The Death and Life of Modernist Architecture

Module code: HA3015 

Module co-ordinatorDr Simon Richards

Module Overview

In 1958 the ‘International Congress of Modern Architecture’ was officially dissolved. This marked the symbolic end of the dominant architectural orthodoxy of the twentieth century, which has been characterised by three ideals: comprehensive social overhaul, functionalism, and a machine aesthetic. The architectural profession was in crisis, and the 1960s and ‘70s became an extremely fertile time during which architects sought for new ideals to replace the old. Among the ideals that emerged was a new-found fascination for history, language, community and the environment.

In this module we will do three things. Firstly, we will examine the forces that undermined architectural modernism. Secondly, we will trace the emergence of the various Post-Modern ideals. Thirdly, we will look at the complex ways in which elements of architectural Modernism survived and were rehabilitated in the Post-Modern period.

Among the many architects and theorists to be covered are:

  • Le Corbusier
  • Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown
  • Aldo Rossi
  • Peter Eisenman
  • Rem Koolhaas
  • Daniel Libeskind

Teaching and Learning Methods

Lectures, seminar discussions, theoretical readings, presentations, running commentary/blogs on contemporary architectural stories and issues, site visits.

Assessment Methods

  • 3,000-3,500 word essay (50%)
  • Three hour examination at the end of the semester (50%)