Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain; designed by Frank Gehry, 1997
Architecture is the inescapable art form. It surrounds us all, every day of our lives, shaping and conditioning our experience of the world. Join George Mason University associate professor Lisa Passaglia Bauman and examine how architecture has developed and interacted with culture, religion, and history over the centuries.
This overview of the Western architectural tradition offers a way to “read” the architecture of the world in a critically informed way. As buildings are among the chief artifacts that any society leaves behind, the history of architecture is, at its essence, a history of human civilization.
May 7 Classical Traditions in Greece and Rome
With their clean lines and symmetrical plans, the buildings of the classical world, like the Parthenon and Coliseum, are the foundation of Western architecture. How did the column and beam come to signify order and reason and suggest permanence and power?
May 14 Gothic Architecture: Styles and Interpretations
The religious architecture of the Middle Ages—exemplified by the churches of Notre Dame and Ste. Chappelle—valued the interior, a world of shadow and reflection, one dedicated to more of the senses than sight alone. How does a society build an architecture of faith?
May 21 Renaissance to Revival
One of the most useful tools for any architect wanting to create a space with embedded symbols and meaning is a knowledge of the past. From the Renaissance construction of St. Peter’s to 19th-century government buildings, historical references were employed in highly personal, creative, and often idiosyncratic ways. What do Michelangelo and the Houses of the Parliament have in common?
May 28 From Iron to the Aesthetics of Technology
Innovations in materials and new technologies force architecture to confront new ways of living, working, and playing. From the skyscraper to the art museum, one of the guiding questions in architecture is “What is the doctrine of modernism?”
World Art History Certificate core course: Earn 1 credit