Contemporary Architecture

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Code Completion Credits Range Language
129SAR Z,ZK 5 2P+2C Czech
Garant předmětu:
Lenka Popelová
Lenka Popelová, Petr Urlich
Nikolay Brankov, Lenka Popelová, Radomíra Sedláková, Petr Urlich, Barbora Větrovská
Department of Architecture

This course deals with contemporary architecture and its theory. The aim of the course is to get an overview of the most famous theoretical texts/sources that shaped the opinion on the form of architecture from the second half of the 20th century until today.


Lectures. At the seminar, the assigned text will be interpreted in a broader context and confronted using the example of a specific building/project. The seminar is focused on theoretical texts from the second half of the 20th century to the present day written in ref. (texts in other languages ​​or other languages ​​by agreement). The assigned tasks also include 3 separate topics - visiting an exhibition, watching a film/documentary, commenting on a selected current case, etc. (it is always updated).

Syllabus of lectures:

1. Theory of contemporary architecture - form of output. How to theorize in the current media space.

2. Theory of contemporary architecture - explicit definition. What we consider a theory of architecture. Theoreticians of architecture in the twentieth century, modernism, the influence of the industrial era, architect vs. engineer, materials, construction and typology as standard. Handbuch (handbook) - theoretical foundation of a practicing architect (examples)

3. The onset of modernism and its paradigm, a comparison of the work of the protagonists of modernism in the second half of the 20th century. Le Corbusier (the starting points of the housing concept - Unité d'habitation, the consequences of the utopia of standard and type - prefabrication, modulor, changes in the creation of LC, etc. themes), Mies van der Rohe, the universal language of modern architecture P. Johnson. Other concepts of late modernism - Louis I. Kahn, F. L. Wright. What is relevant for us in this discussion today?

4. Deviation from modernist paradigms. R. Venturi and the contradictory concept of architecture, the myth of modernism, internationalism. What is relevant for us in this discussion today?

5. Phenomenological interpretation of architecture - broader interdisciplinary interpretation, K. Lynch (city image theory), Ch. N. Schulz and the problem of lived and abstract space, P. Zumthor (current trends) etc. The roots and theoretical contribution of philosophers. Theory, geometric and compositional principles. Architecture as a visual structure and bearer of other meanings. What is relevant for us in this discussion today?

6. Semiotic concept of architecture interpretation - language, speech, communication and conformity. Theoretical roots and contribution of linguists - Saussure, Morris. Charles Jencks and his multi-layered interpretation, at least a double coding of architecture. The postmodern situation and ways of possible division of contemporary architecture, from the abstraction of the avant-garde to the abstraction of deconstruction. From (social, moral.) ethos to banality and kitsch. Formulation inconsistencies. The benefits and criticism of postmodernism. What is relevant for us in this discussion today?

7. Postmodernism and its protagonists. The language of postmodern architecture and urbanism, tectonics and fragment, contextualism (L. and R. Krier, A. Rossi, R. Boffil, O. M. Ungers..). Postmodernism and the principle of historical and modern architecture references (Ch. de Portzamparc, New York Fives - Meier, Hejduk, Graves, Eisenmann). Theory, geometric and compositional principles, examples, discussion.

8. Deconstruction - the peak phase of postmodern thinking in the field of abstraction - theory, geometric and compositional principles. Inspiration, see catalog Deconstructivist architecture (theory and practice - F. Gehry, Coop Himmelblau, Zaha Hadid.). Scenario etc. procedures as a theoretical basis for designing. What is relevant for us in this discussion today?

9. Current research on the architecture of the 60s, 70s and 80s and its specifics - presentation of ongoing NAKI II and NAKI III projects, current events on our scene. Application of knowledge in practice on selected case studies.

10. High tech and architecture on the threshold of the information age - new topics and attempts at own theory by contemporary practicing architects. What is relevant for us in this discussion today?

