ARTH 288 601
Instructor: George H. Marcus
Tuesdays 4:30 to 7:15 Meyerson Hall B3
Office hours Jaffe 306 Tuesdays 2:30 to 4:00
Telephone 215 573 9702 (Tuesdays)


Course Requirements

1 Student are responsible for completing the required readings in advance of class, at which readings will be discussed. The New York Times will also be used as a source for information about recent developments in design, and classes will begin with a discussion of relevant Times articles from the past week. Attendance, presentations on the readings (which will be individually assigned), and class participation contribute toward the final grade (15%).

2 Students are responsible for the ten digitized images from each lecture that are posted on the course study web site: images.htm

3 There will be a 1 1/4 hour mid-term exam consisting of identifications of and comments on objects on the web site, identification of terms, and essays (35%).

4 A research paper investigating an object designed in the last 10 years (minimum of 3000 words) is a major course component (50%). The assignment is in two parts: a proposal (ungraded) for approval of the objects chosen and for advice on methodology and sources due on October 9, and a final text due on December 4. Goals for the paper will be discussed in class and a detailed sheet of instructions will be supplied.



The text and supplemental required readings are listed in abbreviated form under the class date to which they relate, and are fully cited at the end of the Syllabus. The text is available at the Campus Book Store and the reading packet may be purchased at Campus Copy Center, 3907 Walnut Street. Both the text and course pack are on reserve at Fisher Fine Arts Library.

September 11 Introduction: Twentieth-Century Design

September 18 Lecture 1: Origins of Modern Design Principles

Marcus, pp. 33-46; Ruskin, pp. 160-66; Morris, pp. 51-80.

September 25 Lecture 2: Renewal of Design

Hiesinger and Marcus, chapter 1; Wright, pp. 59-69; van de Velde, pp. 17-19.


October 2 Lecture 3: Movements for Change

Hiesinger and Marcus, chapter 2; Marinetti, pp. 19-24; Documents, pp. 5-11.

October 6 / 7 Visit to Philadelphia Museum of Art. Meet in West Entrance at 11:00 am.

October 9 Lecture 4: Styles of Modernism

research paper proposal due

Hiesinger and Marcus, chapter 3; Read, pp. 93-97; Le Corbusier, pp. 69-79; Gropius, Program, p. 31; Gropius, Principles, pp. 109-10.

October 16 Lecture 5: The Machine Age

Hiesinger and Marcus, chapter 4; Mumford, pp. 344-56;

Van Doren, pp. 137-52.

October 23 Lecture 6: Becoming Modern

Hiesinger and Marcus, chapter 5; Barthes, pp. 97-99.

October 30 Lecture 7: Good Design / "Bad" Design

Hiesinger and Marcus, chapter 6; Kaufmann, pp. 7-9; Loewy, pp. 207-29; Banham, pp. 90-93.

November 6 midterm exam

Lecture 8: Alternatives for Design

Hiesinger and Marcus, chapter 7.

November 13 Lecture 9: Responsible Design

Hiesinger and Marcus, chapter 8; Papanek, 1977, pp. 118-25; Toffler, pp. 195-209; Dreyfuss, pp. 4-6, G1, G2.

November 20 Lecture 10: Post Modernism and Pluralism

Hiesinger and Marcus, chapter 9; Venturi, pp. 22-23; Radice, pp. 141-44, 173-74.

November 27 Lecture 11: Design Today

Vanderheiden; Papanek, 1995, pp. 29-48; Holt, pp. 21-24.

December 4 Presentation and Discussion of Research Topics

research paper due


Reading List


Kathryn B. Hiesinger and George H. Marcus. Landmarks of Twentieth-Century Design: An Illustrated Handbook. New York: Abbeville Press, 1993.

supplemental readings

(in course pack)

George H. Marcus. Functionalist Design: An Ongoing History, pp. 33-46. Munich and New York: Prestel, 1995.

John Ruskin. Sections XI-XVII of "The Nature of Gothic." In The Stones of Venice, vol. 2, pp. 160-66. London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1853.

William Morris. "The Beauty of Life." 1880. In The Collected Works of William Morris, vol. 22, pp. 51-80. London: Longmans Green and Co., 1914.

