Paris: The Design of a Metropolis

Enrollment in this course is closed. It is offered as part of the Paris study abroad program.

The class will offer an in-depth reading of Parisian architectural and urban evolution, from the Middle Ages to the present, with a special emphasis on nineteenth and twentieth centuries. With monuments as diverse as Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, Le Corbusier\’s villas or Jean Nouvel\’s Institut du Monde Arabe, with famous urban sequences like the Marais historical district, the Grands Boulevards or the Champs Elysees, Paris offers a mind-boggling array of architectural and urban experiences. The course will introduce the students to some of the lessons to be drawn from them.

From Walter Benjamin\’s take on the \”capital of the nineteenth century\” to Le Corbusier\’s Plan Voisin, the future of the city and its metropolitan region has fostered major theoretical contributions that the course will also discuss. The debate is more alive than ever with the challenges raised by suburban social tensions and the need to rethink the role of Paris in a global world.

To achieve these objectives, the course will alternate lecture and on – site visits. Students will also have the opportunity to meet with some of the decision-makers and designers in charge of the city, its architecture, and its region.