This course is not a survey of all architecture produced in the twentieth
century around the world, rather it is an introduction to the primary
movements, figures, and debates which were at the heart of the diverse
strands most commonly referred to as "modernism." In recent
decades the notion of a unified modern movement in architecture has
increasingly been challenged, and modernism itself has come to be
seen as a multivalent, even contradictory category in architecture.
Something of that complexity will be reflected in the course lectures
which will frequently seek to portray a particular figure, movement
or ideology in relief against other alternatives available in a given
time or place that proved a crucial center of debate over progressive
Architectural Modernism is arguably the first phenomenon in the history
of architecture which might rightly be called global, even if its
precepts and forms were not explored in all parts of the world for
much of the century. While some reference will be made to major works
outside of Europe and North America, the emphasis will be overwhelmingly
on European avant-grade movements and on their impact in the United
States. Moreover there will be a deliberate emphasis on the heroic
decades leading up to 1945, which will comprise over 2/3 of the course.
The last 1/3 of the term will be devoted to a more rapid survey of
post-1945 developments, justified in part because students may now
follow this survey with either "Architecture Since 1945,"
which is regularly offered by the Department or by specialized seminars
on aspects of post-War and contemporary architecture.
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