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Modern and Contemporary Architecture and Design


Admission requirements

Same as admission requirements to the BA Arts, Media and Society


In this course AMS students will combine the lectures in Block IV of the course History of Design and Domestic Culture and the course Western Visual Arts II, which concerns the history of architecture and urban planning.

In the course on design and domestic culture students follow the last series of lectures which are dedicated to the practice of modern design until the advent of contemporary design. Although the geographical focus is Europe this survey course will also pay attention to the enduring and significant influence of non-Western cultures on artistic creation in Europe. The nature of the decorative arts, and their position within artistic production in general, is explored through the study of objects, materials and techniques, as well as the roles of designers, craftsmen and patrons in their historical context. In addition, the practical function and social and cultural meaning of objects is investigated.

In the course on Western Visual Arts students will follow the lectures on architecture and urban planning. To provide the AMS student with enough context to understand the history of modern architecture and the questions that shape contemporary practice, this course will move chronologically through a sequence of momentous events, beginning with the first printing of a book on architecture: Leon Battista Alberti’s De re aedificatoria, printed in Florence in 1485. By structuring the lecture content around a series of events, rather than individual masters, or stylistic schools, students will learn to see architecture as a product of composite effort and as a site of contention and compromise. The selected events bring multiple protagonists together in dialogue with broader social, economic and cultural forces, but our attention will remain firmly trained on the buildings shaped by these contexts. How did new architectural proposals emerge in response to the Great Exhibition (1851), or the opening of Vienna’s fortifications to civil use (1857), to the first patent obtained for iron-reinforced concrete (1867), or a Chicago newspaper’s competition to design “the most beautiful office building in the world” (1922)? Though the syllabus is structured chronologically, our discussions will develop around a group of recurrent themes: Space, the City, New Materials, Circulating Objects, War, Media, Heritage and Sustainability.

Course objectives

  • Students acquire general knowledge of the principal developments in the history of the decorative arts and design from the 19th tillto the 21st century and of the principal developments in the history of architecture and urban planning from the 15th tillto the 21st century.

  • Students acquire knowledge of basic techniques used in metalworking, textiles, woodworking and ceramics as well as of the basic techniques and materials in architecture.

  • Students acquire knowledge of the cycle of production and consumption in the decorative arts and of design and of building practices in architecture.

  • Students acquire knowledge of the different styles in the decorative arts and architecture.

  • Students learn to understand the historical and cultural significance of works of the decorative arts and design as well as the historical and cultural significance of buildings, types of buildings and architectural styles.

  • Students are introduced to a number of important theoretical debates concerning the decorative arts and design and architecture and urban planning.

  • Students acquire experience in using visual and written sources for the study of the decorative arts and architecture.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

Assessment method


  • Final exam History of Design and Domestic Culture (50%): written exam on the content of lectures 8-14 (mix of closed questions).

  • Final exam history of architecture (50%): written exam on the content of lectures 7-12 (mix of closed questions).


The weighted average of the (constituent) examinations must be at least 6.0 (= a pass). For both exams a mark below 6.0 is not allowed.


A resit/ rewrite can be done for constituent examinations which are failed. As far as applicable all resits/ rewrites take place at the same time, after the final (constituent) examination.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Will be announced through Brightspace.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte.
Registration Contractonderwijs.


Dr. A.R. Dencher Dr. S.M. Lauritano