Critical Habitats; 2015/16

Mejan Arc - Critical Habitats, 2015/16
Kurs på avancerad nivå, 60 högskolepoäng


Critical Habitats’ is a full time (60 credits) year-long advanced level course taught by a consortium of visiting international lecturers, artists and activists including Samira Ariadad (Brand, Sweden), Graziela Kunsch (Usina Architectural Collective Sao Paulo), Helena Mattsson (The Architeture of Deregulations: Postmodernism in Swedish Architecture), Peter Osborne (Anywhere or Not At All: Philosophy of Contemporary Art), Sven-Olov Wallenstein (Architecture, Critique, Ideology: Essays on Architecture and Theory), Eyal Weizman (Forensis: The Architecture of Public Truth), with the aim of addressing relevant issues and challenges related to the basic aspects of urban living.

‘Critical Habitats’ through a historical and contemporary perspective puts into question architecture’s political aspirations. As Italian architect and educator Pier Vittorio Aureli noted – architecture, as a form and as a spatial condition, may be political, but as a profession and as a discipline, it is by its nature based on an ideology of consensus and, in this sense, it is apolitical. Eyal Weizman has noted that architecture today has no other alternative than to live within the realm of human rights. In reflection upon this, ‘Critical Habitats’ reroutes the discussion to the historical debates that challenged the very ideological underpinnings of architecture that arose internationally and examines how the profession evolved in relation to late capitalist production. By routing the course through these historical polemics in urbanism, it aspires to bring to illuminate historical and currently developing forms of collective agency and activism around critical habitat transposed into cultural manifestations.

‘Critical Habitats’ will work through the ideological criticism of architectural historian Manfredo Tafuri and his consideration of the “modern movement as an unfolding of a series of central contradictions that have led to the conditions of today.” Through the reconsideration of “today” from Tafuri’s perspective, through to its present status within global modernity, an aim will be to set in place critical thinking around possibly ways to survey and address the complexities of contemporary habitat in the context of unaffordable and unattainable housing, political and social intolerance, and within the rise of extreme polarities in society.  

Setting off from various theoretical points of departure, artists, urban researchers and activists will participate as part of the consortium of course lecturers to delve into the emergence of the city as a process of perpetual confrontation and as the everyday urban condition to address as Graziela Kunsch notes “the occupation of, the collective transformation of, and the equal distribution of space.” In this understanding, the city does not become a focal point of construction and gentrification, rather it becomes what “forensic architect” Eyal Weizman calls the “effective design making of destruction.”


"Return to Nature”, The Transformation of the Military Base of Oush Grab (The Crows Nest). (Photomontage by Sara Pellegrini, courtesy of Decolonizing Architecture/Art Residency), 2012

Through a series of ongoing seminars and discussion groups, ‘Critical Habitats’ aims to foster emancipatory thought and to measure whether the critical parameters for architecture (and thereby for the state of living) are still possible or if they are lodged in other types of processes, be that in Stockholm or elsewhere in the world. 

The course is intended for those with a background in architecture, art, urban research, activism, and who wish to advance and expand their critical and research skills. Admission requirements: M.A. in art or architecture, an M.A. in another   relevant field, or the equivalent relevant experience and knowledge.

For information regarding the course structure and content, please contact Katarina Nitsch Katarina Nitsch, Senior Lecturer for ’Critical Habitats’at  Den här e-postadressen är skyddad från spamrobotar, du måste ha Javascript aktiverat för att visa den .

Find the course syllabus in Swedish here

Find the course syllabus in English here

Find the course prospectus here