AMS 390 • 20th-Century American Design and Architecture
2:00 PM-5:00 PM
This graduate research seminar provides a broad knowledge of issues in the history of American design and architecture from about 1880 to the present. Design is understood to encompass all elements of the artificial or built environment, ranging from the smallest artifacts and products, to buildings (whether elite or vernacular), to urban and suburban landscapes. The major focus is on design considered in the contexts of social and cultural history. Among topics to be considered are methods of cultural analysis of material artifacts; the rise, triumph, and fall of functionalism and "International Style" modernism; the creation of uniquely American varieties of commercial design; the interactions of technology, economics, and design; and the movement from material to immaterial in the information age. Among problems to be considered are tensions between tradition and novelty, between expressive and functional theories of design, between European and American design approaches, and between elite ideologies and popular desires.
Required readings will be selected from among the following books and will also include an array of articles: Jeffrey Meikle, Design in the USA Nicholson Baker, The Mezzanine Kenneth Ames, Death in the Dining Room Daniel Bluestone, Constructing Chicago Le Corbusier, Towards a New Architecture Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson, The International Style Rem Koolhaas, Delirious New York Regina Blaszczyk, Imagining Consumers Pat Kirkham, Charles and Ray Eames Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, Learning from Las Vegas Mike Davis, City of Quartz Malcolm McCullough, Abstracting Craft