ARTH 414
Modernist Architecture: The Rise and Fall of the Modern Movement Fall 2021
Division I Writing Skills

Class Details

Modern architecture was once a radical movement–as radical as modern art, music, and literature–but though its forms survive today, they have lost their revolutionary charge. It has dwindled, in the words of Nathan Glazer, “from a cause to a style.” This seminar will examine the modern movement in architecture as a historical artifact, from its emergence in early 20th-century Europe to its worldwide dominance in the 1950s, and to its collapse into an ideology-free modern vernacular since the 1960s. We will look at the principal theorists of the movement, including Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, and Adolf Loos, as well as the critics who undermined it, particularly Robert Venturi and Jane Jacobs. Potential research topics include the failure of urban renewal, the patronage of modernism by corporate America, postmodernist criticism, and the historiography of the modern movement–in short, any topic that falls between Mies’s “less is more” to Venturi’s “less is a bore.”
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 11
Expected: 11
Class#: 1877
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Several short classroom presentations. A 20-page research paper and a one-hour presentation & discussion in the seminar.
Prerequisites: At least two previous courses in art history.
Enrollment Preferences: Juniors, seniors and graduate students.
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
WS Notes: Students will prepare a seminar research paper of at least 20 pages that will be revised in multiple draft, responding to comprehensive feedback on content, style, logic, tone, grammar, word use, and so forth.

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