TECHNOLOGY, MAKING, AND THE PROCESS OF ARCHITECTURE
DUE APRIL 28 at 4:00PM in Prof. Wheeler’s faculty mailbox and on Safe Assignment
As important as the introduction of new materials such as iron, steel, and reinforced concrete was to architecture with the Industrial Revolution were the changes in how architecture was constructed. For
example, at the beginning of the twentieth century with the application of steam machinery, 30,000 bricks a day could be produced instead of the previous count of 900 by the same number of workers. The
new methods of production challenged architects and architecture’s association to the buildings arts. Although the impact of these changes might seem foreign to you, they are the same issues that we face today
with the advent of new digital technologies.
For the second paper, you are to read selected texts and analyze (not merely summarize) how new methods of construction transformed architecture. You do not need to address all the authors in your paper
(depending on your thesis), but you will need to have read them to understand the implications of these new materials and methods. You may do additional research or include any of the readings we have done
for class. All required readings are available on (or linked to) Blackboard.
The paper should be typed, 5-7 pages, 12-pt font, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins. The paper grade will be in two parts: content and style. Content is your thesis and how well you argue it, and style is the
structure, grammar, and technical aspect of the paper, such as use of proper citations.
All citations should be footnotes or endnotes as per Chicago Manual of Style (not in the body of the text).
• The Chicago Manual of Style: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html—also available online through the UM Library
April 28 4:00pm–Turn in a hard copy in Prof. Wheeler’s mailbox and on Safe Assignment (Please note that papers not on Safe Assign will not receive a grade).
Select one of the following prompts as a guide:
1. Did architects and critics accept or reject the new technologies and methods of construction and what were the implications of their decisions? How did architects incorporate these new ideas into their
theories of architecture? You might want to consider the paper in terms one aspect of architecture, such as structure, façade, surface, or ornament, and analyze how selected authors address that aspect of
2. How are the current developments in technology with the introduction of 3D printing and CAD/CAM in architecture similar to those of the Industrial Revolution? How might the changes in the process of
making architecture impact architecture’s role as a science, an art, or a craft? (Be sure to reference the authors addressing the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution.)
3. Select two buildings from the list below (or approved by the professor) and analyze how the new means of construction challenged the definition of architecture as a fine art. Is the process of the making of
the building evident or hidden in the final product? How does the architect use details to express different aspects of the building process?
Crystal Palace, London, UK, Joseph Paxton (iron and glass)
Oxford Museum, Oxford, UK, Deane and Woodward (masonry, iron, glass)
St. Pancras Station and Midland Grand Hotel, London, UK, G. G. Scott (masonry, iron, glass)
Unity Temple, Oak Park, ILL, Frank Lloyd Wright (concrete)
Bauhaus, Dessau, Germany, Walter Gropius (concrete, steel, glass)
25 bis Rue de Franklin, Paris, France, A & G Perret (concrete)
Glass Pavilion, Cologne, Germany, Bruno Taut (glass)
Maison du Verre, Paris, France, Pierre Chareau (steel, glass)
La Miniatura, Los Angeles, CA, Frank Lloyd Wright (textile block)
Unite de Habitation, Marseilles, France, Le Corbusier (concrete, glass)
Seagram Building, New York City, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson (steel, concrete, glass)
Yale School of Architecture, New Haven, CT, Paul Rudolph (concrete)
Digitally Fabricated House, Digital Design Group (with Larry Sass), MIT, ca. 2008
Giedion, Sigfried. “Construction, Industry, Architecture” in Re-thinking Technology: A Reader in Architectural Theory, edited by William W. Braham and Jonathan A. Hale, pp. 37-41. New York and London:
Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret. “Five Points Towards a New Architecture.” Translated by Michael Bullock. In Programs and Manifestoes on 20th-Century Architecture, edited by Ulrich Conrads, 99-101.
Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1997.
Quirk, Vanessa. “How 3D Printing Will Change Our World (Part II)” 19 Jul 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 20 Mar 2014.
Semper, Gottfried. Selection from “The Four Elements of Architecture,” The Four Elements of Architecture and Other Writings, transl. Harry Francis Mallgrave and Wolfgang Herrmann. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1989.
