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Topics: Ancient Rome, Gothic architecture, Rome Pages: 29 (5154 words) Published: December 3, 2013
University of Houston
Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture

ARCH 2350 AND 6340
Cultures of the World from Prehistory through 1750

Fall, 2013: Lectures on Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:00-10:50; Seminar/Discussion (“lab”)
sections on Thursdays or Fridays

Instructor: Nora Laos
Office Hours: By appointment, Room College of Architecture

Teaching Assistants: Brandon Berry
Tiger Lyon
Andrew O’Toole

This course is an investigation of the various eastern and western architectural traditions from prehistoric origins, through Egypt, India, China and Japan to ancient Greece and Rome, concluding with the significant monuments of Islamic and Christian cultures, and the Renaissance and Baroque periods. We will primarily examine the architectural character of individual buildings with an effort to place them in their cultural and urban contexts, but we will also analyze general urban planning principles of different civilizations as well as specific architectural and sculptural details.

Architecture is a multi-faceted art and a science, and thus we will endeavor to study the aesthetic quality of buildings, their functional objectives as well as their structural systems, materials and methods of construction. Moreover, since architecture reflects the society and civilization within which it was produced, we must always consider the cultural and intellectual context and chronological time frame of a monument, in order to fully appreciate its significance in the history of the building tradition.

Course Objectives and Expected Learning Outcomes:

—To understand how and why history is relevant to the architect. What can it teach us?

—To understand how architects have borrowed from the past and why they have done so, and to assess how this brings meaning to architectural production.

—To understand the relationship between form and function and between form and meaning.

—To understand how the psychology of space is addressed: why we are moved by certain spaces, volumes or forms, but not by others.

—To learn how to analyze architecture and how to critically write about the subject.


Ching, Francis D.K., M.J. Jarzombek and V. Prakash, A Global History of Architecture, 2nd ed.,
New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2011.
Moffett, Marian, Michael Fazio and Lawrence Wodehouse, Buildings Across Time, an Introduction
to World Architecture, London: Laurence King Publishing, 2004. Trachtenberg, Marvin and Isabelle Hyman, Architecture from Prehistory to Postmodernism: The
Western Tradition, 2nd ed., New York and Englewood Cliffs, 2002. Ingersoll, Richard and Spiro Kostof, World Architecture: A Cross-Cultural History, New York
and Oxford, 2012.
Nuttgens, Patrick, The Story of Architecture, 2nd ed., London: Phaidon Press, 1997. Sutton, Ian, Western Architecture: From Ancient Greece to the Present, London: Thames and
Hudson, 1999.

Relevant readings from these texts are indicated in the detailed course syllabus.

A glossary of architectural terminology is available at the end of Ingersoll’s book (pp. 957-964, Ching’s book (pp. 799-807), Moffett’s book (pp. 568-571), and Trachtenberg’s book (pp. 583-589). Bibliographies are organized chronologically at the end of Ching (pp.809-818), Moffett (pp. 572-575), Trachtenberg (pp. 591-601), and at the end of each section of Ingersoll’s book.

EXAMS: There will be three hour-exams on the following dates:

First Hour-Exam:Monday, September 30, 10:00 am
Second Hour-Exam:Monday, November 4, 10:00 am
Third Hour-Exam:Monday, December 16, 11:00 am


There will be two in-class writing assignments during the following Thursday/Friday discussion sections:
October 24/25
November 21/22

These writing assignments will be linked to specific assigned readings and are intended to address reading comprehension skills. The readings will be available at least one...
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