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Critical Analysis of Art Module V

September '23

Gravity, Space and Architecture

Gravity, Space and Architecture

From a humanist perspective, architecture seems to correspond to our most fundamental need for shelter. From the point of view of the inert cosmos, however, the central problem of architecture is how to stop buildings from falling down. From this perspective, architecture might be said to be nothing but a by-product of gravity. Indeed, when seen in this way, we might think of gravity as constituting the unconscious of each and every building, the anti-architecture lurking at its heart, constantly threatening to undermine its lofty ideals. As with every art form, some of the works within that form acknowledge the unconscious that underpins them, some are blissfully unaware of it, and yet others actively repress it. Join us as we explore the different attitudes of architecture towards its gravitational unconscious; from anthills to skyscrapers, from beehives to the Taj Mahal (and the Taj Hotel), we will decipher the stories that buildings narrate about their relation (or non-relation) to gravity.

The course will concentrate on modern architecture, examining the work of Zaha Hadid, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Tadao Ando, Frank Gehry and Frank Lloyd Wright, amongst others. However, we will also consider the major historic traditions of European and Indian architecture, as well as the mud-brick structures of the Arabian Peninsula.

About the professor

Rico Franses

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