HistArt / Arch
Buildings, Cities, People: Architecture and Modernity

TTh 11:30am - 1:00pm
4 Credit Lecture

Previous title: Building the 19th and 20th Centuries

This course surveys the history of architecture and the built environment in relation to 19th- and 20th-century modernity, beginning in North America and on the European continent, and subsequently moving further afield. On the one hand, we look at the art and architectural movements known as modernism in European and American culture from the early 19th c; on the other, we examine progressive modernization related to the built environment more generally. Beginning with new building types and social institutions, we will consider how architects, engineers, planners, and developers responded to the challenges of industrialization and post-Enlightenment thought. The course will trace foundational themes of architectural modernism in relation to concurrent developments in the fine arts, photography, film, philosophy, and science. While developments covered in this class begin with the Industrial Revolution in North America and Europe, the geographical frame widens dramatically as modern architecture and industrialization spread globally throughout the 20th c., involving developments as paradoxical as Le Corbusier's Chandigarh, set alongside the concurrent colonization of South Asia by western industrial capital. The course will move in chronological sequence, beginning with radical changes to architecture and artistic culture in the 19th c. It will include a series of comparative case studies narrowly focused on specific objects and texts placed within their geographical and historical context. We will make use of a series of recent exhibitions and publications that bring architecture into relationship with other arts in the modern period. The class is a lecture course with opportunity for class discussion on a regular basis. Required: one day long field trip to Detroit and its inner industrial suburbs.

Estimated cost of materials: $50 or more, but less than $100. D. 4