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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Architecture - History

Postgraduate Course: Rethinking Architecture, Rethinking Britain: Modernisms and More, 1919-56 (ARHI11006)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course explores architectural production in Britain between the end of the First World War and 1956.
Course description This course explores architectural production in Britain between the end of the First World War and 1956, the year which was identified in 1959 by the historian and critic John Summerson as marking the end of one epoch in British Modernism and the start of a new phase. The course is concerned not only with buildings, but also texts, mass media, exhibitions, discussion groups, and drawings. It considers how architecture was practised and understood by those designing buildings, by those commissioning buildings, and by others writing about of architecture.

For many years, historians argued that the conditions for Modernism were created in Britain at the end of the nineteenth century, but that after this promising start, British architects turned away from innovation during the 1920s, with a more avant-garde approach becoming evident once more only after the arrival of émigrés from continental Europe during the 1930s. However, in recent years this interpretation has been increasingly challenged. Consideration of an 'expanded' field of architectural production and discourse allows us to see how an interest in and engagement with 'modernity' found multiple expressions. In what other ways could architects, patrons and critics (including women) engage with the modern world? How do we set aside the sense that the avant-garde should be privileged and instead begin to understand the full range of architectural Modernisms, traditionalisms (and, perhaps, Otherisms) in an appropriate historical context? To what extent should we see this period as a continuum, or one divided by the Second World War? These are questions which currently exercise historians, and so this course will engage with some of the latest debates. In doing so, we will pay full attention to examples in Scotland and particularly Edinburgh, and will make use of the archival collections available to us locally.

The course is taught through 2-hour lectures and 1-2 hour tutorials, including visits. A full schedule of lectures and tutorials will be available in the course handbook.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements If students do not have the required number of courses for entry, concession for entry may be granted through consultation with the Course Organiser.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an extensive knowledge and understanding of architectural production in Britain, and by British architects in a selection of overseas contexts, between c. 1919 and 1956.
  2. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the value to the historian not only of 'actual monuments' but also a wider form of architectural production including text, designs, and mass media.
  3. Demonstrate a synthetic understanding of the cultural, political and historical context of British architecture during the first half of the twentieth century, and the relationships between architecture and that context.
  4. Demonstrate sophisticated skills in the location, analysis and use of a range of different forms of evidence, and to consider how and why historians have done so in the past.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to marshal material from a range of primary and secondary sources in support of synthetic arguments that challenge and extend our understanding of the architectural history of this period.
Reading List
Indicative bibliography; a full bibliography will be available in the course handbook.

Elizabeth Darling, Re-forming Britain (London, 2007)
John R. Gold, The Experience of Modernism (London, 1996)
John R. Gold, The Practice of Modernism (London, 2007)
Alan Powers, Britain: Modern Architectures in History (London, 2007)
Nicholas Bullock, Building the Post-War World (London, 2002)
Miles Glendinning, Ranald Macinnes, and Aonghus MacKechnie, A History of Scottish Architecture, from the Renaissance to the Present Day (Edinburgh, 1996)
T. Benton, Form and function: a source book for the History of architecture and design 1890-1939 (London, 1975)
P. Johnson (ed.), Twentieth-Century Britain: Economic, Social and Cultural Change (1994)
M. Daunton (ed.), The Cambridge Urban History of Britain, vol. III, 1840-1950 (2000)
R. McKibbin, Classes and Cultures: England 1918-1951 (1998)
L. Abrams and C. Brown, A History of Everyday Life in Twentieth-Century Scotland (2010)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills At the end of this course the student will be able, through tutorial discussions and coursework, demonstrate:
- enhanced abilities in research, critical thinking, weighing up of arguments and evidence
- understanding of complex issues and how to draw valid conclusions from the past
- production of innovative research pieces that adhere to bibliographical convention
- enhanced writing skills
Course organiserDr Alistair Fair
Tel: (0131 6)51 3913
Course secretaryMiss Amanda Fleet
Tel: (0131 6)50 2328
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