Essay Prompts

Write an essay of 750-1000 words using one of the following essay prompts. Your essay should include 2-4 relevant analytical sketches or diagrams that visually explain the concepts described in writing.
You may do outside research beyond the required readings for the course, but that is not required. Be sure to focus your essay narrowly, and use specific quotations from the texts as evidence to make your arguments.
Essays should be clearly written, proofread, typed, and should use the Chicago Manual of Style format for citations (consult guide-1.html, and see examples below). In addition, assignments must be completed independently, footnoted appropriately, and submitted on time. Images should be included where appropriate and cited, with source.
Prompt 1
Several authors we have read so far have argued for increased standardization, including Adolf Loos, Hermann Muthesius, Walter Gropius, and Le Corbusier. Choose any two of those authors (or any others whose writing we have read and for whom the concept is important) and compare their notions of standardization. What were they arguing should be standardized? For what reasons? Who were they arguing with or against? What drawbacks did they foresee in standardization, and how did they confront those potential disadvantages? What forms of architecture or other designed objects accorded with those theories, and in what ways can you analyze those designs as demonstrations of those authors’ particular ideas of what standardization could accomplish?
Prompt 2
As a school, the mission of the Bauhaus was to bring together arts and industry in order to create a culture of experimentalism. In the “Programme of the Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar (1919),” Gropius writes, “Instruction of the Bauhaus includes all practical and scientific areas of creative work,” and stipulates in the curriculum “Training in science and theory,” including science of materials, anatomy, physical and chemical theory, etc.1 Further, in “The Bauhaus,” Gropius writes of technologies,
1 Walter Gropius, “Programme of the Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar (1919),” in Programs and Manifestoes on 20th-Century Architecture, ed. Ulrich Conrads (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1971), 52.

efficiency and economy, and “technical instruction” as priorities of the school.2 Along similar lines, Frank Lloyd Wright declares that “after all, architecture is a scientific art.”3 These are not the only instances in which authors advocate for using science or technology as models for design and architecture that we have encountered, but they are prominent ones. Choose any of the readings assigned in the class so far (concentrate on one or two readings in order to remain focused) and analyze them to explain the significance of this approach to design. Why would an author or designer frame their work in terms of scientific rationality? In what ways do the author’s or authors’ specific conceptions of science or technology condition their work, and how do the projects that are the subjects of their writings convey those ideas?
Prompt 3
Le Corbusier titles a section of Towards a New Architecture “The Exterior Is Always an Interior” [“The Outside Is Always an Inside,” in Toward an Architecture].4 This is a repetition of an assertion from earlier in the text.5 Interpret this statement in context. What properties of interiors does Le Corbusier argue architects must take into account when designing exteriors, and vice versa? What are the implications for architectural and interior design more broadly when designers carry out this directive?

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