Course Meeting Times
Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session
Recitations (discussion sections): 1 session / week, 1 hour / session
This subject provides an outline of the history of architecture and urbanism, from the first societies to the present. Students analyze buildings and the built environment as the products of culture and in relation to the special problems of architectural design and the history of architecture, with an urbanist perspective that stresses the cultural and political context from which building arises. The course develops critical tools for the analysis and appreciation of architecture, for its role in the intellectual environment in which we conduct our lives. Instruction and practice in oral and written communication are provided.
This particular instance of the course is titled A Global History of Architecture. It considers both western and eastern traditions, and spans from the prehistoric to the sixteenth century.
There are no prerequisites for this course.
Ching, Francis, Mark Jarzombek, and Vikram Prakash. A Global History of Architecture. 2nd ed. John Wiley & Sons, 2010. ISBN: 9780470402573.
Google Earth is an important resource for this course, and will be used during lectures. The textbook comes with many Google Earth .kmz files, and some assignments will also require its use.
Requirements and Policies
Requirements include attendance at lectures and sections, a midterm exam, a final exam, and 3 papers.
Readings are to be completed before lecture. A short quiz is given at the start of most lecture sessions on the prior lecture and associated reading. These quizzes are not officially graded, but the answers are reviewed in class as part of the discussion.
The teaching assistants for your section and the instructor are available to discuss the material of the class. You can rewrite your papers to improve your grade, in accordance with a schedule that you must work out with the TA. Unexcused lateness in handing in assignments will affect your grade. If you cannot make a class, you should email your TA in advance so as to not damage your attendance record. More than 3 unexplained absences will result in an automatic letter grade reduction.
R=Recitation (discussion section)
|The Gravettians and the hunting tradition of the north
|Paper 1 assigned
|The Holocene and the agro-pastoral emergence
|Discussion: first societies
|Grains, animals and the village world
|Cities, gods and empires
|Discussion: The MIT Chapel
|Pits and granaries: the sacred section
|1500 BCE: After the Cataclysm: Knossos and Karnak
|Discussion: buildings and representations in time
|800 BCE: Iron and the New World Order: Greeks, Etruscans, Assyrians
Paper 1 due
Paper 2 assigned
|500 BCE: Persia and Central Asia
|Discussion: the pyramids
|Fire, water and chariots
|Buddhism: Out of India
|Discussion: architecture history textbooks
|Discussion: Timgad and Roman urbanism
|Early Christian transitions
Paper 2 due
Paper 3 assigned
|Discussion: ritual plans
|Early Islam: 800 CE
|From Armenia to Borobudur
|Early Hindu architecture
|Discussion: the profession of the architect in classical antiquity
|Southeast Asia and Angkor Wat
|Gothic architecture: Cistercians & cathedrals
|Discussion: the plan of St. Gall
|Late medieval Europe: Renaissance in perspective
History and time
UNESCO & cultural nationalism
|Paper 3 due