Viollet-le-Duc, Eugène-Emmanuel. Selection from “Applying New Architectural Principles,” The Architectural Theory of Viollet-le-Duc. Readings and Commentary. ed. Michael Hearn. Cambridge, MA: MIT
Very Highly Recommended Lecture:
April 2 Design | Machine | Learning, a lecture by School of Architecture Assistant Professor Juhong Park, specialist in building technology and currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology. Glasgow Hall, 6:00 p.m.
Elliot, Cecil D. “Glass.” In Technics and Architecture: The Development of Materials and Systems for Buildings, 111-48. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1993.
———. “Iron and Steel.” In Technics and Architecture: The Development of Materials and Systems for Buildings, 67-110. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1993.
———. “Reinforced Concrete.” In Technics and Architecture: The Development of Materials and Systems for Buildings, 165-97. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1993.
Fairs, Marcus. “In the future we might print not only buildings but entire urban sections,” DeZeen Magazine (21 May 2013). http://www.dezeen.com/2013/05/21/3d-printing-architecture-print-shift/
Frampton, Kenneth. “Introduction. Reflections on the Scope of the Tectonic” in Studies in Tectonic Culture: the Poetics of Construction in Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Architecture. Cambridge, MA:
The MIT Press, 1995.
Le Corbusier, “Aesthetic of the Engineer, Architecture”, in Toward an Architecture. transl. John Goodman. Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute, 2007.
The UM Writing Center is very helpful at all stages of writing, from brainstorming to citation details. Note that they have moved and are now right in our backyard in 170 LaGorce House!
• http://www.as.miami.edu/writingcenter or call 305-284-2956 for an appointment.
Wheeler’s Writing Guidelines
Writing is a critical component of the practice of architecture, and many times in your professional life you will be judged on your writing before anyone sees your design work. The following guidelines are
applicable to all types of writing. They will also be the basis for the grading of papers in this class. Writing is like design. It is hard work, and it takes time to be sure that you are clearly stating your ideas. You
would not turn in your first design sketches as your final project at the end of the term; likewise, you should not turn in a paper that is a first draft. All papers submitted are assumed to be your best work.
1. Make sure that your paper has an introduction and a conclusion, and that you have structured the argument logically. Put the thesis of the paper in the first paragraph, if not the first sentence or two.
2. PROOFREAD. Always read the paper out loud to yourself or a friend. It is the best way to catch missing words, awkward phrasing, and unnecessary repetition of words or phrases. With the use of word
processing software, it is often easy to forget this step and think that the computer is doing the work for you, which is not the case
3. Avoid paragraphs of less than three sentences. It is hard to have a topic sentence, give an example, and state the conclusion in a paragraph of less than three sentences.
4. Avoid “scaffolding” such as: “In this paper I will discuss…” or “And now to conclude…” In the words of the athletic company Nike “Just do it.” Scaffolding is, however, appropriate in an oral presentation
when you want to give cues to the audience.
5. Eliminate the passive voice. Example: “The house was designed by Frank Gehry.” is passive voice. Better: “Frank Gehry designed the house.” Avoiding passive voice will activate your writing and engage
the reader. As a recent writing guide suggested, if you can add “by zombies” to the end of the sentence, then it is most likely passive voice.
6. Learn proper use of commas, semi-colons, and colons. These little bits of punctuation will help your writing to flow and keep you from the repetitive rhythm of short, choppy sentences.
7. Avoid using contractions in formal writing. Unless you are writing a dialogue, contractions are too informal for university-level papers.
8. If you are referencing or quoting from another source—a book, article, website, interview, etc.—then be sure to use proper citations. Do NOT use in-text citations. Use footnotes or endnotes as per the
Chicago Manual of Style.
9. In most cases Wikipedia is NOT a valid resource for university papers. Use one of the many encyclopedias that you have access to through the University of Miami Library.
10. Use the resources available to you. The UM Writing Center is excellent and will help with all stages of writing a paper. The UM Writing Center: http://www.as.miami.edu/writingcenter, or call 305-284-
2956 for an appointment.
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