cod. 1003444

Academic year 2023/24
1° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Storia dell'architettura (ICAR/18)
"discipline storiche per l'architettura"
Type of training activity
60 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

At the end of the course the student is able to recognize, historically place and critically evaluate the major architectures of the contemporary era, to read their main constructive aspects and to frame them in the context to which they belong.


Knowledge of Western history and culture from the Industrial Revolution to the second half of the twentieth century.

Course unit content

The course aims to provide in-depth historical knowledge of the constitutive themes of contemporary architecture, from the industrial revolution to the second half of the twentieth century. The main authors, buildings, events, but also cultural movements and fundamental episodes of artistic production are presented, in order to encourage the student to develop a personal critical and interpretative ability and a propensity for interdisciplinary and diachronic comparison.

Full programme

Iron and glass architecture in France and England

Urban planning in London, Paris and Barcelona in the nineteenth century

New urban visions: utopian socialism

Arts and Crafts

Art Nouveau in Belgium and France

Vienna - from the Ringstrasse to the Secession

Adolf Loos

The Catalan Renaissance and Antoni Gaudí

Charles R. Mackintosh

America. The Chicago School

Frank Lloyd Wright

Holland. Berlage and the Amsterdam School

Artistic avant-gardes: De Stijl

Germany. German avant-garde art: Expressionism

Peter Behrens and the Deutscher Werkbund. Walter Gropius and the Bauhaus

Artistic avant-gardes: Cubism and Futurism

Tony Garnier and Auguste Perret

Artistic avant-gardes: Russian constructivism

Le Corbusier

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Nordic Classicism: Gunnar Asplund and Alvar Aalto

The Other Modern Movement: Eileen Gray, Mallet-Stevens

Louis I. Kahn

Architecture and power. Marcello Piacentini and Giuseppe Terragni

Classicism and Rationalism in Italy in the 1920s and 1930s: Giovanni Muzio and Gio Ponti

Reconstruction in Italy in the immediate second post-war period

Radical Architectures and Megastructures. Italy on the big scale, from Superstudio to the Corviale

Architecture and engineering: Richard Buckminster Fuller, Jean Prouvé, Pier Luigi Nervi

The end of utopias. Rem Koolhaas, Venturi-Scott Brown, Postmodern

Contemporary architecture


For preparing the exam, students have access to the pdf of the lessons and the bibliography indicated below. It is also advisable to supplement the bibliography using the main monographs dedicated to individual architects and available in the library.
• Leonardo Benevolo, Storia dell’architettura moderna, Laterza, Roma-Bari 2001
• Marco Biraghi, Storia dell’architettura contemporanea I 1750-1945, Piccola Biblioteca Einaudi, Torino 2008
• Marco Biraghi, Storia dell’architettura contemporanea II 1945-2023,Piccola Biblioteca Einaudi, Torino 2023
• William J.R. Curtis, L'architettura moderna dal 1900, Mondadori, Milano 1999 (I ed. Phaidon, London 1982)

Teaching methods

Lectures and seminars.

Assessment methods and criteria

1. Oral exam
The exam consists of an interview relating to all the topics covered in the lessons and the contents of the bibliography. During the exam, the student is asked to be able to draw an explanatory sketch (plan, elevation, section, details ...) of the main architectures presented in class.

2. Carnet of hand drawings (optional)
On the day of the oral exam, each student can bring their own sketchbook of hand drawings of the entire History course.

3. Short article dedicated to one of the external events proposed by the professor

Other information

Students will be provided with the slides projected during the lessons in pdf format.