AR7044 - Critical Transformations (2022/23)
|Module specification||Module approved to run in 2022/23|
|Module title||Critical Transformations|
|Module level||Masters (07)|
|Credit rating for module||20|
|School||School of Art, Architecture and Design|
|Total study hours||200|
|Running in 2022/23(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)||No instances running in the year|
This module emphasises the social and political perspective of space making at architectural and urban scales. It is an introduction to key concepts in urban history and theory from the 19th century until the present. It addresses historical and contemporary processes relevant to social life, politics, architecture and the urban environment. Episodes of architectural and urban theory are placed in the context of political and cultural transformations, and in through a reading of the intersections between concepts of childhood and the designing, planning and ordering of space. The module also investigates how different urban practitioners (architects, artists, users and dwellers, children and adults) intervened in the transformation of the city. The focus is on developing a cultural and political critique to open an interdisciplinary debate.
Aims of the module:
to provide a theoretical and historical framework for the understanding of
contemporary questions of city planning and urban transformation;
to analyse important episodes in the history of urban planning and large-scale
city transformation from the 19th century until today;
to explore general theories of architecture and urbanism;
to consider relationships between architecture and ideology, space and power;
to consider architecture and urbanism as a tool of politics;
to encourage critical judgements on processes of regeneration and large-scale
urban planning strategies.
Social and political discourses have recently been placed at the forefront of cultural practice. This can be seen in the art/culture world’s engagement with social and political critique and its search for ways of intervention and action. LO1,LO4
This module emphasises the social and political perspective of space making at the scale of the city. It is an introduction to key concepts in urban history and theory from the 19th century until the present. It does this through a reading of the intersections between concepts of childhood and the designing, planning and ordering of space – from the ‘private’ care taking of the ancient Greek domestic, to the ‘public’ programming of free time in the 2018 Plan for London. The module explores Phillip Aries’ position, firstly that childhood as a concept and experience is historically and culturally contingent, and secondly that the acceptance of childhood in Europe as a finite portion of life that needed protection and specialised care, led to the dismantling of medieval treatments of time, space and society. LO3,LO4,LO5,LO6
Episodes of architectural and urban theory are placed in the context of social and cultural transformations, in particular the forms and processes involved in so-called ‘social’ architecture. Such transfor-mations could be understood in their particularity, but could also serve as catalysts to reconsider and conceptualise urban changes in the UK. LO1,LO2
Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity
Scheduled teaching ensures that independent study is effective and addresses the learning outcomes and assessment tasks. Students have the opportunity to study outside of scheduled classes. A range of learning strategies are deployed and individual learning styles accommodated. The module’s learning outcomes, its contents and delivery, are regularly reviewed to ensure an inclusive pedagogical approach.
The module and course utilise the University’s blended learning platform to support and reinforce learning. Peer-to-peer communication is fostered in seminars and tutorial support provided at key points in the calendar. Reflective learning is promoted through assessment tasks and formative feedback. Students are encouraged to reflect on their progress and engage in sequential decision making through staged submissions and worksheets, and to make recommendations to themselves for future development.
The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-related learning within the curriculum supports personal development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able – as they progress – to understand the professional environment of their discipline, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions and aspirations.
On completing the module the student should be able to:
1. understand major movements and changes in the history of architecture and
2. grasp the complex relationship between space and power;
3. understand key concepts and ideas in urban history and theory;
4. examine current ideas and developments in urban practice and theory;
5. critically assess social and political aspects of contemporary processes of urban
regeneration and renovation;
6. analyse and reflect upon a particular urban situation or concept in an essay.
The assessment of the course will be based on a presentation and a 4000-word essay reflecting about issues discussed in the module. The specific topic is to be arrived at in consultation with the module convenor. The pass mark for the module is to be calculated as an aggregate of the components weighted accordingly, with the proviso that the candidate must pass Component 1 (the essay).
Arendt, Hannah, The Human Condition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,1958)
Forty, Adrian, Words and Buildings (London: Thames and Hudson, 2004)
Hughes, Ted, Selected Letters (London: Faber, 2007)
Aries, Phillipe, Centuries of Childhood (New York: Random House, 1965)
Van Eyck, Aldo, The Child, the City, and the Artist (SUN: 2008)
Serpentine Galleries, Art and Care: A Future (London: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Konig, 2013)
Read, Herbert, Education Through Art (London: Faber, 1938)
Penath, Mary, Branch Street (London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1944)
Ward, Colin, The Child in the City (London: Architectural Press, 1977)
De Certeau, Michel, The Practice of Everyday Life (University of California Press, 1984)
Truffaut, Francois, The 400 Blows
Opie, Peter and Iona, Children’s Games in Street and Playground (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984)
Jacobs, Jane, The Life and Death of Great American Cities (London: Penguin, 1974)