Reading and Writing about Visual Experience: Zaha Hadid: Form, Function, Figures
Monday | Wednesday: 8:00 - 9:30am
When the Iraqi-born, London-based architect Zaha Hadid died in 2016 at the age of 65, publications from the New York Times to the Guardian to Architectural Record looked back on a career of fantastical paintings and world-shifting stadiums and, of course, her status as one of the most influential female architects of all time.
This course focuses on Zaha Hadid as a locus of multiple avenues of inquiry. What does it mean for architecture to be represented through painting, renderings, or photography – both amateur and professional? What is the architect’s ethical responsibility – to the workers; to the city; to the ideals of architecture? To answer these questions, we will undertake a series of close readings of popular texts about Hadid; close visual analysis of various works by Hadid in different media; and an investigation into theoretical and historical works grounded in art history and architectural history. We will use Hadid’s publicly available work—paintings, drawings, sketches, diagrams, plans, and photographs—as a lens through which to investigate both the larger context of architectural history in the turn of the 21st century, and what buildings—and their various types of representation—can mean. We will trace architectural significance through its various guises and come to learn how a character is born in the press, and an architect developed through a practice.
This course fulfills the second half of the Reading and Composition (R&C) requirement at UC Berkeley. The readings and images in this course will be activated through our own practice of scholarly writing, reading and research. We will seek to develop the critical tools required of writers and readers at the college level by establishing strategies for close reading and analysis of visual works and texts, as well as crafting a longer (10-12 page) undergraduate research paper.