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ARCH 242 + ARCH 555 • Criticism Two
Criticism Project: Part I
The objective of Criticism Project: Part I is the exploration of the broadest
possible intentions and values of both the architect and the critic in order to
critically examine works of architecture and more thoughtfully pursue the
work of the discipline.
This assignment’s specific immediate goal is the development of a set of
critical criteria useful in the assessment of any work of architecture,
landscape design, or built environment.
A. Values/Intentions: Briefly outline the values and/or intentions that
contribute to the outlined criteria. The expressed values and/or intentions
may be based on logic, faith (in a higher power, etc.), magic, or an entirely
inexpressible feeling, etc. Irrespective of basis, you are required to describe
its relationship to your critical criteria.
B. Critical criteria: Briefly outline a minimum of eight criteria by describing
each criterion, its basis, and its general application in architecture. Criteria
may be universally applicable or narrowly focused. See the list of questions
below to provoke your consideration of this topic.
C. Diagrams: Prepare one small sketch diagram per criterion. Each diagram
shall be placed with and depict the essence of its associated criterion. The
size of each diagram shall be 1 ½ x 1 ½ inches maximum to 1 x 1 inches
minimum. Diagrams shall be black on white; please use a black pen to sketch
Attribution & Captions
Cite all sources from which information and/or images are obtained.
Submit a single 8.5x11-inch PDF on Moodle by Thursday, February 11.
Criticism Project submissions will be evaluated according to the following
Learning Outcomes and
Completeness, ability to follow directions;
Clarity, relevance, coherence;
Ability to gather, assess, record, and evaluate information and support
Ability to demonstrate an understanding of histories and cultural norms of
varied contexts and factors;
Conformance with departmental standards for scholarly writing. Please give
serious consideration to consulting with the Woodbury University Writing
Center. See syllabus for additional information.
Learning outcomes delivered: Visual Communication Skills, Investigative Skills,
Use of Precedents, Historical Traditions and Global Culture.
NAAB criteria delivered: PC.2 Design, PC.3 Ecological Knowledge and
Responsibility, PC.4 History and Theory, and PC.8 Social Equity and Inclusion.
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ARCH 242 + ARCH 555 • Criticism Two | Criticism Project: Part I
What is the difference between the purpose of a “building” and that of
2. What is the purpose of architecture? What values are essential for
architecture to fulfill this purpose?
Is the work of architects necessarily guided by deeply held beliefs? Is it
important that there be an underlying ethical or moral purpose to
4. In what ways should composition or formal relationships determine the worth
of a work of architecture?
Presuming that architecture has an obligation to be long-lasting and durable,
for what reason(s) should this be so?
Does architecture have an obligation to consider its surroundings? Should
architecture fit its physical context? If so, what are the three most important
ways for architecture to respond to its physical setting?
How would YOU rank the importance of the following factors to architecture?
Are there other factors that need to be considered?
Responsiveness to neighborhood/community context.
b. Financial return/cost-effectiveness.
d. Appearance/visual characteristics.
e. Mimesis/stylistic correctness.
Logical design/compositional principles.
g. Sensory/bodily experience/user comfort.
h. Functional operation/responsiveness to program.
Durability/structural soundness/resistance to natural forces.
Sustainability/ resource conservation/responsiveness to natural cycles/
Is one’s experience of and relationship with architecture, as Rafael Moneo
wrote, “personal, untransferable reflection”? Should you be required to justify
your purpose(s) in design?
Is there a difference between architecture that you believe is important and
architecture that you feel is special? What is the difference?
10. What are your favorite works of architecture? What do they have in common?
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