Topics: Arch & Cultural Prod
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Level: Undergraduate, Graduate
Division: Parsons The New School for Design
School: School of Constructed Environments
Department: Constructed Environments
Course Number: PSCE 5070
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
This seminar will map the contradictory and polemical understandings of the role performed by the façade in both architectural discourse and contemporary architectural practice. Using a set of constructed binary conditions as an organizing matrix for discussion, this seminar will look critically at the slippery allocation of meaning and performance of the public side of architecture. The goal of this seminar is to raise the following fundamental questions of architecture: How are façades designed? On what basis are decisions about facades made, ones which must balance choices between function, structure, cost, performance and culture? What makes a good façade? What makes a bad façade? The seminar will match analysis of seminal texts on the discourse of the face with visual analysis of seminal facades, drawn from the last 400 years of practice. In addition, formal understandings of the role of the façade as the face and character of the building will be cast against performative roles for façade, which sees the façade first and foremost as mediator of environmental conditions. Given these divergent set of values for defining an appropriate public image of architecture, this seminar will intentional provoke discussion on the value of architecture, its changing role in civil society, and the implications of energy consumption and mass-customization. The methodology of this seminar will draw from the disciplinary traditions of history, formal analysis, technology and material research. It will seek to bridge across these areas of thought, using the historical development of the technology of façade materials as one of the organizing principles for discussion, notably the move from load-bearing facades, to hung facades, to curtain walls, to high performance double skins, to complex factory components with product-design specifications.
Course Open to: Majors Only
Course Pre/Co-requisites:
Pre-requisite(s): None. Open to: All university graduate degree students; upper level undergraduate students with permission.


Open to Lang/Parsons BA/BFA students.

Open to Parsons School of Design students.


Open to Graduate students.