing for housing justice. In the “study” portion of the course, students will begin with critical legal and cultural studies of “property,” “property rights” and the landlord-tenant relationship. We will then explore the history of public and fair housing policy in the United States from the height of the New Deal in the 1930s to the decentralization and neoliberalization of the post-Reagan era. As we turn toward the “practice” part of the course, we will engage how housing inequity manifests in small towns like Kingston, NY and urban-rural areas like Ulster County. Now two years from the start of the COVID crisis, New York state’s moratorium on evictions comes to an end in January, 2022. In collaboration with Legal Services of the Hudson valley, our class will closely track eviction proceedings in Kingston courts, as well as monitor the city’s investigation into a series of fires that have functionally evicted low-income tenants from multi-unit buildings poised for sale. Our goal is the production of an audio documentary about eviction in the immediate wake of the moratorium.

Spring
2022

HR 376
ES (SA, D+J)

3D rendering with materials, weights, and measurements to ADA specifications.  Dimensions Variable

Constantina Zavitsanos

Disability Art & Politics: Crip Time & Life at Law’s Limits

What happens when life and death are not thought of in neat opposition? What does crip time do with the built environment, or the construct of Cartesian space itself which separates mind from body while undergirding key notions for the temporal? What material resist may disability offer the formal and conceptual arrangement of space and time (art) amid the laws that organize and govern the polis (politics)? This course traces the historical and ongoing struggle for disability rights in the colonized United States, while simultaneously questioning the framework of rights-based discourse and its legislative contingencies. We will think through disability representation, rights, and the right to opacity via a survey of cultural production in Disability Arts, and highlight the resistance to the violences of Vagrancy laws, Black Codes, the Ugly Laws, Anti-touch Laws, Stop & Frisk™, and other racist-eugenic logics, including “public health”, amid the latest pandemic . Our inquiry into concepts of confinement, quarantine, curfew, incarceration, asylum, austerity and enclosure will stay with disability culture, crip love, queer and trans abundance, and the everprescenient black outdoors that remain before and before every juridical turn. We will be guided by openings made in Disability Studies, Trans Studies, Black Studies, Disability Justice, and Disability Arts that gather in the struggle for and beyond rights, toward both the onto-epistemological understanding of disability and the real lived experience of disabled people.

image: Constantina Zavitsanos, Sketch for a Call to Post, 2019

Spring
2022

HR 389
ES (AA, D+J)

Ivan Lopez Munuera

Contagiousness, Vulnerable Environments: Architecture as Research

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.

image: Ivan L. Munuera & Manu Alba, Unzipped Parties (still), 2020

Fall
2021

ARCH 311/HRA 571/
CS 522

Valeria Luiselli

Plundering the Americas: On Violence Against Land and Bodies

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.

image: Mina La Herradura, Sonora, Mexico, 2019

Fall
2021

WRIT 354
ES (PA)

Ivonne Santoyo-Orozco / Ross Exo Adams

Architecture as Media

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.

Fall
2021

ARCH 111
CCA (PA)

Montserrat Bonvehi and Seth Denizen

Landscape Devices for a Changing Climate

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.

image: Film still from Signers Koffer, PETER LIECHTI, SWITZERLAND, 1995

Fall
2021

ARCH 130
OPW (PA)

Olga Touloumi

Modern Architecture in the Age of Colonialism

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).

image: Joseph Nash, Indian Pavilion, Great Exhibition, 1851

Fall
2021

ARTH 125
CCA (AA)

Peter L’Official

Building Stories

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.

image: Image from Building Stories by Chris Ware, 2012

Fall
2021

LIT 2213
ES (LA, D+J)

A black and white image of a man with his back to the camera, admiring his crookedly self-builthouse

Evan Calder Williams

Counterplans

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.

image: Still from Buster Keaton's film One Week, 1920

Fall
2021

CS 553
ES

Peter Klein

Introduction to Urban Sociology

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.”

Fall
2021

SOC 138
ES (SA)

David Szlasa

Design Studio

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.

image: "Fairview" by Andrew Roberge, class of '22

Fall
2021

THTR 224
ES (PA)

Ranjani Atur

Houses of the Gods: Ancient Greek Sacred Space

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.

image: The Parthenon, Athens (corner of the western frieze). © Wikipedia User Thermos

Fall
2021

CLAS 238
ES (AA)