Modern Architecture and its canons of belief towards building design first emerged in mid-19th century and diversified in the 20th century. One of the most significant characteristics of Modern Architecture lies in its essence - the conscious engagement with modernity and its compassing of unprecedented transformation in technology, culture and demography.
Resisting against the uncritical adoption of classical norms, architects in Europe and America attempted to establish alternative values by designing through their own circumstantial experiences. The various architectural movements and trends of thought include Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, Deutsche Werkbund, Esprit Nouveau, Chicago Frame, Prairie House, Expressionism, Italian Futurism, Russian Constructivism, De Stiji, Neue Sacharichkeit, CIAM, Team X and so forth. Each was unique, but interesting interrelations could be traced among them.
The Modern Architecture in Asia, due to its urbanization and modernization, emerged mainly in the early 20th century. It rapidly developed based on the different needs imposed by various socio-economic and political contexts. Japan, as a late comer to the modernization, started adopting European Neo-Classical style in the beginning of century, while consciously pursued its own modern style in mid-war and post-war periods. South East Asia, during the transition from colonial to post-colonial period, adopted and developed unique modern styles under different political era.
Singapore, where we live, also went through architectural modernization: introduction of English Palladian style, Black and White in the colonial period, reinforced concrete industrial / office buildings, mass housings developed under SIT and HDB after independence and more recent condominiums and commercial malls demonstrate Singapore’s rapid economic growth and political agenda. Furthermore, the major transformation of the land through a series of reclamation, construction of MRT lines and expressways prepares for the further increase of population to sustain this urban economy.
This course offers students an introduction to these diverse phenomena so called modernization, and how modern architecture were invented and developed within the circumstances. The 12 lectures will focus on these architectural movements and trends of thought - their germination, emergence, beliefs, and most importantly, how they relate to one another. By using appropriate visual materials and texts, the lectures will explain individual architects who were proponents of the respective movements, and how these architects translate their ideas into architectural form and space.
The course aims to develop the students' ability to read, interpret, write and discuss about the relationship between historical context and the architects' conception of their design thinking. There is no prerequisite for this course as it is categorized as a General Module. Lectures and seminars are delivered with a succinct clarity so that students from any faculty can enjoy them.