This Course is Expired

Western Architecture: The Modern Era

This course explores the architectural genesis of the modern world.
University of Oxford University Offices Wellington Square Oxford ,OX1 2JD United Kingdom
(4418) 65270000

Course at a Glance

Mode of learning : Online - Instructor Lead(LVC)

Domain / Subject : Sports & Fitness

Function : General

Trainer name : Dr David Morgan

Starts on : 17th Sep 2014

Duration : 10 Weeks

Difficulty : Advanced

About the course

This course will explore the architectural genesis of the modern world. Beginning with the vital structural innovations of the late Victorian era, the course will trace the rise and spread of Modernism in European and American architecture. It will focus upon the earliest stirrings of Modernism per se in the Europe of the early 20th century (as in the work of Le Corbusier & the Bauhaus), before following the inter-war flight of the European intelligentsia to Britain and the USA. Its subsequent focus will then be principally upon the collision between the existing architectural culture of the USA (such as the work of architects such as Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright) and the incoming flood of European Modernist ideas. 

Course Aim

This course aims to introduce students to the history of western architecture during the period from the later 19th century to the present day.

Assessment methods

Assessment for this course is based on two written assignments - one short assignment due half way through the course and one longer assignment due at the end of the course. Students will have about two weeks to complete each assignment.

Teaching outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to understand:

  • The overall historical trajectory of western European and American architecture during the period from the later 19th century to the present day
  • The broad outlines of the aesthetic and theoretical debates which have informed that historical trajectory
  • The principal structural innovations which have underpinned and enabled that historical development
  • The specific contributions made by each of the principal schools within the Modernist and Post-Modernist architectural traditions
  • The significance of the most important works by the principal architects mentioned during the course
  • The essential stylistic and theoretical nature of Modernism, and Post-Modernism, as expressed in architectural terms 

Course eligibility

Course Requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.

Recommended reading

To participate in the course you will need to have regular access to the Internet and you will need to buy the following books: Frampton, Kenneth:Modern Architecture: A Critical History 4th ed., (Thames & Hudson, London, 2007) Favole, Paolo: The Story of Modern Architecture , (Prestel, London, 2012)

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Course Content

The areas you will cover in this course are:

  • Unit 1: ‘Structure and Ornament’: Debates in late nineteenth-century architecture
  • Unit 2: Modern architecture before Modernism: Beaux Arts and Art Nouveau
  • Unit 3: Early Modernism: Le Corbusier, Purism and the Villa Savoye
  • Unit 4: Pre-Modernist American Architecture (i): The aesthetics of the skyscraper
  • Unit 5: Pre-Modernist American Architecture (ii): Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Unit 6: Mies van der Rohe in America
  • Unit 7: Modernism beyond America: Alvar Aalto and Oscar Niemeyer
  • Unit 8: Brutalism and utopia: Modernism and mass housing in post-war Britain
  • Unit 9: Post Modernism: Philip Johnson and Robert Venturi 
  • Unit 10: Today and tomorrow: CAD and contemporary architecture


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