This seminar examines European theories of architecture from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century. It involves reading original texts and studying the contexts in which these texts were produced. It will also consider some of the building which influenced or were influenced by these theories. There are therefore two components to the analysis of the texts: theory and context.
What were the questions architects and theorists asked of architecture in the early modern era? What was important, and why? What assumptions were made about architecture and architects, and how did these assumptions color the types of questions these writers asked and the theories they devised?
Course Description: A seminar on architectural theory from Alberti to Scott, reviewing primary texts and subsequent criticisms.
This seminar explores theories of architecture since the beginning of the Renaissance. It involves both reading original texts (where available in translation) and study of the contexts in which the theories were produced. We will also consider some of the buildings which influenced or were influenced by the theories. There are therefore two components to the analysis of the texts: theory and context.
Seminal writings on architecture in western Europe, these texts certainly do not exhaust the thoughtful theoretical writings of many others, and there are essays from other cultures and in the United States during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, but they will not be considered in this course. What were the questions architects and theorists asked of architecture in the early modern era? What was important, and why? What were the assumptions they made about architecture, and about architects, and how did this color the types of questions they asked and the theories they devised?
Course Objectives: In the most general terms, this course is an introduction to architectural theory from the 15th through the 19th centuries. Students should gain a working knowledge of developments in architectural theory in Western Europe during this period.
The course has other objectives as well. Students will work on developing the ability to write a critical synthesis of a specific set of architectural theories, and be especially concerned that students learn to make cogent oral presentations.