Thinking About Architecture: In History and at Present

Photograph of a 12-meter-high puppy sculpture covered with flowers.

Puppy, a kitsch sculpture by Jeff Koons. Lecture 7 discusses avant-garde and kitsch. (Photograph from Wikipedia.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Fall 2009



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This class will be constructed as a lecture-discussion, the purpose being to engage important theoretical issues while simultaneously studying their continuing historical significance. To enhance discussion, three debates will be held in class. Each student will be required to participate in one of these debates. Each student will also be required to write three short papers. Class participation is essential and will be factored into the final grade.

The course will portray the history of theory neither as the history of architectural theory exclusively, nor as a series of prepackaged static pronouncements, but as part of a broader set of issues with an active history that must be continually probed and queried. The sequence of topics will not be absolutely predetermined, but some of the primary issues that will be addressed are: pedagogy, professionalism, nature, modernity and the Enlightenment. Classroom discussions and debates are intended to demonstrate differences of opinion and enhance awareness of the consequences that these differences had in specific historical contexts.

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Mark Jarzombek. 4.607 Thinking About Architecture: In History and at Present. Fall 2009. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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