Author : Phillip Denny

University : Carnegie Mellon University

Status : BArch, 2014

Advisors : Mary-Lou Arscott, Rami el Samahy, Jonathan Kline, Charles Rosenblum

Title : Campus | Situating the Global University

Campus can no longer be a colonized territory of late capitalism, the University an outpost of the disembodied market. For the Institution to regain the precious ground of autonomy, it ought to remember that campus, while referring to ground, structure, and locus of the Institution, originally referred to a battlefield. Now, it would seem that the field has been lost to the market. While the University must strive towards autonomy, it cannot become a hermetic enclave. Throughout its history the University has been, for better or for worse, bound to its reality—and all of the frictions and compromise that entails. Campus thus imagines a radical accommodation of the forces that seek to transgress the limits of the institution and its ideals. A project of utopian realism, Campus recognizes the reality of the University in late capitalism as itself a complex fiction constructed by global forces, and asks: what might happen to our battlefield—campus—when we recognize the forces of global capital as manipulatable flows rather than adversarial conditions?


S//A : What’s the most important aspect of this project that we should be aware of?
Phillip Denny_The project is as much a critique of the disgraced state of Higher Education in the United States as it is a demonstration of how architecture might be re-conceived as a critical media. As such it is intended to open a much larger “project” that further explores the theme of architecture’s criticality.

S//A : What other fields outside of architecture interest you?
PD_ Art history, cultural criticism, literary theory.

S//A : Most important thing you learned in architecture school?
PD_The best architecture is almost never built.

S//A : Describe your dream project
PD_ I don’t have a dream project per se, but if I did, it probably wouldn’t pay.
My dream project would try to understand the history of the utopian impulse in architecture: what is it that has prompted architects, from Boullée to Superstudio, to generate a vast stockpile of utopian visions—and how might utopian thinking be re-conceived in an era when utopianism itself is the market domain of immense cultural complexes?