Utopias and realities of dwelling

lbarc2240  2022-2023  Bruxelles Saint-Gilles

Utopias and realities of dwelling
3.00 credits
30.0 h
Main themes

  1. Definition of key concepts such as dystopia, utopia, eutopia, syntopia and pantopia
  2. Analysis of utopian thinking, through the socio-cultural context in which they have emerged
  3. Analysis of utopian thinking, through the biographies of authors who have  put such ideas forward
  4. Statement and application of methodology for field analysis, revealing dissatisfaction which creates utopias
  5. Comparison of contemporary issues with utopian thinking
  6. Examination of utopia as a motor for transformation in contemporary society
Learning outcomes

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 Specific learning outcomes:
By the end of this course, students will be able to
  • question themselves on the context of the appearance of a utopia, by discovering the dissatisfaction which has led to the emergence of alternative thinking.
  • look hard at a housing reality and apply methods of approach in the context, linked to the chosen current topic.
  • develop ways of  dystopian, utopian and eutopian thinking, formulated in a relevant way.
  • apply a eutopian proposal to a given social reality.
  • understand the gap between production and appropriation needs (practice and representation) of inhabited environments.
Contribution to the learning outcomes reference network:
Build knowledge of architecture
  • Be familiar with and analyse the discipline's basic references
Place the action
  • Recognise, observe and produce critical assessments of the targeted environments and contexts
  • Formulate questions relating to the development of the context being studied to make working hypotheses
Make use of other subjects
  • Interpret and synthesise the knowledge of other subjects
Express an architectural procedure
  • Test and use relevant means of communication in relation to the intended audience and the target objectives
Make committed choices
  • Activate and develop an ethical sense through approaches to architecture
  • Develop awareness of the political meaning of the work of an architect and his/her responsibility towards society
This course outlines the double nature of dwelling, made out of physical structures (house) and uses (home). Architecture cannot be separated from this dual character.
Over the course of humanity, the reality of dwelling is disrupted by a series of historical breaks. During these times of uncertainty, imagination addresses the shortcomings of the real world by producing utopias.
The concept of utopia is used for two different purposes.
On the one hand, it is used as a knowledge tool. The double nature of dwelling is analysed in various historical breaks through the critical lens of utopia.
On the other hand, it is used as a prospective tool. In this latter case, students are asked to depict our contemporary reality and to produce an utopian counterpart.
Teaching methods
This course is partly lecture based and partly a collective discussion on the intermediate works of the students.
Evaluation methods
The course will be assessed in a group work combining a written essay and drawn material. Students will be asked to display their understanding of the theoretical concepts developed in the course as well as their ability to produce a critical and consolidated work based on those concepts.
Intermediate critics will be organized. They will not be assessed.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Learning outcomes
Master [120] in Architecture (Bruxelles)