Modern Architecture: 1880-1968
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Level: Graduate
Division: Parsons The New School for Design
School: School of Art and Design History and Theory
Department: Art and Design History
Course Number: PGHT 5703
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Architectural History, Theory & Criticism
This course traces the development of modern architecture from its origins in the revolutionary political and social climate in Europe in the early twentieth-century, through the Fascist period and World War II, to its transformation in the post-WWII decades as a result of ascendant American economic, cultural, and political power. Using architecture as a touchstone, we will explore aesthetics and ideology, radical and reactionary politics, cynicism, elitism and idealism in the modern period. "Drama occurs in architecture as well as in human life," wrote the critic and historian Sybil Moholy-Nagy, whose essays we will read. Accordingly, we will examine major figures and the cataclysmic events that shaped their lives and works. Topics to be covered include: the work of Erich Mendelsohn, Bruno Taut, Walter Gropius and the Bauhaus, Mies van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier against the backdrop of the Weimar Republic in Germany and the Third Republic in France; the rise of Fascism and Fascist aesthetics; the rise of a market for modernism in America; design and social democracy in post-WWII Europe; and the "crisis in culture" precipitated by the work of Eero Saarinen, Edward Durrell Stone, and Philip Johnson in post-WWII America. In this course, we will situate modern architecture within the contexts of film, fashion, literature, philosophy, and the history of ideas.
Course Open to: Majors Only
Course Pre/Co-requisites:
Open to: All School of ADHT graduate degree students; others by permission.


Open to Hist of Dec Arts & Design students.

Open to Fashion Studies students.

Open to Design Studies students.