Architecture and Modernity: Building the 19th and 20th Centuries
TTh 1:00-2:30pm
4 Credit Lecture

This course surveys the history of architecture in modernism and in relation to discourses of 19th- and 20th-century modernity. On the one hand, we look at ideas about modernism in European and American culture from early in the 19th c; on the other, we examine progressive modernization in a range of arenas, all related to the built environment. From 19th c. beginnings in new building types and social institutions, until the end of the 20th c., we will consider how architects, engineers, planners, and developers have responded to the challenges wrought by 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. Important developments in the history of architecture--structural rationalism, historicism, formalism, (utopian) socialism, and neo-Kantian essentialism, to name a few--will be considered in relation to the increasing influence of the nation state. 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 on April 13, 2012. Estimated cost of materials: $50 or more, but less than $100. D. 4