This course looks at the development of modernism in architecture and explores the variety of approaches both in the US and in Europe. The course ends with a study of how The Modern Movement was taken up in Britain, particularly in urban areas where it was used in all types of architecture.  

The Modern Movement in architecture emerged in the early 20th century as a response to changes in technology and society.  As new cities sprung up and urban populations expanded the needs of society changed and architects were keen to find a new approach to civic and domestic architecture and to leave historical styles behind. 

The idea of style was abandoned and architects instead felt committed to a more universal concept of architecture, one based on new materials and on a simplification of forms.

There was an interest in architecture which expressed its purpose and no longer relied heavily on ornament.  In America Louis Sullivan coined the phrase ‘Form follows Function’ and this emphasised the idea of letting the building’s essential structure dictate the form.

As technology developed the aesthetic of the machine became a central theme in modernism.  The concept of a house as a ‘machine for living in’ was promoted by architects like Le Corbusier.  The language and forms of industrial buildings became the inspiration for many architects both in America and in Europe and the ‘tradition of the new’ became the dominant style of the 20th century. 

Wk 1. 7/9

The search for a new architecture in the nineteenth century.  Industrialisation and the rise of the city.  The sky scraper and the Chicago School.  Louis Sulliivan “form follows function”

Wk 2 14/9

Frank Lloyd Wright’s approach to architecture in domestic and commercial buildings.  The Prairie houses, Falling Water and organic architecture.

Wk 3 21/9

Cubism, De Stijl and new conceptions of space.  The paintings of Mondrian and the architecture of Gerrit Rietveld

Wk 4 28/9

A celebration of industrialisation.  The German Werkbund, Bruno Taut and Peter Behrens.

Wk 5 5/10

Walter Gropius.  German Expressionism and the Bauhaus.

Wk 6 12/10

(Continuation of German Expressionism and the Bauhaus)

19/10 No class

Wk 7 26/10

Mies van der Rohe and the international style.  The Barcelona Pavilion.

Wk8 3/11

Le Corbusier “a house is a machine for living” Villa Savoye and other projects.

Wk 9 10/11

Le Corbusier and the vision of an ideal city.

Wk 10 16/11

The Modern Movement in England.  Berthold Lubetkin and Erich Mendelsohn.




Tutor: Fiona James
Date & Time: Thursdays, 11am - 12:30pm
Venue: Community Room, New Brewery Arts
REF: AC34-17
PRICE: £150.00 (£0.00 VAT)

All abilities welcome

What you will need:
Note book and pen

First class:
7th Sep
Half term:
19th Oct
Last class:
16th Nov



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