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The Evolution of Architectural Styles: Ancient Temples to Modern Skyscrapers
2-Session Course

Friday, August 18, 2017 – 6:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. and Saturday, August 19, 2017 – 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Code: 1H0255

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Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain, designed by Frank Gehry, 1997

Explore the traditions, styles, and masterpieces of European and American architecture during this in-depth 2-day program led by art historian Karin Alexis.

Through this chronological survey of Western architecture, participants examine building-types from classical temples and Gothic cathedrals to imperial palaces, early skyscrapers, and modern experiments. Learn also about the inspired architects who created the structures that continue to dazzle us today.

FRI., AUG. 18

6:15–7:15 p.m.  Greece and Rome: Classicism and Foundations of Western Architecture

Defining the classical temple; the classical orders, rules, and principles of Greek and Roman architecture (Parthenon, Pantheon)

7:15–8:15 p.m.  Architecture of the Middle Ages: The Sacred, the Spiritual, the Soaring

Styles and periods of eastern and western Christendom. Byzantine to Romanesque traditions; great Gothic cathedrals to humble churches; ecclesiastical traditions from Italy, France, England, the German-speaking world, Scandinavia, and the Baltic (Hagia Sophia, Florence Cathedral, Notre Dame)

SAT., AUG. 19

9:30–10:30 a.m.  The Elegance of the Renaissance: The Rebirth of Classicism   

The visually rich period of the 15th and 16th centuries emphasized classicism, including the Florentine palaces (Brunelleschi, Palladio, chateaux of the Loire Valley, France, England’s English Renaissance); (Medici Palace, Florence; Palladio's Villa Rotunda; Chambord, Loire; Kalmar Castle, Sweden)

10:45 a.m.–12 noon  The Grandeur of the Baroque: The Splendor of Rome to the Imperial Visions of Vienna

The monumental visions of the 17th and 18th centuries: Rome and the foundations of the Baroque, Versailles and the Court of Louis XIV, the imperial architecture of Vienna and Prague; English Country estates (St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome; Versailles, France; Schonbrunn, Vienna; Drottningholm, Stockholm)

12 noon–1 p.m.  Lunch (gourmet boxed lunch is provided)

1–2:15 p.m.  Revivalism, Reform, and Revolution: Beaux-Arts Classicism to Art Nouveau

The dynamic contrasts and eclectic styles of the 19th- and turn-of-the 20th centuries, from historicism to experimentation and new building forms; industrialization and urbanism, the romantic movement, American innovations; medieval revivalism, Gothic revival, Beaux-Arts classicism, the Chicago School and the first skyscrapers, art nouveau in its many forms, arts and crafts movement (House of Parliament, London; U.S. Capitol; Paris Opera; Guaranty Building, Buffalo, New York).

2:30–4 p.m.  Visions for the Modern Age: From Art Deco to the Cutting Edge  

The 20th century was a multi-faceted age that moved through modern classicism, art deco, Bauhaus, and the machine aesthetic, radical modernism, international style, brutalism, post-modernism, and the new eclecticism. Pivotal works by seminal architects including as Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, and Alvar Aalto (Chrysler Building, New York; Bauhaus, Dessau, Germany; Guggenheim, New York).

2 sessions

World Art History Certificate core course: Earn 1 credit


S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)