Architecture (ARCH) 340

History and Theory of Modernism (Revision 1)


Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

ARCH 340: History and Theory of Modernism is intended for students enrolled in the BSc (Architecture) program at the RAIC Centre for Architecture at Athabasca University. For those students interested in pursuing a career as a registered architect, this course also contributes to the RAIC Syllabus Diploma.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Applied Studies

Prerequisite: ARCH 330

Centre: RAIC Centre for Architecture

Faculty: Faculty of Science & Technology

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ARCH 340 History and Theory of Modernism examines the history and theory associated with Modern architecture from the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century. Students will examine gradual erasure of historical symbolism and its replacement with functional approaches intended to address new social issues in architecture. Critical writings are resources to discover different cultural and ideological approaches to Modernism in Europe and North America.

Course Outline

  • The Study Guide for Architecture 340 consists of nine units
  • Unit 1 – Re-interpreting Historical Traditions
  • Unit 2 – The Modern Movement and Anti-Ornament
  • Unit 3 – New Responses to Site
  • Unit 4 – New Technique, Materials and Visions
  • Unit 5 – Organic Design Approaches
  • Unit 6 – The Purpose of Manifestos
  • Unit 7 – The Responsibility for Housing
  • Unit 8 – Industry and Commerce
  • Unit 9 - Modernism Outside of Europe

Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify and describe the main concepts of the Modern movement and its chief proponents.
  2. Explain the design criteria applicable to 20th century architecture in their relation to major events.
  3. Analyze how new planning processes were related to new materials, site, and structural processes.
  4. Discuss the relationship between architecture and the written word.
  5. Explore the relationship between architectural theory and practice.
  6. Describe architectural styles in terms of economic status, social hierarchies, and claims about group identity.
  7. Explain Modernism's spread outside of Europe.


To receive credit for ARCH 340 you must achieve a minimum overall grade of C+ (67%) for the entire course.

The weightings for the course activities are as follows:

Course Activity Weighting
Unit 1 - Assignment 1 10%
Unit 2 - Assignment 2 15%
Unit 3 - Assignment 3 10%
Unit 4 - Assignment 4 10%
Unit 5 - Assignment 5 15%
Unit 6 - No Assignment

Unit 7 - Assignment 6 15%
Unit 8 - Assignment 7 15%
Unit 9 - Assignment 8 10%
Total 100%


To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Mallgrave, Harry F., ed. (2006). Architectural Theory Volume I: An Anthology from Vitruvius to 1870. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Mallgrave, Harry F. and Christina Contandriopoulos, eds. (2008). Architectural Theory Volume II: An Anthology from 1871 to 2005. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Colquhoun, Alan. (2002). Modern Architecture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Frampton, Kenneth. (2007). Modern Architecture: A Critical History, 4th ed. London: Thames and Hudson.

Course Home Page (online): The course home page houses all the online components of your course.

Study Schedule (online): The study schedule on your course home page includes the Course Information, the nine units of the Study Guide, links to the online readings, and links to your assignments.

Course Information (online): The Course Information provides specific information about how to proceed through the course. Read the Course Information carefully before you begin reading the Study Guide.

Study Guide (online): The Study Guide units are embedded in the Study Schedule on the course home page.

Assignments (online): The assignments are on the course home page, along with helpful instructions.

Undergraduate Student Handbook (online): The Undergraduate Student Handbook contains essential information on administrative and academic procedures for students.

Forms: Forms you may need are available through the myAU portal.


You will need convenient access to an Internet browser.

The course is delivered online by Athabasca University for study at home. You will be in regular contact with the instructor, who will provide guidance and feedback on your sketches. You are expected to spend about three hours of online classroom time each week and an additional six hours each week reading, drawing, and completing assignments.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, October 3, 2013.

Updated April 26 2016 by Student & Academic Services