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Ciutats: pedra sobre paper / Cities: stone on paper

Qm Primavera 2015-2016
Qm Nivell Quadrimestral Núm. màxim d'estudiants
P 7-10 20

"English only. Native or proficient english (B2 according to MERC) to be proven upon registration to the seminar"


Codi Crèdits Distribució (T, P, L) Departament H/s treball estudiant
290174 4 (3,5 ECTS) 2T, 2L UOT 3


Dia d'impartició Hora d'impartició Núm de setmanes
Dilluns/Monday 15:30 - 18:40 12


Professor Responsable Adolf Sotoca                                                   
Altres professors


“Cities: stone on paper” tracta dels arquitectes que escriuen sobre les seves ciutats. Sis urbs exemplars (3 europees i 3 americanes) són el camp de treball a partir del qual els participants en el seminari obtindran una visió rica i global de l’aproximació arquitectònica a la ciutat.


“Cities: stone on paper” trata de los arquitectos que escriben sobre sus ciudades. Seis urbes ejemplares (3 europeas y 3 americanas) son el campo de trabajo a partir del cual los participantes en el seminari obtendran una visión rica y global de la aproximació arquitectónica a la ciudad.

Subject abstract

"Cities: stone on paper" focuses on architects who write about their cities. A set of six remarkable case studies (3 European + 3 North American) constitutes the field from where the students will obtain a diverse and rich overview of the architectural approach to he city scale.

The City, being the more complex cultural achievement of mankind, can be approached from very diverse disciplines. Nevertheless, Architecture plays the most relevant role in the production of urbanity, since the material and physical space becomes the scene of the rest of human activities. The seminar will claim for the fundamental role that architects play at the city scale. Through the compared analysis of paradigmatic cities the seminar will display an intentional history of the Urban Project and its impact on the construction of the contemporary European and NorthAmerican city.


We will get to know them through six seminal books written by architects:


Barcelona: “Cerdà / Ensanche” by Manuel de Sola‐Morales.


New York City: “Delirious New York” by R. Koolhaas.


Los Angeles: “Los Angeles: the architecture of four ecologies” by R. Banham.


Berlin:“Berlin as a green archipelago” by O.M. Ungers.


Boston: “The Image of the City” articles by K. Lynch


Rome: “An eternal city. Four lessons of twenty-seven centuries” by L. Quaroni.

Learning outcomes. At the end of the course the student should be able to:

Generic required and trained competences.

- Reading and understanding of text.
- Communication skills.

- Capability for translating reflections into graphics.

- Capability for synthesis of reflections in brief but meaningful texts.

Specific acquired competences and knowledge.

- Basic culture on urbanism through the analysis and reflection of paradigmatic case studies of western cities urban history.
- Acquisition of a solid theoretical background through the reading of the most relevant architecture‐city manifestos of the XXth century.
- Training in relational analysis based on compared analysis methodology.

- Knowledge of designing processes and techniques of architecture at urban scale.


Stone on paper



All students will be required to prepare three mid-term presentations and one final research work: 

1. Mid-term presentations will develop both in writing and graphics one of the urban episodis proposed by the instructor in weeks 2&3. Teams of one or two membres will prepare the presentation. Required formats are: 
- One power point presentation(20’) 
- One panel in format Arch D containing original graphics and synthetic texts. Graphics (models, drawings, photomontages,etc…) must be original, thus meaning that at least a certain manipulation of existint graphics is required. Texts cannot exceed 1000 words (including aphorisms and captions).

2. Final research work will be focused on the intentional reading of one of the analyzed cities. The chosen case‐study will be graphically described in its three basic components: physical, formal and perceived space. Using the training and knowledge acquired during the seminar, a synthetic description is here expected. This presentation will be done individually or, exceptionally, in teams of two members. Required formats are: 
-One power point presentation (10’) 
- One panel in format Arch E containing original graphics and synthetic texts. Graphics (models, drawings, photomontages, etc…) must be original, thus meaning that at least a certain manipulation of existint graphics is required. Texts cannot exceed 2000 words (including aphorisms and captions). 

Proposed assignments weighting 
Mid-term presentations: 15% each 
Final presentation: 55% 

Student participation in all seminar meetings and field trips is mandatory. Less than full active participation will be reflected in the student’s course grade.The participation grade will be based on two equally weighed parts: 1) ability to demonstrate, during discussions and through actions, an understanding of and personal reflection on requiredcourse material and 2) active participation in all in-class activities. 

Students are responsable for completing those readings before each Meeting as well as analyzing and reflectint on their own reactions to the readings. 

The dynamic of the seminar requires all presentations to be done on the scheduled dates. Late assignments/presentations won’t be graded. 

The nature of this seminar could require participants to work in teams to complete presentations. When working in teams, please remember that team projects are supposed to be that – projects worked on and completed by all membres of a team. In this course, team assignments will be graded; however, all team membres will not necessarily receive the same grade for the assignment. At the end of the assignment, team membres can be asked to assess the work that they themselves have accomplished as well as the work that other membres of their team have accomplished.


Axelrod, J (2009) “Inventing Autopia. Dreams and visionsof the modern metròpolis in jazz age Los Angeles”, University of California Press.

Bacon, E. (1976) “Design of cities”, Penguin Books.

Ballon, H. (2012) “The Greatest Grid. The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011”, The Museum of the City of New York.

Banerjee, T.& Southworth M. (2002) “City Sense and City Design. Writings and projects of Kevin Lynch”, MIT Press

Banham, R. (2000) “Los Angeles. The Architecture of four ecologies”, University of California Press.

Hertweck, F.& Marot, S. (2013). “The City in the City. A manifesto (1977) by Oswald Mathias Ungers and Rem Koolhaas”, Lars Müller Publishers.

Koolhaas, R. (1994) “Delirious New York. A retroactive manifesto for Manhattan”, Monacelli Press.

Quaroni, L. (2008) “Una Ciudad eterna. Cuatro lecciones de veintisiete siglos. An eternal city. Four lessons of twenty-seven centuries”, Fundación Caja de Arquitectos.

Sennet, R.(1992), “The conscience of the eye. The Design and Social Life of Cities”, W.W. Norton and Company.

De Sola-Morales, M. (2008) “Ten Lessons on Barcelona”, COAC.

De Sola-Morales, M. (2010) “Cerda--Ensanche”, Edicions UPC_BarcelonaTECH.