The seminar focuses on the unexpected vicissitudes and violent debates of British architecture, design, and urbanism at select points from nineteenth to twentieth centuries, connecting these debates with larger historical forces. Early technological innovations associated with the Industrial Revolution produced England's utilitarian "dark Satanic mills" and led to nineteenth century social reform and the emergence of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Continental modernism arrived in the 1930s, closely followed by influential émigrés from Nazi Germany, who transformed the British scene, giving way to a doctrinaire, economically constrained version of European functionalism that swept Britain in the wake of World War Two. Architects of the 1950s reacted against this bureaucratic modernism with militant iconoclasm, returning to core sources like Le Corbusier's Oeuvre Complète (1935-) and Alberto Sartoris's Gli elementi dell'architettura funzionale (1935). Organized by a variety of institutions--the Institute of Contemporary Art, CIAM's Team X, Gordon Cullen's townscape movement, the Architectural Association, and Reyner Banham, to name a few--a new architecture emerged from the Smithsons, Archigram, Cedric Price, Stirling and Gowan, Fry and Drew, and others. Banham's 'Second Machine Age' promised the utopianism of Archigram; instead, the most recent wave of British cultural imperialism featured James Stirling, Richard Rogers, Norman Foster, Ove Arup, Nicholas Grimshaw, and even Will Alsop. The drama of British architecture allows us to analyze shifting relationships between architecture and other forces such as industry, politics, social life, and art practices. In the process core discourses of modern architecture will be identified and cross-examined. Open to advanced undergraduates and graduate students.
Estimated cost of materials: $100 D.4