Students will each write a substantial research paper over the course of the term to investigate fundamental
architectural forms that represent architecture’s confrontation with modernism. They will first select an element
of architecture from the categories that Rem Koolhaas collated at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale to
understand the structural fundamentals around the globe: floor, ceiling, roof, door, wall, stair, toilet, window,
façade, balcony, corridor, fireplace, ramp, escalator, and elevator. Students will then identify a modern “object”
(building or project) from the readings, or beyond, and situate the design, evolvement, or reinvention of the
element within its context, including technological advancements, political priorities, municipal or state
regulations, economic constraints, historical references, stylistic preferences, and protocols of representation.
By studying the distinctive character of an architectural element, the research paper will locate a specific shift
in the development of modernism through architecture, and ultimately, to address the question: in what ways
can architecture be modern?