Taking its title from Buckminster Fuller, this seminar investigates whether architectural design could be a revolutionary practice, serving to transform social and spatial relations simultaneously. In this era of pandemics, climate change and social disparity, can architecture’s history of utopian projects help us form practices to change the world around us? Can an imaginary of perfecting the world through built forms serve useful purposes today? The course will examine case studies of built and unbuilt designs that sought to transform social and political structures, including speculative urban-scale designs by Ebenezer Howard, Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Tony Garnier, Mirra Alfassa, Paolo Soleri and others, as well as architectural projects envisioned by Fuller, Oscar Niemeyer, Minoru Yamasaki, Archigram, Kisho Kurakawa, Russian and Yugoslavian communist designers and others. Lectures will be coupled with field work at local sites enmeshed in concepts of utopia and dystopia, and students will develop their own speculative work presenting contemporary visions of utopian design. [ARCH 421]

Spring 2023 Syllabus