Seminar Architecture and the City I / III (056-0001-01)
Organizer: MAS ETH GTA
Lecturers: Dr. André Bideau, Dr. Susanne Schindler, Marie-Anne Lerjen
Time: Fridays, 14.00-17.30 Uhr
Location: HIT H 42

C.-N. Ledoux, House of Mademoiselle Guimard, front elevation. Engraving from D. Ramée, Architecture de C.N. Ledoux, Paris 1847, Vol. 2, pl. 175. From: Helen Hils, Ed., Architecture and Politics of Gender in Early Modern Europe, Aldershot: Routledge, 2003

What does “historic moment” signify for architectural history? How are so-called forks in the road, paradigm shifts, or turns constructed? In the current seminar, we will debate these questions through the interplay of design, politics, and the economy. To do so, we will consider four canonical years between the European Enlightenment and today—1789, 1848, 1949, 1973—as historical thresholds. These years marked political or economic events which had a direct or indirect impact on the production, reception, and historiography of architecture. As turning points, they allow us to ask how history is constructed. How does a turning point gain currency? How do contemporaries react to such disparate events as the fall of the French monarchy or the decoupling of the dollar from the gold standard? And how do scholars in (architectural) history, cultural studies, or geography evaluate or even canonize this moment at a distance?
The fall semester is thus centered on questions of periodization and causality in the writing of history. Selected architectural and urban design projects serve as entry points to analyze and question authors’ perspectives and underlying assumptions. Invited architectural historians will provide us with further input in our endeavor to reflect on our own positions as writers of architectural history.