History of Art



This course explores some of London´s most iconic architecture from the second half of the Twentieth Century until the present. Throughout the course we will visit a series of buildings and examine the historical context and theory produced around them. The task is to produce a critical analysis of each through the study of their formal style, the organisation of spaces and the relation with their urban environment.

We will start with an introductory seminar on the history of London over the aforementioned timeframe that will provide us with an overarching understanding of the context. We will then iniciate our building-based classes by visiting the Aviary at London Zoo by the prominent architect Cedric Price, whose innovative “mega-structures” influenced a whole generation of architects. In this visit, we will discuss the legacy of the Modernist movement and its ideas to foster social innovation and change. We will then go on to examine the Brutalist architecture in London by visiting the National Theatre and the Barbican Estate. We will finish our exploration of Modernist architecture with a visit to the Robin Hood Gardens, a housing estate project by the Smithsons that represents the Modernist rationalist utopia of a society with decent houses for everybody. From there, we will move on to briefly review the Post-Modernism movement and its “high-tech architecture” in the visits to the Lloyd’s Building by Richard Rogers, and Canary Wharf station by Norman Foster. We will continue with a visit to the Millennium Dome, representative of the “Architecture for the New Millennium”. We will end our journey with the Olympic Park.