Topics in Architecture: The Ends of British Modernism: Architecture, Urbanism, Design Arts
The seminar focuses on British modernism, with emphasis on architecture, design, and urbanism. Beginning with early technological innovations of the Industrial Revolution, innovations that produced England's "dark Satanic mills," we investigate the history of modernism in Britain in relation to its shrinking colonial empire. We survey the Arts and Crafts movement, early 20th century developments in the UK and its colonies, Continental modernism and the émigrés from Nazi Germany who transformed the British scene. But the main emphasis of the class rests squarely in the post-World War II period, as Britain was beset by economic hardship. A doctrinaire, economically constrained version of European functionalism swept the country in the wake of World War II, becoming well established by the early 1950s. Architects reacted with militant iconoclasm, creating "the New Brutalism," and revivifying modernism just as consumer culture and visual literacy expanded globally. This group, from Alison and Peter Smithson to collectives like Archigram and auteurs such as James Stirling, created a new international cartel administered by circulating media, one that made the very notion of regional architecture obsolete. We investigate this development and its profound effect on global modernism then and since. Open to advanced undergraduates and graduate students.
Estimated cost of Materials: $50 or more, but less than $100.
Category for Concentration Distributions: B. Sub-Saharan Africa, C. Asia (includes China, Japan, India, Southeast Asia), D. Europe and the U.S., 4 Modern and Contemporary