Taubman College

Course List

Term Winter 2018
Class ARCH 215
Class Title Building Business
Description Building Business - Corporations, Architecture, and the Built Environment from the Medici to McDonalds.

Corporations are said to be like people. This may reflect their architecture: “head” office buildings front “bodies” behind, in manufacturing sheds with multiple lateral wings. But unlike human bodies, corporations extend around the world to absorb new buyers and sellers, subdividing, splitting, and reconfiguring themselves with astonishing speed and flexibility. Corporations guided by capital perform according to its rules; like capital, they mutate quickly around economic requirements, or they die.

Buildings provide corporations with headquarters or head office, where architecture brands business identity. Architecture also provides corporate America with bodies, where work is done and goods are sold. In both cases, buildings give diffuse financial entities an identifiable image—a visage, a face, a recognizable brand.

Yet for many centuries, buildings were static, immobile, and slowly built, in sharp contrast to the increasing speed with which corporate capital moved its goods. Buildings must be planned, constructed, and inhabited until they work properly for their users. Architecture promised the corporation an image, and yet refused to deliver it quickly, or to change it rapidly. The tension between architecture’s solidity, and capital’s fluidity, undergirds this course on architecture and business. Does architecture have the capacity to exercise a salutary influence on the overweaning power of money?

The course charts corporate development and occupied space in and around buildings and cities throughout the world, moving in reverse chronological order from buildings such as the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation headquarters, the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, or the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, to early banking corporations, colonial corporations, and monasteries. Six units include: non-place corporations, skyscrapers and the multinational, the City of London since WWII, the birth of the highrise and the American city, colonial corporations across the globe, and early monastic and banking corporations in Europe.

Prereq none entered yet
Crosslist HISTART 215
Required No
Elective Yes
Selective No
Meets Tuesday/Thursday Lecture: 2:30-4:00pm Lec Rm 1 MLB

Please see Wolverine Access for discussion sections days and times
Credits 4
Faculty Claire Zimmerman
Syllabus not available