Course details

Architecture of the 20th century

ACHE20 FaVU ACHE20 Acad. year 2023/2024 Winter semester 3 credits

The series of lectures introduces students to the historiography of the 20th century architecture, explaining the basic theoretical and methodological issues. The lectures start with the basic modernist architectural concepts from the 18th to the 19th centuries, without which one cannot understand the period in question. It takes into account the political-economic and cultural character of the 19th century, which is defined by industrialization, rapid urbanization and the general transformation of social organization and its needs. An important development trend is also the constitution of the original architectural styles legitimizing the autonomy of the emerging nation states. The transformation of the ideological climate, along with the economic and technological development after World War One, influenced the transformation of demands concerning the form and function of architecture, urban design and regional planning. The course is focused on introducing the avant-garde movements in their specific cultural, national and copyright modifications. Typical world trends are compared with the Czech local development, while taking their specifications into consideration. The lecture is also focused on centralization and etatization manifestations of totalitarian regimes in the war and the postwar periods. Special attention is also paid to the application of the socialist-realist canon in the Czech architecture practiced by the former leaders of the avant-garde from the period between the World Wars. The lectures also deal with the institutional history of the field.


Language of instruction




Time span

  • 26 hrs lectures



Learning objectives

The lecture series provides a basic overview of the key theoretical concepts, the basic development trends and creative approaches in the field of architecture and urbanism in the first half of the 20th century. A special attention is paid to the architectural avant-garde, traditionalism and socialist realism. The lectures are given within the context of the political and economic histories with regard to the key protagonists of the European and American urban planning who aimed at interconnecting the above mentioned disciplines with the economic planning which began to manifest themselves as a result of the Great Depression in the early 1930s. The course will also focus on ways of integrating art into architecture and on the transformation of its functions.
Students will be able to define the basic concepts related to architecture, urbanism and regional planning in the first half of the 20th century within a wider socio-cultural and political context. Also, they will be able to identify the basic style trends and key projects of architecture and urbanism of the period in question and to put in relations the key theoretical concepts from art and the events in the field of architecture.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

The knowledge of the architectural history at the secondary school level complemented with knowledge gained within the studies of art history and architecture at the bachelor’s level.

Syllabus of lectures

1. The development of the architectural thought; the 20th century architecture as a subject of art history
2. The origin of modern architecture in the historic context (the revolutionary architecture, Arts and Crafts, the theory of Garden City, the Chicago School)
3. The birth of metropolis. Otto Wagner and his school
4. Modern architecture and urbanism of the 19th century
5. Expressionism in European architecture and its Czech derivation
6. 'National Style ": searching cultural identity of the newly founded Czechoslovakia
7. The utopian architectural concepts of the avant-garde between the World Wars
8. Bauhaus. The centers of the European avant-garde and their influence on the Czech architecture
9. American architecture and its reflection in the Czech architecture
10. Russian constructivism and its impact on the Czech architecture
11. Purism and functionalism
12. Italian and German architecture in the service of totalitarian regimes
13. Socialist realism and Czech architecture; historicism in the architecture of the 20th century

Progress assessment

The credit is awarded for passing a written test (30 questions, multiple choice - one correct and four wrong answers); the time limit for completion of the test: 30 minutes; for each correct answer there is one point, for the incorrect one 0 points. For the successful completion of the course it is necessary to achieve at least 16 points.
Lecures are optional.


Tue lecture lectures U2/326 16:0017:50999 1BIA 1BIB 2BIA 2BIB 3BIT xx Žáčková

Course inclusion in study plans

  • Programme BIT, 1st year of study, Elective
  • Programme BIT (in English), 1st year of study, Elective
  • Programme IT-BC-3, field BIT, 1st year of study, Elective
Back to top