Modern Architectural History (MARC4201)


This unit presents foundational knowledge concerning modern architecture in global context. It commences briefly with fundamental principles of the European Enlightenment as a means of discussing modern architecture's relationship to a number of external disciplinary fields including archaeology, biology, economics, history, landscape studies, and philosophy. Vital Enlightenment inquiries not only set the stage for historical debates about architecture but have also influenced contemporary questions about what constitutes architectural practice. Attitudes towards classical antiquity, art collections in museums, craft and industrialization, and building materials exemplified how architects have actively participated in creating intellectual discourse. Some principal qualities of modernism evident within the arts and sciences heralded historical contingencies, self-conscious agency, and the rise of technical developments. Architecture's enduring involvement with the modern sciences, in particular, has been conditioned by the shifting tensions existing between many polarizing pairings: empiricism and subjectivity, art and techne, representations and their models.

Instead of employing a chronological structure, course readings are grouped into core areas of exposition. We will survey a range of topics on autonomy, class, construction, drawing, gender, nationalism, ornament, primitivism, science, technocracy, urbanism, and utopia to understand how the complexities of these issues have created frameworks for architectural historiography, theory, and design in a variety of cultural contexts. The Enlightenment influence over these issues engendered lasting modes of resistance against these canonical formations, which remain highly evident in colonial and post-colonial dialogues as well as post-industrial interventions. The intersection of architecture with external disciplines set the agenda for a global modernity spanning from the eighteenth century into the present moment.

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Lecture and tutorial contact, plus self-directed preparation and assignments, for a minimum total student commitment averaging 9 hours per week.


Illustrated Research Essay (60%), Short response essay (30%), and visual diagram (10%)

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