the relation between their assigned concept and the selected piece of architecture.
The essay will be a piece of theoretical architectural experimentation/critique centered on two key elements:
1/ an assigned philosophical concept. The concepts are drawn from the content of the lecture series.
2/ a selected piece of architecture (a building, an installation or a space). The piece of architecture should be
selected in consultation with your History/ Theory tutor and should excite you. The piece of architecture
may also provide a precedent study for your Architectural Design Studio course.
The conditions for the essays are as follows:
• The essay will carefully explore the relation between the concept and the piece of architecture.
• The essay will focus on critical analysis and interpretation, exploration and experimentation. Not description.
• The essay will be 2800 words long (+/- 10%). The word length does not include endnotes.
• The essay will be presented in A5 format.
• The essay will include a minimum of 4 original analytical images.
• The essay will be fully referenced.
• The referencing must conform with the 16th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style, endnote system:
Your essay should:
1. Introduce the key concept to be explored and name the piece of architecture to be critiqued. The
introduction should state what your key exploration will be. The introduction is where we should find an
assertion or question, as well as a clue to what comes next. The body of the essay follows this up with
evidence/exploration, taken sequentially and cumulatively, building up to the conclusion.
2. Introduce the piece of architecture being critiqued. Who designed the piece of architecture, when and
who for? Why was it chosen? What is significant or intense about it? What was the function, the program?
What are the formal and typological classifications? What did architects say about the new program in
theoretical texts or other writings? You may wish to use original analytical images to introduce the
3. Identify and address the key conceptual idea that will provide the basis for the critique/exploration.
Where did the concept emerge? Who are the key theorists or philosophers involved? Explain and explore
the concept as clearly as possible. Explore the key characteristics of the concept. Explore other ideas related
to the concept. How is it imagined that the concept will relate to the architecture?
4. The main part of the essay should be a critique/exploration of the architecture in terms of the conceptual
idea and its key characteristics. You should articulate the relation and explore how the ideas help to frame
the architecture… either focus on the theory/concept as a force of appropriation, as a relay between
thought and practice or as a means to critique or create architecture. Remember that critique is creation
and what you are creating here is not just a perspective, but a mode of understanding/engaging/exploring.
5. Consider what the critique/exploration achieves. How does it change other people’s critiques of the
building? How do the conceptual understandings introduced change the way in which the piece of
architecture may be thought?
6. Conclusion. This reiterates your opening question/hypothesis and states what you have found. This is
not the place to open up an entirely new line of inquiry, or to propose an idea that contradicts everything
you have previously said.
Your essay must adhere to scholarly conventions of citation and be written with a coherent narrative having beginning
and ending. It is a piece of writing. Your essay will be much richer if you read as much as you can find from other
theorists about the work you are looking at. Use their observations and arguments as a springboard for your own.
You are expected to reference over six sources for an essay of this length. Your essay must use scholarly articles from
reputed publishers and journals. BDES3011
Original analytical images
Think carefully about how to illustrate your essay. Your findings are to be supported in the essay by some graphic
analysis comprising original drawings or images. The drawing strategies must reveal clues as to how the organization
of the building, its materiality and its formal moves respond/relate to the conceptual idea that you are invoking.
Analytical drawings should reveal what is not already obvious from orthographic drawings or photographs. All
drawings, images, photographs and diagrams must be titled and annotated. Annotations and captions are to explain
the drawing and add necessary information that is unable to be expressed in visual form.
Lastly, a word on editing. Always write more than the set length and then edit it down. This will force you to decide
what is essential to your argument and to prune out any over-flowery language, repetition and general verbosity. Get
someone else to read and correct your draft, it is almost impossible to pick up your own errors. While allowance is
made for students with English as a second language, there will be no tolerance of spelling errors or grammatical
errors that are picked up using common word processing programs.
It is expected in this subject, indeed, in this degree, that you are able to communicate with fellow students,
professional and academic staff, members of relevant professions and the public. It is expected that you are able to
communicate effectively and sensitively, in speech but also reading and writing. If you feel that you have a disability,
language or learning difficulty that will prevent you from meeting the academic requirements of this subject you are
encouraged to contact Disability Services or the Learning Centre. The Learning Centre offers Workshops for
English Language and Learning (W.E.L.L) alongside courses for developing academic writing skills, and a Help
Yourself resource for common student questions.* Please refer to Borden and Reudi’s The Dissertation (2006) for further help in composing the essay
Chosen piece of architecture is the Beistegui Apartment by Le corbusier.
Chosen concept is Punctum by Roland Barthes.
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