Texas A&M University - Commerce

Throughout the course of the twentieth century, architecture has embodied and embraced cultural trends and developments. In this course, we will read primary texts by architects, as well as critical evaluations, as we begin to understand how modern and contemporary architecture changed and shifted over time. Additionally, we will examine the intersections between contemporary art and architecture, studying how the line is continually blurred in the twentieth century. We want to understand the fundamental concepts of architecture, which we will do by developing our terminology and our knowledge of architects, design, and significant buildings. 

-    discuss and explain significant trends in modern and contemporary architecture
-    ability to evaluate buildings and spaces based on design, plan, style, architect, and contribution to the filed
-    continue to learn to analyze the relationships among content, context, and style in Western and Nonwestern architecture
-    develop the skills to effectively write about art and architecture

Students’ ability to meet the course objectives and learning outcomes will be evaluated through written assignments, class participation, discussion, and examinations.

For this course, there will be two required textbooks, which are available at the bookstore and can be purchased online. They are William J.R. Curtis, Modern Architecture since 1900, Phaidon, 3rd edition (ISBN: 0714833568) and Ulrich Conrads, ed, Programs and Manifestoes on 20th-Century Architecture (ISBN: 0262530309).  Additional readings will be handed out during class. 

Each assignment must be handed in on time at the beginning of class and will NOT be accepted via email.  For each class period late (and if not handed in at the start of class), the grade will be deducted one letter grade.  Assignments will NOT be accepted over ONE week late.  

All written assignments must be typed using the following guidelines: 12 pt. Times New Roman font, 1” margins, double-spaced, with page numbers. Failure to format properly will result in a lower grade. 

Statement on Student Behavior:
    All students enrolled at the University shall follow the tenet of common decency and acceptable behavior conducive to a positive learning environment (See Student’s Guide Handbook, Policies and Procedures, Conduct). 
    All students must show respect toward the instructor and the instructor’s syllabus, presentations, assignments, and point of view.  Students should respect each others’ differences.  If the instructor determines that a student is not being respectful towards other students or the instructor, it is the instructor’s prerogative to ask the student to leave, to refer the student to the department head, and to consider referring the student to the Dean of Students who may consider requiring the student to drop the course.  Please refer to pages 42 – 46 of the Texas A&M University-commerce Student guidebook’s Codes of Conduct for details.

Prohibited during class:
-    Cell Phones/Blackberries/MP3 Players:  Please keep these devices off while class is in session. It is disrespectful to both me and your classmates.  No cell phones are allowed during exam sessions. If you need to check the time, consult the clock in the classroom.  Repeated use of these devices will result in being asked to leave.
-    Computers
-    Sleeping
-    Disruptive or distracting behavior: Texting, conversing with other students during class, loud eating, etc. 
-    Repeated entering/exiting the classroom: Please be on time to class.  Not only is disruptive to the class environment, but you could miss important class announcements. This is a short class, so there should be no need to come in and out throughout the class period. Additionally, repeated tardiness will count with your absences, and could result in a lower grade.

Academic Dishonesty: There is no tolerance for any kind of academic dishonesty in this course. This includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism, cheating on exams, theft of instructional material or exams, representing the work of someone else as one’s own, and misrepresenting absences. Academic dishonesty is a severe transgression in college and may result in referral to the Dean of Students, expulsion from class and/or the University, and a failing grade.

Participation: Each person is expected to come to class prepared, which means having done the reading and/or worksheet and ready to engage in the class.  The class should not just be a lecture, rather, people are encouraged to speak up, contribute to the conversation and ask questions. A major part of the participation requirement is ATTENDANCE, which is mandatory.

Attendance: Each student in this course is allowed no more than three unexcused absences. Each absence after three results in the lowering of the grade by 1/3 of a letter grade. When a student accrues more than nine unexcused absences the instructor has the right to drop the student from the course or to give them a failing grade.

Unexcused absences require no explanation. For an absence to be considered excused, appropriate documentation must be presented. Excused absences are defined in The Student Guidebook and various university policies, but the policy employed in this class is confined to the following: (1) Participation in pre‐approved University activities such as athletic events, sponsored field trips, and travel for specific University‐related academic reasons; (2) Verifiable legal proceedings; (3) Documented cases of illness, injury, or emergencies. All such excuses must be shown to the instructor in original, written, documentary form within 7 days of the absence(s) together with a photocopy for the instructor’s records. (Please understand that this copy is a student’s only record of an absence.) In lieu of documentation, the absences become unexcused and are counted as such. 

Throughout the course, you will have two exams (the midterm and the final exam).  They will be composed of slide identifications (where you must identify the artist/title/date/style of the work) short answers, and essay questions.  These exams will NOT be cumulative, and will only cover the material immediately preceding that exam.

Throughout the course, you will be asked to keep a journal, which can be either in a notebook or in a blog format. You should write three journal entries per week. In one entry, you will respond to one of the reading assignments for that week. In another entry, you should recount an experience with architecture (a new building you went to, a different way of viewing a particular space or style of architecture, etc). In the last entry, you should respond to one architect we covered that week, examining his/her contribution to the field. Each entry should be 500-1000 words long. These will be picked up at various points throughout the semester, and should be kept current.  Over the course of the semester, you should visit and document your trips to the Nasher Sculpture Center, Modern Museum of Art in Ft. Worth, Amon Carter Museum, and the Kimbell Art Museum (focusing on the building in this case, not just the art).  These visits should be made before the discussion of their architect/architecture in class. 

