Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Course Description

This course is a general study of modern architecture as responses to important technological, cultural, environmental, aesthetic and theoretical challenges after the European Enlightenment. It begins with the archaeological digs into a classical past (Rome, Greece, Egypt) as well as exploratory travels into the “others” of Europe to examine the modern origins of architectural history itself within the profession. It ends with the contemporary era of “globalization” and the politics of “development” in the North and South and the relevance of such politics to self-titled trans-national practitioners such as Rem Koolhaas.

The course will subsequently reprise the history of architecture through its use of contemporary ideologies, such as organicism and technology, its provenance within administrative and legal structures, the changing conditions of the practice in response to economic conditions and structures of production, and their role in shaping and understanding social and aesthetic processes at large. Topics cover a wide range of debates on color, drawing, ornament, structure, construction, material, inhabitation, gender, class, race, nationalism, etc. in architecture.

In setting up these constraints, the course will also focus on aspects of architectural theory, historiography, and design in their complicity and resistance with texts of power, specifically with regard to the immense transformations wrought in different cultural contexts by colonial, industrial and post-industrial expansions, and the complicity of the ideas of European modernism in securing these arenas. The course therefore seeks to establish new conceptual relationships between canonical themes of modernity framed within a certain “Europe” in relation to the emergence of a global modernity in the world at large. The course explores modern architectural history and buildings through thematic exposition rather than as simple chronological succession of ideas.


  1. Weekly Assignments: 1 page response to readings and questions, due on weekends (9 required).

  2. Class Presentation.

  3. Final Paper with original research content.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2004
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments with Examples