Frank Lloyd Wright. "The Art and Craft of the Machine." 1901. In Collected Writings, edited by Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, pp. 59-69. New York: Rizzoli, 1992.

Henry van de Velde. "A Chapter on the Design and Construction of Modern Furniture." 1897. Translated in Form and Function: A Source Book for the History of Architecture and Design 1890-1939, edited by Tim and Charlotte Benton. pp. 17-19. London: Crosby Lockwood Staples in association with the Open University Press, 1975.

F. T. Marinetti. "The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism." 1909. Translated by R. W. Flint. In Futurist Manifestos, edited by Umbro Apollonio, pp. 19-24. New York: The Viking Press, 1973.

Proposals and discussions at the Congress of the German Werkbund. 1914. Translated in Documents: A Collection of Source Material on the Modern Movement, edited by Charlotte Benton, pp. 5-11. Milton Keynes, England: The Open University Press, 1975.

Helen Appleton Read. "The Exposition in Paris." International Studio, 82 (November 1925), pp. 93-97.

Le Corbusier. "Type-Needs, Type-Furniture." 1925. Translated by James I. Dunnett. In The Decorative Art of Today, pp. 69-79. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1987.

Walter Gropius. "Program of the Staatliche Bauhaus in Weimar." 1919. Translated by Wolfgang Jabs and Basil Gilbert. In Hans M. Wingler, The Bauhaus: Weimar Dessau Berlin Chicago, p. 31. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1969.

Walter Gropius. "Bauhaus Dessau--Principles of Bauhaus Production." 1926. Translated by Wolfgang Jabs and Basil Gilbert. In Hans M. Wingler, The Bauhaus: Weimar Dessau Berlin Chicago, pp. 109-10. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1969.

Lewis Mumford. "The Growth of Functionalism." In Technics and Civilization, pp. 344-56. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1934.

Harold van Doren. "Streamlining." In Industrial Design: A Practical Guide, pp. 137-52. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1940.

Roland Barthes, "Plastic." In Mythologies. 1957. Translated by Annette Lavers. New York: Hill and Wang, 1972, pp. 97-99.

Edgar Kaufmann, Jr. What Is Modern Design?, pp. 7-9. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1950.

Raymond Loewy. "The Chrome and You." In Never Leave Well Enough Alone, pp. 207-29. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1951.

Reyner Banham. "A Throw-Away Aesthetic." 1955/1960. In Design by Choice, edited by Penny Sparke, pp. 90-93. New York: Rizzoli, 1981.

Victor Papanek. "Twelve Methodologies for Design--Because People Count." In ICSID [International Council of Societies of Industrial Design], Design for Need: The Social Contribution of Design, pp. 118-25. Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1977.

Alvin Toffler. "Beyond Mass Production." In The Third Wave, pp. 195-209. New York: William Morrow, 1980.

Henry Dreyfuss. General Information and Charts. In The Measure of Man: Human Factors in Design, pp. 4-6, G1, G2. 2d ed., rev. and enl. New York: Whitney Library of Design, 1967.

Robert Venturi. "Nonstraightforward Architecture: A Gentle Manifesto." In Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, pp. 22-23. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1966.

Barbara Radice. "The Memphis Idea" and "The Design." In Memphis: Research, Experiences, Results, Failures and Successes of New Design, pp. 141-44 and 173-74. New York: Rizzoli, 1984.

Gregg C. Vanderheiden. "Thirty-Something (Million): Should They Be Exceptions?" <>. From The Human Factors, Inc. Journal, 32 (1990), pp. 383-96.

Victor Papanek. "Designing for a Safer Future." In The Green Imperative: Natural Design for the Real World, pp. 29-48. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1995.

Steven Skov Holt. "Beauty and the Blob: Product Culture Now." In Donald Albrecht et al. Design Culture Now: National Design Triennial, pp. 21-24. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2000.


recommended readings (Fisher Fine Arts reserve)

Donald Albrecht et al. Design Culture Now: National Design Triennial. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2000.

Victor Papanek. Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change. New York: Pantheon Books, 1972.

Nikolaus Pevsner. Pioneers of Modern Design: From William Morris to Walter Gropius. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin, 1975.

David Redhead. Products of Our Time. Basel: Birkhäuser, 2000.