Andrew M. Shanken and Desirée Valadares
We all pass by ugly buildings everyday, often in silent, unconscious protest, or register beautiful ones fleetingly, alas, through a windshield. This turning away leaves us unprepared to judge, and more importantly, to demand better. Yet architecture is the most public of arts. We all use it everyday and this makes us all arbiters of it. The course empowers students to seek out their own critical voices in writing about their surroundings. It helps students sharpen their eye and to show them how to lay out plainly, but with sophistication, the ramifications of various kinds of interventions in the built environment. The campus will be the course’s quarry. Students tour Berkeley’s buildings and landscape and read them against both architectural criticism and essays by authors such as John McPhee, John Updike, Christopher Hitchens, Sue Allison, Wendell Berry, and Patricia Hampl.