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ARTH 374 Architecture and Urbanism in Montreal: Montreal Vernacular Architecture

  • Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:45 am-2:15 pm
  • H 920
  • Instructor: Dr. Cynthia Hammond

In his 1964 book, Architecture Without Architects, Bernard Rudofsky asserted that "architectural history as we know it ... amounts to little more than a who's who of architects who commemorated power, an anthology of buildings by and for the privileged." Rudofsky introduced the term "vernacular architecture" to describe what he called "non-pedigreed architecture" - the houses and settlements of people who have no special claim to power or privilege. Montreal is rich in vernacular architecture, and this is one of the key reasons why Montreal's is distinct from all other North American cities. This course will explore the origin and form of triplexes and duplexes, row housing, and "shoebox" houses in relation to the city's key morphological features (the river, the mountain, and the canal), and Montreal's rise as the centre of North American industrial production in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. We will also spend time with the urban forms and typologies that emerged alongside vernacular housing: Montreal's vast system of "ruelles" or alleyways, farmers' markets, public baths, public parks, and fire stations. If you've ever been curious as to why Montreal, as a city, looks the way it does, this course is for you.

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