Experience the wonders of Modern Architecture and Design in this globe-trotting journey through the 19th and 20th centuries. Beginning in the mid-1800s, we'll study how brilliant artists, architects and designers responded to the technological innovations of the Machine Age, forging bold new aesthetics and influential cultural movements. From the Arts and Crafts movement of Victorian England to the European refinement of Art Nouveau and Bauhaus to the futuristic designs of postwar California, we'll trace the evolving relationship between Man and Machine through art, crafts, household furnishings, architecture and urban planning.
This course will be led by Peter Harris, the former Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science of the University of Toronto. A former senior lecturer in the University's German Department, Dr. Harris has also served as a Special Lecturer in the new Vic One Program at Victoria College. In these different capacities, he has lectured on topics ranging from German Film to Expo '58, from the German Reichstag Building to Rosie the Riveter.
Doors will open one hour before the first class. Registrants will receive supplementary materials in advance of their first class.
Thursdays, May 25–July 6, 10a.m. to noon
(Please note there is no class on June 15)
May 25: Victorian England & the Industrial Revolution
The Crystal Palace Exhibition in 1851 was an awesome display of products of the Industrial Revolution in Victorian England. But many resisted these mass-produced goods as being inherently shoddy, even morally suspect. We will look at the Arts & Crafts movement in England, Toronto and the USA, including William Morris, the Garden City Movement, Roycroft and Gamble House.
June 1: Machines vs. Men
The same tension between machine-made and hand-made goods generated innovative design movements and artists in other countries as well. We'll travel to France and Belgium to examine Art Nouveau; to Scotland, for the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh; and to Austria, for the dazzling designs of the Wiener Werkstätte, a community of artists in Vienna.
June 8: Designs for a New Age
In Germany, designer-architects like Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe strove to incorporate the spirit of the new machine age into their industrial architecture. After World War I the Bauhaus began its legendary career as one of the seminal centres of design. In the process, it absorbed influences from other post-war movements in Holland and the Soviet Union.
June 22: Fellow Travellers
In France, art déco emerged as a contrast to the Bauhaus style, but one of its initial advocates, Le Corbusier, moved towards Bauhaus tendencies. In Berlin, some remarkable modernist social housing estates were built, setting a tone for urban planning around the world. In the USA, art deco morphed into Streamline Moderne during the 1930s.
June 29: The Post-War Era
The postwar affluence of the USA in the 1950s produced a bizarre West Coast coffee house architecture known as 'Googie architecture.' At the same time, the Soviet Bloc hewed to Socialist Realism, such as the Stalinallee in Berlin. This was architecture as ideology, in which striking designs became proxies in the geopolitical battles of the Cold War.
July 6: Now (Almost) Anything Goes
The foremost practitioners of the Bauhaus – Gropius, Breuer, van der Rohe—brought their International concepts to North America when they fled Nazi Germany. Think of the NYC Seagram Building, or Toronto's TD Centre. But some architectural aspects that informed 'Googie' still make their presence known. Mix them together and you get Post-Modern!