Semester I.
ON PERMANENCE

The word Permanence has a very constructive ambiguity: on one hand can be related to the witnessing of what resists the historical process, material or immaterial. On the other hand it carries a wish for eternity which is deeply embedded in the architecture practice, and more in general in the fundamental idea of project, as the human activity parexcellence: the ambition to transcend the own actual condition.

According to the chosen literature we will analyze reiterations through different historical periods, but also investigate the potential permanence laying in the recent change of paradigm produced by new technologies. The goal of the semester is to isolate fundamental aspects of architecture and ultimately the tasks that are worth to engage with.

Session 01 - 10.01.18
Session 02 - 14.02.18
Session 03 - 14.03.18
Session 04 - 18.04.18
Session 05 - 09.05.18
Session 06 - 20.06.18

Semester II.
ON REVOLUTION

According to its etymology, the word ‘revolution’ holds an intriguing ambiguity: It can be understood as radical change of the status quo or as a 360° journey, a circular movement that brings something back to its original position. Even its prefix re-covers both the notion of against and of again.

Depending on the width of the historical frame placed on it, revolution either encompasses the vital coexistence of dynamism and violence or the reiteration of the pre-existing, embodied in the idea of circular motion.

Much in this vein, the choice of topic represents both a departure from our last seminar “On Permanence” whilst ensuring a certain degree of methodological continuity.

Our focus will be to explore this polarity in the history of architecture and to speculate on possible future revolutions.


Session 07 - 05.12.18
Session 08 - 30.01.19
Session 09 - 20.03.19
Session 10 - 24.04.19
Session 11 - 03.07.19
Session 12 - 25.09.19

Semester III.
ON IRONY
Irony appears in architecture every time a teleology finds its limit. This figure of speech can be declined in many ways but it always refers to the simultaneous existence of opposites in the same frame of observation. The critical suspension of the principium individuationis becomes then an instrument for a more complex understanding of reality as a magmatic substance “that contains all the contradictions.”* Irony is ultimately a conjunctive “and” hi-jacking the base of western thinking without reaching its destruction. If we stand on the good old Aristotelic principle like “a man sits in a little rowboat..amidst the furious torments”**, the category of irony offers us a vertiginous glance on the sea itself. Irony implies a recollection of the existing materials of a particular historical moment and their orientation in form of question. The famous motto “quid tum?” appearing in the Alberti’s medal, literally “what then?”, perfectly synthesizes the attitude of “disenchantment together with hope”*** that occurs while looking to the chaotic repertoire of the history. In this sense, Irony is to be considered a highly operative category. Irony is not just about replacing lack of content with unsettling formal manipulation -like part of the architectonical production seems to suggest. Its flirt with wonder is a strategy to convey deadly serious contents in a light and fresh way. Irony is ultimately a transcending form. Recent architectural production and discourse vigorously re-embraced the tool of irony. But what is the subject of irony’s critic? Which are the contents at stake? Is there any reiteration in irony’s manifestations? Forum for Architecture Theory is taking the chance to analyze this category in order to track its evolution, infer its trajectory, and understand its fundamental role in the making of the project.

*Le Paradox de l’ecrivain, by Marguerite Yourcenar, from the archive ”Propos et confidences”, 1983 **The Birth of Tragedy, by Friederich Nietzsche, 1872,  Verlag E. W. Fritzsch, Leipzig
***Funeral Oration for Manfredo Tafuri, by Massimo Cacciari, 1994, Cortile dei Tolentini, Venice

Session 21 - 22.06.20
Session 22 - 17.08.20
Session 23 - 15.10.20