Architecture: The Idea of Materials, the Material of Ideas

Humanities Seminars Course

Architecture: The Idea of Materials, the Material of Ideas

Professor Emeritus Alvaro Malo School of Architecture
Past Course
WEDNESDAYS 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. February 22 - March 29, 2017 (no class on March 15)
Dorothy Rubel Room



This seminar aims to elicit students’ participation in a free-spirited conversation and regain a sense of wonder and intimacy with architecture.  The discussion topics will be based on five readings, which are accessible, practical, and poetic. They will offer a generous survey of philosophical and architectural thinking from classical to modern, examining the motives and reasons for the making of architecture and the concurrent material consciousness.

The five sessions address Mortimer Adler’s Aristotle for Everybody, which examines man the maker; Paul Valéry’s essay “Eupalinos, or The Architect”; Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman, pointing toward material consciousness; Peter Zumthor’s Thinking Architecture; and Louis I. Kahn’s Light Is the Theme, which focuses on the design and building of the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas.


Required Reading: 

Kahn, Louis I, and Nell E. Johnson. Light Is the Theme: Louis I. Kahn and the Kimbell Art Museum : Comments on Architecture.  Kimball Art Museum, 2012. ISBN-10: 0300179405.

ÁLVARO MALO, Professor Emeritus, joined the University of Arizona as Director/ Professor of the School of Architecture (1998-2006) and was founding Director of the Emerging Material Technologies Graduate Program (2005-2011). He received his Architect's Diploma from the Universidad de Cuenca, Ecuador. As a Fulbright scholar, he attended Louis I. Kahn’s Studio and received his Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, 1970.

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