The Difficult Whole
UIC School of Architecture
Mannerism is born whenever it is discovered
that the world has no fixed center
Umberto Eco, 1983
History is never innocent or unique. Its encumbrance can suffocate and overtake the present but also liberate and accelerate its movements and tendencies. Far from being a mere repository of dead forms, monuments, memories or significant events, history is the lucid construction of the past affected by current concerns: an endless research that wanders backward while projecting forward to the future. Framing every human activity, architecture offers a particular petri-dish for historical dissection. This course is an introduction to the history and theory of Western architecture, from the species of space of antiquity to the Renaissance, Mannerist and Baroque elaboration of the modern project, providing a framework for comprehending architecture in all different forms of production. Following Robert Venturi’s critical survey of the past, the course traces correspondences and trajectories across exemplary buildings, drawings and treatises: architectural paradigms that opened new fields of investigation and alternative ways of constructing the city and dwelling the world.