HAA 17Z - Black Rock, White City: Australian Architecture from earliest times to the present





Philip Goad

Monday & Wednesday. 10.30am-11.45am

Long regarded, often romantically, as an edge condition both intellectually and geographically, the architecture of Australia has charted theoretical and material practices that have realized a unique place in contemporary architectural production.  A former British settler colony, highly urbanized and highly modernized, with divided historical, economic and political allegiances to the United Kingdom and the United States but placed within the context of Asia and the Pacific Ocean, possessing natural landscapes of profound beauty and climatic challenge, yet beset by ethical and competing crises of national identity, migration and indigenous reconciliation, the architecture of Australia has been sustained by an archipelago of discrete urban cultures rooted in deeply self-aware critique and frequent anxiety for participation in a broader global conversation.

This course follows the classical structure of an undergraduate program (weekly lectures and sections) to establish a rhythm between thematic issue and case study.  The aim is to provide an overview of Australian architecture from earliest times to the present, to establish the links between this field and the key themes of Australian Studies, and to allow students to develop specific understandings of Australian culture within a local and international context.  The course content ensures that students encounter architects and Australian people from diverse backgrounds, practice in diverse landscapes and urban settings, and connections to issues outside of the specialized limits of architecture as an art, discipline and profession.  The practices of individual architects and firms studied will also introduce students to important works of Australian art, literature, film, music and popular culture.

Within each section, students are simultaneously introduced to prominent Australian architects, critical debates within Australian Studies and broad methodological and historiographical concepts in the interpretation of architecture and architectural history.  In chronology and method, the course proposal parallels the current curriculum emphasis on cross-cultural and political aspects of the art and architecture of the twentieth century with the Harvard History of Art and Architecture program.