History of Architecture 2B (students M-Z)

Prof. Giovanni Menna






The course aims to give an overview of the events, of the most significant figures and experiences which have marked the development of a modern design culture, especially in the twentieth century. The term a quo is set in the mid-nineteenth century when new and newer techniques and materials emerged, and openly questioned the Beaux Arts academic culture, thus creating the conditions for a radical rethinking of goals, techniques and languages of the architecture and changed the role of the architect in mass industrial society. The term ad quem is instead set to 2010 because, despite the absence of the necessary historical "distance", it seems appropriate to offer students at the end of this long journey in the architecture of the twentieth century, the opportunity to reflect on the ongoing processes through an overview of production more significant considering also the limitations, contradictions or discretions highlighted by contemporary architectural culture. In this regard, a series of seminars dedicated to a critical analysis of some figures or works emerging in the last decades, appropriately selected as particularly significant case studies, are foreseen in the final part of the course. As Benedetto Gravagnuolo wrote, it is "the very impossibility of transmitting the entire architect of the history of architecture, during a single year of study, to impose a motivated selection by privileging the themes that can form a consciousness of the learner learning method, even before a wealth of knowledge". This overview will, however, be cut according to precise angles that will favor aspects deemed essential to link the architectural phenomenon to the complexity of the cultural, social and economic context in which it is always produced. This critical outlook however will be “cut” according to precise angles to favor aspects deemed essential to link the architectural phenomenon to the complexity of the cultural, social and economic context in which it always arises: from the relationship between the work of architects and artists (from the "historical avant-gardes" to the many trends of today) to the culture of modern design that emerged within the interior or product design, up to the “urban question”, which allows to place architectures narrated in reality of the physical and territorial context in which they arise as stone objects and in the same time in the social context, with all its economic and political implications.    


From the city-monument to the city-service: the transition at the beginning of the 19th century. The new techniques of the urban transformation: Haussmann’s Paris as an example. The Haussmann Emulation in Europe. The Other Paradigm: The Ring of Wien. (B. Gravagnuolo, La progettazione urbana in Europa, pp. 18-33)  

The Cerdà Plan for Barcelona: the foundation of scientific urban planning. Camillo Sitte and the call to urban art. The urban utopias of the nineteenth century. The city-linear and the city-garden (B. Gravagnuolo, La progettazione urbana in Europa, pp. 40-54)  

Technical Transformations: Structural Engineering 1775-1939; News from No Place: England 1836-1924; Adler and Sullivan: The Auditorium and Growth in Height 1886-1895; Frank Lloyd Wright and the Myth of Prairie 1890-1916; The influence of Viollet-le-Duc. Horta, Guimard and Berlage 1880-1910; C. R. Mackintosh and the Glasgow School 1896-1916; Ver Sacrum: Wagner, Olbrich, Hoffmann 1886-1912; Antonio Sant'Elia and the Futurist Architecture 1909-1914; Adolf Loos and the Crisis of Culture from 1896 to 1931; Van de Velde and the abstraction of empathy 1895-1914 (K. Frampton, Storia dell’architettura modernapp. 22-107).  

Tradition as progress. Berlage and the unity between architecture and town planning; the Amsterdam School and the design of New Neighborhoods; Dudok, Oud, Van Eesteren; Wagner and the Groszstadt (B. Gravagnuolo, La progettazione urbana in Europa, pp. 169-210).  

Garnier and the "Cité Industrielle" 1899-1918. Perret: The Evolution of a Classical Rationalism 1899-1925. The Deutsche Wekbund 1895-1927. The "Glass Chain": Expressionist Architecture in Europe 1910-1925. The Bauhaus: 1919-1932. The New Objectivity: Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland 1923-1933. "De Stijl": The Evolution and the Disintegration of Neoplasticism 1917-1931. Le Corbusier and the Esprit Nouveau 1907-1931. Mies van der Rohe and the Expression of Reality 1921-1933. Art and Architecture in the Soviet Union 1918-1932. Le Corbusier and the "Radieuse Ville" 1928-1946. Wright and the Disappearing City 1929-1963. Aalto and the Northern Tradition 1895-1957. Terragni and the architecture of Italian Rationalism 1926-1943 (K. Frampton, Storia dell’architettura moderna, pp. 108-246)  

Perret and Le Havre’s refoundation (B. Gravagnuolo, La progettazione urbana in Europa, pp. 229-234)

Le Corbusier and the monumentalization of "spontaneous" languages ​​1930-1960 Mies van der Rohe and the monumentalization of the technique 1933-1967 (K. Frampton, Storia dell’architettura moderna, pp. 264-281)

Garnier and zoning theory The metropolis of the future Le Corbusier and Hilberseimer: variations on the metropolis The method and construction of rationalist neighborhoods The "Weissenhofsiedlung" and the international dissemination of the new vision of living The foundation of the CIAM and the adventure of the Functional City Grid and Style of International Architecture From Homes to Housing to Structural Temptations The Parable of Functionalism and the CIAM Crisis (B. Gravagnuolo, La progettazione urbana in Europa, pp. 268-346)  

Architecture in Europe 1945-2010.  

Part I - From Reconstruction to the Crisis of Ideologies. 1945-1989

Part II - Multiple Languages ​​of Contemporary - 1990-2010