Grade Breakdown:

    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact:
Office of Student Disability Resources and Services, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Gee Library, Room 132, Phone (903) 886-5150 or (903) 886-5835, Fax (903) 468-8148, StudentDisabilityServices@tamu-commerce.edu

After contacting the Office of Student Disability Resources and Services, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the instructor of what accommodations are needed IN ADVANCE of when they are needed (for example, if testing accommodations are necessary, please inform the instructor with appropriate documentation at LEAST one week before the test date).

For all emails sent, please include full name, student ID, and the class that you are attending.  Do not send emails to myself and other professors at once, as each professor has different issues to address.  You are allotted three absences for this course; plan accordingly and there is no need to contact me about unexcused absences that are incorporated into this allowance.  For excused absences, you need to bring in a hard copy of appropriate documentation of your absence.

Make‐up exams will be administered only in instances of excused absences (and acceptable documentation) and may not be designed in the same format as the regularly‐scheduled exam. When an excused absence causes a student to miss an exam, it is the student’s responsibility to inform‐‐or to have someone else notify‐‐the instructor within 4 days of the exam. If permitted, these exams must be made up within two weeks of the scheduled date, at a time and place determined by the professor.

Assignments are due at the start of the class on the assigned date. Late work will only be accepted for one week after the due date, and the grade will be penalized. Concerning grade decisions, I will not discuss specific grades on ANY assignment or test the day it is returned.  If you have concerns regarding a grade, email me within one week of receiving the assignment back clearly explaining why you think the assignment was addressed incorrectly.   After the email is received, we will then set up an appointment to discuss the concern.  


20th Century Architecture Schedule

8/28 - What is modern? 

8/30 - Skyscraper Development
Readings: Curtis 1,2; Louis Sullivan, “The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered” Lippincott’s Magazine (March 1896) and “Kindergarten Chats”

9/4 - Problem of Ornament
    Readings: Curtis 3, 4; Conrads - Loos, “Ornament and Crime”

9/6 - Arts and Crafts Movement
Readings: Curtis 1; Ruskin, “The Seven Lamps of Architecture”

9/11 and 9/13 - Frank Lloyd Wright
    Readings: Curtis 7; Wright, “Organic Architecture”
9/18 - Rationalism, Deutscher Werkbund, De Stijl
Readings: Curtis 4, 6, 9; Conrads - Muthesius et al, “Werkbund theses and antitheses”; Conrads - “’De Stijl’: Manifesto I” and “De Stijl: Creative Demands”

9/20 - No Class  (attend visiting artist talk)

9/25 and 9/27 - Le Corbusier
Readings: Curtis 10, 16; Conrads - Le Corbusier, “Towards a New Architecture” and “Five points towards a new architecture”
10/2 - Bauhaus 
Readings: Curtis 11; Conrads - Gropius et al - “New Ideas on Architecture” and “Programme of the Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar” and “Principles of Bauhaus Produciton”
10/4 - Art Deco and International Style (have visited Amon Carter Museum)
Readings: Curtis 15; selection from Johnson and Hitchcock, The International Style

10/9 - The later work of Mies, Wright and Le Corbusier
Readings: Curtis 11, 18, 23, 24 

10/11 - Modern Cities and International Developments 
Readings: Curtis 19, 20, 21; Conrads - “CIAM: La Sarraz Declaration” and “CIAM: Charter of Athens: Tenets”; Conrads - Le Corbusier, “Guiding principles of town planning”; Jacobs, Excerpt from The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961)


10/18 - No Class
10/23 - Collective Housing / European Trends in the 1950s
    Readings: Curtis 24, 25, 26; Paul Goldberger, “And Now, An Architectural Kingdom”

10/25 - Latin America and Japan
Readings: Curtis 21 ,27; Bognar, “Archaeology of a Fragmented Landscape: The New Avant-Garde of Urban Architecture in Japan” The New Japanese Architecture (1991)

10/30 and 11/1 - Louis Kahn (have visited the Kimball by this point) 
Readings: Curtis 28; Vincent Scully, “Louis Kahn and the Ruins of Rome” from Modern Architecture and Other Essays  (2003); Conrads - Louis I. Kahn, “Order is”

11/6 - Charles and Ray Eames / Anti-Architecture
Readings: Curtis 29; Alison & Peter Smithson, “But Today We Collect Ads,” Ark (1956)

11/8 - The Expanded Field
Readings: Rosalind Krauss, “Sculpture in the Expanded Field” October 8 (Spring 1979): 30-44.

11/13 - Intersections between Art and Architecture
Readings: Hal Foster, “Sculpture Remade” in The Art-Architecture Complex (New York: Verso, 2011): 133-165. Selection from Sylvia Lavin’s Kissing Architecture

11/15 - Postmodernism I
Readings: Curtis 30; Venturi and Scott Brown, “Ugly and Ordinary Architecture or the Decorated Shed” and selection from Learning from Las Vegas

11/20 - Postmodernism II (have visited Nasher Sculpture Center)
Readings: Curtis 32; Robert AM Stern, “The Doubles of Post-Modern,” Harvard Architectural Review 1 (Spring 1980): 75-87.

11/22 - Thanksgiving Break

11/27 - Local/Universal (have visited the Modern Fort Worth)
    Readings: Curtis 34; Aldo Rossi, selection from The Architecture of the City (1966)

11/29 - Deconstructionism
Readings: Curtis 35; Peter Eisenman, “The End of the Classical: The End of the Beginning, The End of the End” Perspecta 21 (1984):154-173; Hal Foster, “Neo-Avant-Garde Gestures” in The Art Architecture Complex

12/4 - Deconstructionism II and Beyond
    Readings: Daniel Libeskind, “Proof of Things Invisible” in The Architecture Reader

12/6 - No Class
12/11 - Final Exam - 6:00-8:00