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Concrete and Flesh: Modern Architecture and the Body


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 6
  • Assessment: a 3000-word essay (60%) and three-hour take-home examination (40%)

Module description

This module introduces you to the many ways that modern architecture related to the people and bodies (real and imagined) for whom it was designed. The material covered is from the period 1890 to 1965, and deals primarily with the great modernist architects Le Corbusier, Adolf Loos, Alvar Aalto and Mies van der Rohe, but also Eileen Gray, Charles and Ray Eames, Philip Johnson, and Alison and Peter Smithson. It asks how these architects conceived the architecture-body relation - and thus designed buildings - in different ways in response to the industrial, social and political changes of the modern period. It also asks how the issues of gender, race, class and sexuality were encompassed by modernism or came into friction with it. As well as architecture, the material deployed includes theoretical writings, photography, film, dress and furniture.