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The Model House. Proposals for Ideal Living


Admission requirements

See Teaching and Examination Regulations.


The model house is a powerful utopian statement of architects and product-designers, companies, governments, curators and even political parties. Driven by a wide variety of ideologies, numerous private houses were designed, displayed and promoted during exhibitions, in magazines, books and television shows. Very often the model house suggests a way of life and connects the domestic interior with architecture, as well as energy, mobility and communication systems.

The seminar The Model House. Proposals for ideal living will research historical and contemporary designs for model houses, the way they were promoted and sold and finally sometimes built, used and many times abandoned. During the course the model house will be understood as an ideologically driven design for an ideal way of living and considered from cultural, political, technological, social en economical perspectives.

The Model House seminar is part of the preparation for a series of activities (lectures, exhibition) which will be accompanied by an international publication. The course consists of introductory lectures, research visits to the archives and library of The New Institute as well as research and student-presentation meetings. The course invites students to strengthen research and writing competences, develop oral presentations and acquaint themselves with the practice of curating.

Course objectives

Students learn to:

  • research historical (visual, material, textual) sources;

  • analyze historical sources;

  • research, analyze and categorize material for curatorial and editorial purposes;

  • present their results in a written paper on academic level;

  • give oral presentations on academic level in front of an audience.


Please consult the timetable on the MA Arts and Culture website.

Mode of instruction

Lecture and seminar course with analysis and discussion of readings.

Course Load

Total course load is 10 ec x 28 hours = 280 hours:

  • 12 two-hour lectures/seminars: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks = 24 hours;

  • one excursion: 1 × 3 hours = 3 hours;

  • study of literature and works of art, in preparation of the lectures/seminars and excursions: 50 hours;

  • presentation at a seminar, including preparation = 85 hours;

  • written paper of 5000 words (in principle the subject of the paper will coincide with that of the presentation) = 120 hours.

Assessment method

  • 30%: Participation at lectures/seminars, including an individual presentation;

  • 70%: Written paper of 5000 words, excluding footnotes and bibliography.

The only re-sit possibility is a rewrite of the paper (70%).


Blackboard will be used for (general) communication and information.

Reading list

  • Dash. Interiors on Display, Delft/Rotterdam 2014.


Students are required to register for this course via uSis, the course registration system of Leiden University.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Exchange and Study Abroad students: Please see the website Study in Leiden for information on how to apply/register for this course.

Students who are not in the MA Arts and Culture programme, but who would like to take this course as an optional course, please contact Mrs. Martine van Leeuwen MA the co-ordinator of studies.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.




Dhr. Prof. dr. T.R.A. (Timo) de Rijk