Launch: Architecture and Entrepreneurialism


History and Theory



This seminar studies the designer as entrepreneur. Contemporary entrepreneurs usually understand not only how to capitalize a business but also how to play market networks with the viral dissemination of both objects and aesthetic regimes. While the architecture profession has absorbed many of the technologies that markets use in their population thinking, practice is nevertheless structured to support architecture conceived as singular creations. This seminar considers both historical and contemporary moments in architectural and urban design when architects conceived of buildings, building components, or formats as repeatable products—products that, in the aggregate, may have the power to create an alteration to a local or global environment. Each week, the seminar considers the work of two or three architects together with texts that provide critical and theoretical inflection. The final project is a business/design-plan wherein students serve as each other’s publicists. The architects/firms considered in the first portion of the course include Burnham and Root; Alvar Aalto; McKim, Mead & White; John Nolen; Thonet designers; the RPAA (MacKaye, Stein, Wright, Bing, Mumford, Whitaker, Chase); Jean Prouvé; Victor Gruen; Morris Lapidus; Charles and Ray Eames; Case Study Houses; Buckminster Fuller; Cedric Price; Archigram; and Emilio Ambasz. In the second portion of the course, a growing number of contemporary examples, such as Chuck Hoberman, SHoP, TED designers, Kieran Timberlake, and Jürgen Mayer, are examined. Limited enrollment.