Architecture does not exist in a vacuum. Political, economic, and social factors influence the discussion about,
interpretation, and production of the built landscape. When a significant change occurs in architecture, it
usually is instigated by change happening elsewhere in society, and often that change is fundamental.
Architecture changes because the world has changed.
Select an example of architecture that epitomizes the term “contemporary.” Your essay should explain your
choice. That is, you must explain why it exemplifies contemporary architecture. You do not have enough space
to account for every aspect of contemporary architecture or the contemporary world, so your essay should
focus on one or two aspects. Of course, your example of contemporary architecture need not be a building, but
it must be architectural. It must be spatial and it must be designed.
Your essay should be driven by a thesis, and that thesis should say something about contemporary
architecture. Terms and concepts you may want to consider while devising a thesis include: architecture,
contemporary, space, representation, function. There are other terms worth thinking about, and it is your task
to understand the key terms relevant to your essay. You are encouraged to use this essay to explore the
experience of being a citizen of the contemporary world, as long as your essay remains rooted in architecture.
Also, it is important to base your discussion in the larger intellectual community. Use at least two assigned
readings from this course to develop your answer, and use them to ground the development of your answer.
Using more than two readings is encouraged, but do not include so many that their presence in your essay
seems trivial or superficial. Additional sources may be from this course or elsewhere, as long as they are
relevant to your central idea.
Your essay will be evaluated on how well you argue your thesis, and on the basis of the readings you select as
part of your answer. Is it a good choice for the point you are making? Do you understand the readings you
selected? Have you explained why the readings you selected are relevant to the point you are making? You
are also welcome to rely on ideas and examples introduced in lecture or section, and you may introduce ideas
or examples learned elsewhere.
It is important to make your argument as concrete as possible. By “concrete” we mean to focus on how you
use a specific architectural example, as a way of developing your idea. Specificity is vital to the persuasive
development of an idea, especially when writing about architecture.