11. Architecture on the threshold of the information age - new topics and attempts at own theory: Rem Koolhaas, I. de Solà-Moráles and others. Digital and virtual architecture. G. Lynn, Winny Maas/MDRDV - contemporary Dutch scene, BIG ad. What is relevant for us in this discussion today?

12. Current trends - research on industrial heritage as one of the topics of sustainable development and current discussion on architecture. Classification of conversions.

13. The topic of public space and citizen participation in construction, etc. Exam information.

Syllabus of tutorials:

Schedule of seminars (seminars should be arranged chronologically so that they follow on from the lectures, students can also choose their assignments, especially for topics in the second half of the semester, in addition to the core texts):

1. Introductory class – familiarization with seminar topics, assignment of seminar work

2. Work with literature. Individual work.

3. Modernism and its reflection: Le Corbusier - For new architecture + buildings after World War II (1); Moisés Punte - Interviews with Mies van der Rohe + buildings after WWII (2).

4. Modernism and its criticism. Phenomenological interpretation of space: L. I. Kahn - Silence and light (3). Kevin Lynch - Images of the city (4), Utopia of the 60s - M. Ragon - Where will we live tomorrow, Archigram (etc.) etc. (5 - only if the seminar is more occupied)

5. Phenomenological interpretation of space in architecture, participation etc. Herman Hertzberger. Lectures for architecture students (6). Ch. N. Schulz - Genius loci (7). Peter Zumthor - Thinking Architecture (8)

6. Postmodernism and semiotic interpretation of architecture. Robert Venturi - Complexities and contradictions in architecture (9). Ch. Jencks - The Language of Post-Modern Architecture (unpublished text) (10)

7. Principles of postmodern urbanism. Robert Krier - Space of the city (fr). Leon Krier - Architecture. Choice or Fate and (11). Critical regionalism and contextualism. K. Frampton - Regionalism and internationalism, In: Modern architecture. Critical history (chapter 5) and texts from the reading book (12)

8. Deconstructivism. Daniel Lineskind - Basic stones of life (13), introduction to contemporary topics: Rem Koolhaas - selected texts (14), Dekonstruktivische Architektur (catalogue)

9. Computer architecture, the search for meaning and the position of theory in practice. Texts in publications: G. Lynn and W. Maas (15) or I. de Solà-Moráles et al. In: Tichá, J. (ed.): Architecture on the threshold of the information age. Tichá, J. (ed.): Architecture: body or image? etc. texts from this series of your choice (16 texts of three each)

10. Public space, public scene. Jan Gehl - Cities for people or Petr Kratochvíl - Architecture and public space; Col. authors - Public space in a wider context (17); selected publication from the field of industrial - the issue of current conversions (18, by agreement)

11. Current trends in theory and practice - selected literature. E.g. Steven Holl - Parallaxy ad., BIG Juhani Pallasmaa - Thinking hand. Atmospheres or Pavla Melková – Humanistic role of architecture, Experiencing architecture and according to your own choice (19, 20)

12. Current trends in theory - reserve for unpresented papers. Credits.

Study Objective:

The aim of the subject is to get an overview of the most famous theoretical texts/schools of interpretation that form an opinion on the form of architecture from the second half of the 20th century to this day.

Study materials:

Frampton, K.: Moderní architektura. Kritické dějiny. Academia, Praha 2004.

Kruft, H. W.: Dejiny teórie architektúry. Pallas, Bratislava 1993.

Ševčík, O.: Programy a prohlášení architektů XX. století. Vydavatelství ČVUT, Praha 1999.

Urlich, P.: Klasický a abstraktní model v architektuře 20. století. Skripta ČVUT v Praze, Praha 1992.

Urlich, P.: Skripta k předmětu SAR (elektronicky).

Popelová, L.: Přednášky - vybrané (elektronicky).

Podrobný seznam literatury obdrží studenti v rámci předmětu.

Further information:
Viz stránky katedry.
Time-table for winter semester 2023/2024:
Time-table is not available yet
Time-table for summer semester 2023/2024:

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Thákurova 7 (budova FSv)
The course is a part of the following study plans:
Data valid to 2024-05-18
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