Teaching and Research: Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative at MIT

Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative at MIT

How do we teach the global history of architecture? What should we include in our classes and where can we gather the information, knowledge and sources that enable meaningful narratives to emerge? Is the global survey course even possible, or should we be utilising distinct and precise case studies to discuss the global condition instead?

These are just some of the questions that Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative is attempting to answer as well as to create a community of scholars who will share and exchange knowledge to change the way we think about the history of architecture.. The GAHTC has been established by Mark Jarzombek and Vikramāditya Prakāsh with funding provided from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, see http://gahtc.org for more information.

Grants are available for teaching teams to develop new teaching material and modes of teaching that deal with global history, from the beginning of time to the modern. This is a major challenge, but very exciting. In the current round of grants 9 teams have been accepted with the following ambitions:

Rachel_lee_MIT

Panorama of the participants (photo by Rachel Lee)
  • Architecture and Climate in a Global Perspective – Team Daniel Barber
  • Sites and Networks of Global Modernity – Team Bob Cowherd
  • Globalizing a Humanities Approach to Architectural History – Team Ann C Huppert
  • Scales of Modernity – Team Jonathan Massey
  • The Architecture of Global Modernity, 1000-2000 CE – Team Kenny Cupers
  • The Global Turn: Architecture and the Built Environment Since World War Two – Team Michelangelo Sabatino
  • Technologies of Movement and Communication – Team Shundana Yusaf
  • East Asian Architecture from A Global Perspective: Cultural Transactions and the Development of Traditions – Team Shuishan Yu
  • The Modern Metropolis – Team Eric Mumford

At the first workshop, held in MIT (9th and 10th October 2014), each group gave a presentation that outlined their position and ambition. Most also proposed a distinct module of lectures/seminars and a discussion/critique followed. Day two was composed of a number of workshops that discussed ‘Deliverables and Digitisation’, ‘Pedagogy’, ‘The problem of teaching architecture made before 1800’, and ‘future ambitions’. A digital resource has been developed that will contain some of the data: http://www.timescape.io/login

GAHTC_prakash

Vikram Prakash addressing conference.

Team Daniel Barber became known as the ‘Climate group’  – which is a perfectly accurate and succinct way of describing us, with the caveat that climate is not the only factor to determine the architecture we’re interested in.

We are proposing six themes/lectures, each to be lead by one team member:

“Architecture without Architects” and the Timeless Climatic Type [Albert Narath]

Colonial Architecture and Climate in Africa and Asia [Ola Uduku]

Sanitation, climate and statecraft in colonial societies [Iain Jackson]

Modernism, Climate, and Post-colonial development [Rachel Lee]

Universal Science and International Architecture after World War II [Daniel Barber]

Air Conditioning Takes Command [Jiat-Hwee Chang]

Rachel_lee_MIT2

Panorama of the Participants (photo by Rachel Lee)

TAG will continue to track the developments of GAHTC and to report on future developments…

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1 comment
  1. Ola said:

    thanks for this summary Iain, much appreciated. Ola

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