During the 19th and most of the 20th century, discussions of style revolved around pure formalism or pure functionalism. Style, as the way of assembling forms, was trapped in producing consistency and sameness across architectural forms. This seminar is the third in a series at the GSD focused at researching a contemporary idea of style in architecture. The previous semesters investigated the architecture of the latter part of the 20th century which defies the senselessness and anonymity of early 20th century city. The aim was to establish whether the systems of differentiation identified earlier were exploring their style as formalism or they were based on a new idea of style that would work with form and function simultaneously as a way to use form to subvert function as set out for each type by early 20th century modernism.
The seminar became a thorough and typological examination of the formal elements shared by given building types that architect's operate and design with in order to create functional change and evolve the social prospect of the building. The students assigned to a given building type were responsible with charting the similarities and differences in a typological spectrum and to organize this given case studies and diagrammatic analysis.
This semester we will interrogate further the form-function relationship of those projects. We will focus particularly on the history of drawing techniques of describing different concepts of function. We will examine and produce drawings that describe amongst other criteria the structural function [arrangement of activities or materials], the physical function [such as acoustics, traffic, lighting], the psychological function or the social function of built forms.
The seminar will continue to combine reading texts related the topic with a case study method of research. Work for the seminar will therefore have three components upon which students will be graded: the reading and discussion of theoretical texts on style and typology; the development of drawing techniques to examine functional considerations in each building type; the production and execution of those drawings for a sample pool of projects of each type to verify how in each case formal variation changes the way it functions.
The publication that was realised is the product of thee seminars co-taught at Harvard GSD, from 2010-2013.