University of Technology Sydney

11308 Reading and Writing Architectural Criticism

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject examines the theory and practice of architectural criticism, in Australia and internationally. It approaches this broad field in three ways. First, it examines fundamental philosophical questions of what criticism actually is, its role and function (in architecture and other disciplines), and the relationship between criticism and judgement, discernment, and discrimination, amongst other things. Second, the subject approaches architectural criticism as a rhetorical or writerly practice – through analyses of specific texts and the work of exemplary architectural critics, it identifies the different modes of writing employed in different forums and for different audiences, and the different subject positions taken by critics on various issues. In this way the subject also seeks to examine criticism critically – to read 'between the lines' of public criticism and probe the unspoken ideological positions and complicities held by critics, and also by the forums in which their work is disseminated. It notes the ways in which criticism is affected by its mode and method of presentation – in terms of its voice, vocabulary, projected audience, apparent level of objectivity and so on. Finally, the subject approaches architectural criticism in terms of its specific relationship with architectural practice, and questions the role that criticism plays in the profession, the academy, and in architectural culture more generally. In this way it opens a debate on whether architectural criticism does, and indeed whether it should, contribute to better buildings. The subject concentrates particularly on criticism published in architectural journals, but also touches upon the popular press, as well as film and television.

Typical availability

Spring session, City campus

Detailed subject description.

Access conditions

Note: The requisite information presented in this subject description covers only academic requisites. Full details of all enforced rules, covering both academic and admission requisites, are available at access conditions and My Student Admin.