Spring 2019

Shapes of Utopia: Radical French Architects and Urban Planners, from Boullée to Le Corbusier

Listed in: Architectural Studies, as ARCH-210  |  French, as FREN-210


Laure A. Katsaros (Section 01)


(Offered as ARCH 210 and FREN 210) This class will introduce students to visionary French architects and urban planners who attempted to redefine perceptions of private and public space. Taking the visions of Enlightenment architects Louis-Etienne Boullée and Claude-Nicolas Ledoux as a starting point, we will explore the many shapes of utopian design, all the way to Pierre Chareau’s 1932 “Maison de verre” in the heart of Paris and Le Corbusier’s futuristic blueprint “towards a modern architecture.” We will assess these designs in their historical and cultural context while tying them to broader issues of private life, political authority, and gender and class distinctions. One of the main themes that will guide our investigation will be the idea of architecture as an element of social cohesion and political harmony. The last part of the class will be devoted to an analysis of architecture and urban planning in the French Empire during the colonial era, with particular attention to North Africa (especially Algiers). Course materials will be drawn from visual sources (drawings, prints, maps, plans), essays by architects and city planners, critical essays by architectural historians, film, and fiction. This class requires no previous knowledge either of French or of architectural history. 

Spring Semester. Professor Katsaros.


Attention to Research, Attention to Speaking, Attention to Writing, Transnational or World Cultures Taught in English


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019