In this course, students will explore the relationship between the architectural culture of the twentieth century and the extra-architectural concept of ‘modernity’. The Thematic Semester provides a unique opportunity to recast the history of architecture’s modernity in terms of a more general history of the transformation of labour (or work) under modern conditions: from the institutionalisation of the profession itself at the dawn of the twentieth century; through the mechanisation of labour and life that characterised that century’s development; to the global infrastructures and information networks that facilitated work at its close. The course therefore engages with the semester thematic in two inverse ways. It asks: how has the work of architecture changed over the past 100+ years? And it explores the ways in which architecture has shaped the nature of work over the same period.
Students will also explore the history of Australian architecture, and its changing place within the wider phenomena described above, in the form of a parallel lecture series. This lecture series will comprise invited scholars speaking to ongoing research projects in the historiography of Australian architecture, and addressing the question of what ‘radical work’ looks like in the context of Australia’s architectural history.