The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture

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fall 2008

ARC 386M:
Society, Nature, Technology

Steven Moore

Architects have tended to tell the history of our discipline as either the succession of styles or as the succession of theories. In both these views of architectural history, technological choices are understood to be the instrumental means by which aesthetic projects are realized. This course will examine architecture differently. Rather than examine architecture only in visual or textual terms, we will examine the evolving relation between society and nature that is enabled by the technologies embodied in the built environment. To better understand what technology is, the seminar will read from the Philosophy of Technology. To better understand how technology is socially constructed, the seminar will read from Science and Technology Studies. This background will enable seminar participants to finally consider the various proposals for sustainable, regenerative, or green technology as a historical critique of modern architectural production.

This is an intensive reading and writing course. Graduate students in the Sustainable Design program and Landscape Architecture have automatic standing. Advanced students in other disciplines and undergraduates in the Urban Studies program are welcomed, but must have the instructor’s permission. Course requirements include one oral presentation of the week’s reading, three short “position papers,” and one final paper. There will be no final examination.