How does the built environment shape social meaning and reflect historical change? In this introductory-level course, we will survey the human designed environment across the globe, from 1400 to the present day. Through in-depth analysis of buildings, cities, landscapes, and interiors, we will observe how spatial environments are created and invested with meaning. From Tenochtitlan, riverine capital of the Aztec empire, to the Forbidden City in Beijing and the Palazzo Medici in Florence, from the Palace of Rudolf Manga Bell in Douala to the Colonial Office of the Bank of London, and from Lina Bo Bardi’s Glass House in São Paulo to David Adjaye’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., this course will introduce students to the changing technologies, materials, uses, and aesthetics that have helped define architecture’s modernity across time and geographies. Through detailed visual analysis and the study of primary source documents, students will become familiar with architectural terminology and historical techniques of architectural visualization. Through written exercises and guided slow looking, students will learn how to critically analyze and historically interpret the built environment at various scales.
St. Paul's Cathedral
Sir Christopher Wren