History & Critical Thinking
Marina Lathouri, Mark Cousins, Douglas Spencer, John Palmesino, Tom Weaver

The 12-month programme in History and Critical Thinking provides a platform for critical enquiry into theoretical debates and forms of architectural and urban practice. The aim is three-fold: to connect contemporary arguments and projects with a wider historical, cultural and political context; to produce a knowledge which will relate to design and public cultures in architecture; to inquire into new forms of knowledge, research and practice.

The organisation of the course around lectures, seminars, writing sessions, workshops and debate series offers students a range of approaches to expand and reinterpret disciplinary knowledge in a broad cultural arena and investigate the contemporary from a historical, theoretical and cross-disciplinary point of view.

Central to the course is the writing as critical practice of thinking. Different forms of writing such as essays, reviews, short commentaries, publications, interviews allow students to engage with diverse forms of inquiry and articulate the various aspects of their study. This year workshop on Architecture and Photography enabled the students to explore the relationship between text and image.

A common concern is the relations of theoretical debates to particular projects and forms of practice in order to develop a critical view of the arguments put into the design and the knowledge produced through its mechanisms and effects.

To this aim, the unit trip, part of the Research Seminar in Term 3, which focuses on the development of the final thesis, combines intense seminars and architectural visits.

Also joint events with Diploma Units (Dip 9, Dip 4) and the First Year bring together students across the school to discuss on-going design production.

The vertical connections are reinforced by the History and Critical thinking Debates series on The City, Politics, Spaces in term 2, which, engaging several visiting speakers, creates a venue for debate within the school and a point of interaction with a broader academic and architectural community. This year, architects, designers, artists, film makers, philosophers considered through their work changing urban, political and territorial formations.

Visiting Speakers
Lindsay Brenmer, Adam Broomberg, David Cunningham, Smadar Dreyfus, Jesko Fezer, Francoise Fromonot, Jon Goodbun, Zissis Kotionis, Philipp Misselwitz, Alessandra Ponte, Florian Schneider

Current Research
Drawing in the 19thC: a search for architectural language / On Monument(ality) / The Pure American City: Architecture in Sheer Space / Project EXPO: On Architecture and Representation / 'Tranquil Terror' in Hindu Temple Art and Architecture / The Highway Effect in the Wake of Modernist Urbanism / Post-war Paris in the story: the aspect of a city in three narratives  / Looking into the Post-war period in Europe: Could Destruction Be the Precondition for Constructing the New? / Object? / A glance sideways - the paradox of the everyday and what it means to do nothing  / The Object of Authenticity  / Potentiality Rewritten - Multiple Deserted Urbaneness in Post-1989 Warsaw  / Technological invention and visionary body in space: the art of observation in the nineteenth century

Visiting tutors
Mario Carpo

Workshop tutors
Pedro Ignacio Alonso (Fabrications), Erieta Attali (Architecture and Photography), Yannis Zavoleas (Architecture and Technology: conditions and limits of the metaphor)