Design and Architecture, 1950–1975





By 1953, despite the great challenge of reconstruction in Europe after World War II, the technical obstacles for providing comfortable homes for all seemed to have been resolved (standardized production; control of heat, light, ventilation; acoustic insulation). Building standards were enshrined in legislation in Europe and the United States and would be achieved with heavy investment and mass production, standardization, and the rational solving of technical problems. The members of the three CIAM meetings (Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne) after World War II seemed to be in control of technology and planning. Although the new generation of architects and designers was not satisfied, it was one of the leading figures of the old generation who in 1953 asked the fundamental question: “How should we live today?” This course is about the different ways in which individuals attempted to answer this question, turning away from the twin models of the comfortable bourgeois home and the industrialized working-class dwelling. Students will explore radical approaches to the domestic, from high tech to low tech, from the 1950s to the 1970s, in Europe and in the United States. Each seminar will include a presentation followed by a discussion. Where possible, film and audiovisual material will be used. Each student will contribute one presentation during the semester and submit a 20-page paper at the end of the semester. 3 credits.