What can be done to make the untamed earth fit for human habitation? How does architecture foster conversing, remembering, cherishing, laughing, confessing, falling in love? How does our peculiarly inventive propensity to build interact with the other distinctive aspects of our humanness? Why do arguments have foundations, houses faces (facades), and columns feet? How are architectural ideas conceived, incubated, and shared? How do our ethical and spiritual assumptions and aspirations inform the shaping of wood, stone, concrete, steel, glass?
We understandably take our buildings, streets, sewers, electrical grids—indeed, the whole human artifact—for granted. This course will attempt to evoke and engage with the uncanniness of human building. We will use texts by Calvino, Rasmussen, Rudofsky, Ruskin, Le Corbusier, and others to awaken our curiosity about architecture. In particular, we will reflect on the capacity of architecture to create, communicate, contextualize, and complicate symbolic meaning—just as the other liberal arts do.