This course comprises two components: a series of lectures which explore key architectural traditions in the European Continent from the ancient Greeks to nineteenth-century Europe, and a set of guided seminars through which close readings of texts dealing with contemporary themes related to the ones covered in the lectures, are made. For this module, the relational aspect of Western architecture is emphasised, so that students are able to trace the impact and lineage of this history to contemporary movements and ideas.
The lectures are structured thematically so that relationships across time, space and cultures may be drawn by students.
The five themes covered in the lecture series look at architecture in relation to, the body, spectacle, nature, technology and utopia. The lectures aim to understand intellectual, political, socio-cultural and aesthetic conditions of historical periods, and how differences in these conditions influenced architectural production. Although a wide range of material is covered for this survey course, the lectures will focus on the development of key architectural ideas through a detailed study of specific buildings and architects connected to particular historical milieu, for example, the Renaissance, the Baroque and the Enlightenment.
The seminars develop a relational focus to the lecture topics, and at the same time, introduce students to contemporary positions in Western architectural discourse.
Readings are pre-assigned to students based on five key themes related to the lectures: architecture and the body, architecture and spectacle, architecture and nature, architecture and technology, and architecture and utopia. The seminars expose students to the provisional and discursive nature of architectural knowledge. It emphasises the situated nature of historical knowledge and encourages students to independently engage questions, evidence and to understand the limits of historical explanation.
The overall ambition is for students to gain a broad overview of Western architectural historiography, but more importantly, to be able to make lateral connections between this tradition as it relates to their own contemporary contexts.