Architecture: The Legends

02 Sep 2022

‘Architecture makes you think differently about the world. When you know how to read the built fabric around you, it affects the quality of your life’.

­­—Danielle Ohad, design historian, educator and writer


Many lovers, collectors, enthusiasts of art and design find architecture intimidating. Not always easy to understand, it is big, conceptual, complex and powerful. Architecture is about politics and policies, social infrastructure, about technology, and philosophy. But the matter of fact is that you cannot fully understand design and art without knowing the built fabric.

Architecture: The Legends is a chapter in an ongoing series that defines the most influential figures in the world of design. The engaging conversations in the course illuminate the body of work of the designers and architects to reveal their role in the evolution of contemporary architecture and their place in history. Through the series, you comprehend the spirit of our time. Spanning collecting, architecture, and interior and furniture design, each chapter invites defining figures who have shaped their fields for a personal dialogue.

‘My goal with this series was to produce creative and original education, not completely academic’, explains course leader Danielle Ohad. ‘The course will help people to think differently, understand the visual world, and how this world responds to issues of the time’.

Passionate, inquisitive and perfectionist, Danielle Ohad was born in Israel to a family of German immigrants, who settled in Jerusalem in the 30s. Having studied liberal arts, Ohad majored in Art History and went on to get a PhD at Bard Graduate Center, a research institute dedicated to the study of cultural history of the material world. With almost 30 years of teaching design history and collection, Ohad now splits time amongst teaching, curating exhibitions, advising collectors and institutions, and writing.

‘My first memory connected to design is at my grandmother’s house’, explains Ohad. ‘In the 50s, when people in the community of German and Austrian immigrants sought to get rid of the furniture they brought with them to Israel for the sake of modernising their homes. She acquired loads of Biedermeier furnishings and furnished her beautiful Mount Carmel home in Haifa exclusively with antiques. It was unusual in the landscape of the country’s typical spartan homes’.

The course teaches how to ‘read’ architecture and, how to enjoy and understand contemporary buildings. Participants are going to hear extremely provocative thoughts that stand behind those responsible for the culture of architecture today and how their personal life experiences have come to shape their work and careers. Students will fully understand the relationships between architecture and art, politics, real estate. They will be able to sense buildings and begin to relate to spaces differently.

‘Architecture makes you think differently about the world and when you know how to read the built fabric around you it has an affect the quality of your life. Architecture has the power to make you feel, think, enjoy the visual world. For example, living in New York can transform your life, especially if you know the architecture because the experience is so profound and urbane’.

Having started out in traditional academia, teaching at the Department of Architecture and Interior Design at Parsons, Ohad has in recent years shifted towards public teaching through lectures, and blogging via Daniella on Design. ‘I never repeat the content of my classes because I am a great believer in education as an engine of progress and change’. 

To learn more about Architecture: The Legends , please click Architecture: The Legends. 

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