Teaching Units ENAC enable students to establish tangible links between theory and practice. They focus on real complex problems related to the natural and built environment. To address these issues, students are required to work in multidisciplinary teams and actively learn through experimentation in the formulation of a problem and find solutions.
Cartography: Maps are visual tools for thinking about the world at many scales. They shape scientific hypotheses, organize political and military power, limit the boundaries of private property, and reflect cultural ideas about nature and the landscape. To the extent that our world-views inform our perceptions, maps have the power to actually make the territories they represent and construct the subjects that gaze upon them. Throughout Western modernity, cartographic reason has mediated this epistemology preponderantly. Cartesian perspectives lineated the world with respect to a fixed anthropocentric subject position and `God’s eye views’ surveyed the world from an abstract elevated `nowhere.’ Cartography became the enterprise concerned with the analysis and measurement of the res extensa, that is, the management of nature as resource and neutral background for architecture. In today’s context of ecological crisis, this course aims to promote `ways of seeing’ the land that convey a decentering of this human-architectural sovereignty.
Environmental Objects: The word environment comes from the French environer, meaning `to surround, enclose, encircle.’ The word object comes from the Latin objectum, meaning `thing lying before, opposite’ the mind or sight. The environment is the milieu, the mid-space, the medium in-between. The object limits a place and occupies a position. To think of architecture as an `environmental object’ means to question this opposition and thus disrupt the longstanding trope of architecture as the foreground of nature, the autonomous landmark dominating the land. To map environmental objects is to render visible the entanglements between architecture and its territorial environments, thus reimagining a discipline that amplifies its context, attunes to it and renders it conscious.