The University of Arizona has instituted a multifaceted coronavirus mitigation strategy to keep our community as safe as possible. All Humanities Seminars Program courses offered through December 2020 will be held ONLINE ONLY. 

Course Registration

Architecture: The Idea of Materials, the Material of Ideas

Spring 2017
Sold Out
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
February 22 - March 29, 2017 (no class on March 15)


Main Campus



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.

Watch the video to learn more about this course: 

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.

Recommended Reading: 

Adler, Mortimer J. Aristotle for Everybody: Difficult Thought Made Easy. Touchstone, 1997. ISBN-10: 0684838230.

Meet Your Professor

Professor Emeritus
School of Architecture

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.


Poetry Center
Dorothy Rubel Room
1508 E Helen
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States
Located on the SE corner of Helen Street and Vine Avenue, one block north of Speedway and three blocks west of Campbell Ave.

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