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First Term Curriculum

Schedule for the First Term - 19th October 2011 - 2nd March 2012

 
19th October 2011 – 2nd March 2012

During the first term of the ‘After Levittown’ Bauhaus Kolleg, historical knowledge, different theoretical skills, and research and visualisation methods will be gained in preparation for the field trip to ‘Levittown Philadelphia’. These acquired knowledge types form the basis for a comparative study, which the Bauhaus Kolleg participants will undertake prior to the second term using suburban developments in their respective home countries as examples. At the end of the programme stands an exhibition based on Levittown with its history closely linked to the Bauhaus’s vision of modern living. The exhibition will take a critical approach to current international developments in suburbia as well as develop creative solutions for a form of housing that has become socio-politically, economically and ecologically questionable.

The first term curriculum consists of three themes which build upon each other:

Theme 1: The Suburban Legacy

Among the main topics are the heyday of suburbia in postwar Western mass consumption societies using Levittown as an example; the history of industrial prefabrication of houses, standardisation and normalisation in housing construction, and state intervention and grant schemes for home building, all of which can be traced back to the Bauhaus and its endeavour to rationalise the production of homes; but also the interconnection between media innovations and suburban dwelling, and the global expansion and adaptation of this way of life and living in its divers typologies such as globurbs, ethnoburbs and gated communities.

Lectures by Lars Lerup (US), Robert Fishman (US)(tbc), and Anthony D. King (UK) (tbc).

Outcome:

A collection of multimedia materials compiled from lectures, seminars, researched photos, films, documents and texts: a `course reserve` which will be edited throughout the term to become a knowledge library on the history, typology and cultural science aspects of architecture to be set up eventually as an exhibition.

Theme 2: The Architecture of the Real Estate Market

This theme investigates the connection between architectural production, spatial development and the financial markets. In the 1980s, a transformation has set in away from investing in immobile capital, i.e. land, and towards investing in liquid assets that can be transferred across national borders in the form of funds and portfolios. Thus ownership has been decoupled to a hitherto unknown extent from the location of the assets. A new international ‘financial market architecture’ has emerged, which spawns speculative building projects, but even more so asset structures, in which even the project financing risk has become the object of a pyramid selling type of speculation. It was the American suburbia’s foreclosure crisis in which hundreds of mortgage borrowers lost their homes that ultimately uncovered the fragility of the financial markets.

Lectures by Jesse M.Keenan (US), N.N.

Workshop: Theo Deutinger (NL/A)

Outcome:

The researched data and information will be translated into maps and diagrams visualizing the complex relationships and nexus between infrastructures, financial flows, ation, actor-networks and institutions. The results of the mapping workshop will be integrated in the existing working exhibition.

Theme 3: Role Model Levittown – Field Trip.

In preparation for the excursion, methods of urban studies, the fine arts, urban ethnography and visual anthropology, as well as different research and visualisation techniques are being taught. Subject of the field trip will be investigations and observations of the physical space of Levittown’s urban fabric, that is residential homes and their usages, the infrastructure, communal buildings, public spaces, and spatial hierarchies, but also of social spaces such as neighbourly relationships, routines and living practices, communal life, stories and memories, social hierarchies, organisations and actors.

Outcome:

Based on the findings of the field trip, the exhibition which so far had been a work in progress will be re-edited, and shown in March 2012 as the resource allocmidterm presentation to an international jury.

Concept and teaching: Regina Bittner (D), and  Michael Zinganel (A).

 

 

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