The primary goal of the course is to introduce students, through the case study proposed, to the knowledge of the main topic of the architectural debate from XIX till XXI centuries and of the main themes of the history of contemporary architecture, mainly the post-colonial debate.
At the end of the course the student will be able to analyze and understand the complexity of the architectural design, and should be able to understand the theoretical and disciplinary debate, starting from the topic of the course; finally he should be able to develop a critical hypothesis starting from the disciplinary literacy.
Basic knowledge of the history of architecture of the XIX and XX centuries
Course contents summary
The course aims at providing students with an adequate knowledge regarding the critical debate around the Modernist movement. The focus will be on the analysis of the dissemination of the language and ideology of the Modernist movement from the constitution of CIAM in the Twenties to the crisis of 1956, up to the contemporary reflections on its legacy and the interpretations of the culture of Rationalism.
After an introduction that will provide the overall framework (indicating architectures and projects and key moments of the theoretical debate) the course will continue with the analysis of a peculiar case-study: the Japanese modern architecture from the mid-XIX Century until today.
-Japonisme and Universal Exhibitions during the XIX Century
-Edward Morse and Japan Architecture
- Wright and Japan
- Mallet Stevens and Japan
- Bruno Taut and Japan
- Kenzo Tange and CIAM
- Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius and Japan
- Katsura interpreted by Kenzo Tange and Arata Isozaki
- Metabolism: an international avantgarde
- Italia and Japan during the Sixties: Triennale di Milano 1968 and Japan Architecture exhibition in Florence, 1969
-Japan architecture from '80 and the post-bubble generation: Torio Ito, SANAA, Atelier Bow-Wow and Kengo Kuma.
F. Mazzei, La città giapponese, in Modelli di città. Strutture e funzioni politiche, a cura di P. Rossi, Einaudi Torino 1987, pp. 201-221.
Manar Hammad, Leggere lo spazio, comprendere l'architettura, Roma : Meltemi, 2003 (I chapter)
-West looks at Japan:
R. Barthes, L’impero dei segni, ed.orig.Genève 1970
C. Brandi, Buddha sorride ed. orig. 1973
F. Fuccello, Spazio e architettura in Giappone, Cadmo 1996
-Japan looks at west:
Hisayasu Nakagawa, Introduzione alla cultura giapponese : saggio di antropologia reciproca, Milano : B. Mondadori, 2006
an example of critical debate
-Frank Lloyd Wright and Japanese Architecture: A Study in Inspiration by Kevin Nute, in Journal of Design History, Vol. 7, No. 3 (1994), pp. 169-185
-Frank Lloyd Wright and World Architecture, by Dimitri Tselos
in Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 28, No. 1 (Mar., 1969), pp. 58-72.
- J.K. Mauro Pierconti, Carlo Scarpa e il Giappone, Milano : Electa, 
The course consists on in-class lectures, on surveys and on tutorial activities during which the individual researches that students will have to develop for the final evaluation will be discussed.
Assessment methods and criteria
The final oral exam will consist on the evaluation of the knowledge of the topics discussed in classroom, on the analysis of the critical literature listed in the given basic bibliography and on the discussion of a draft on a topic of research identified during the course.
The students will have to demonstrate autonomy on their research activities, they will have to justify methods of investigation, and finally they will have to describe and analyse the historical background of the chosen topic, taking into account the critical literature.