Architectural History I


ARCH 404




2017W Term 1: Empire’s Architecture: The Conjoined Projects of Industrialization and Colonialism

Sara Stevens

Pavilion of Nicaragua and base of the Eiffel Tower, Paris Exposition, 1889. Source: U.S. Library of Congress and Wikimedia commons.

By studying the history of colonialism and industrialization together, this course argues that architecture was a medium through which ideas about politics, economics, technology, and culture were exchanged. In tracing architectural interactions across continents, the political economy of globalization appears in a much longer history, amidst a diverse set of actors, including both colonizers and colonized. With a focus primarily on the nineteenth century, students will learn to read buildings and interpret their cultural meaning and to interrogate the changing relationship between architecture and society.

2017W Term 2: Architecture + Speculation: Publicity, Publics and Power

Sherry McKay

Place Vendome. Source: Sequei Tronchelle, Wikimedia Commons

This course focuses on the ways speculation in finance, politics, philosophy and science influenced architecture in the 18th century. These influences will be traced in new housing models, urban developments, architectural journals, landscape concerns and notions of architectural language and ornament. 

Architectural History I examines infrastructure, landscape, technology, representation, and politics as components of architectural design from the Renaissance to 1900. While primarily focusing on Western architecture, the course also includes topics in other architectural traditions.

Throughout the course, you will become conversant in the language and discourse of architecture as you study canonical and common buildings. Placing design within a system of economic and cultural exchanges, you will learn to read buildings, interpret their cultural meaning, and examine the changing relationship between architecture and society, and, the impact of the industrial revolution, international trade, and cultural contact on defining architectural design.