Modelling Modernity

Seminar History, Criticism and Theory in Architecture (052-0814-20)
Organizer: Chair of Prof. Stalder
Lecturers: Dr Matthew James Wells
Time: Thursdays 16.45-18.15
Location: HCP E 47.3

Modelling is a primary mechanism through which we make sense of and act upon our material lives and society at large. From the beginning of architectural culture models have had a dual function. One the one hand, they serve a creative process and allow for communication with non-specialists. On the other, models have often held a ceremonial and political function as three-dimensional testaments to the political visions of individuals, institutions, and states. Combining key features of reflexive modernity – public choice, the emergence of expert thought, and separation of knowledge from spatial experience – the model is essential in understanding the relationship of the architectural profession to the building site, the public sphere, and the construction of modern society. Through lectures and close readings of texts this seminar will critically investigate the function and form of models, their materials and methods, questions of scale and perception, experimentation and presentation, and the multiple roles played by the medium in the construction of the modern world.

Presentation guide 

2. 27.02.20 Purpose:
Reading: Margaret Morrison and Mary S. Morgan, ‘Models as Mediating Instruments' (1999) 
Reading aid 

3. 05.03.20 Authorship:
Reading: Edward Schroeder Prior, ‘Architectural Modelling’ (1895)  
Reading aid 


Dr. Matthew James Wells