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ART H 290 A: History of Architecture

We look forward to safely returning to in-person instruction and activities this autumn quarter. Current and prospective students please visit our COVID-19 Updates pages.
Meeting Time: 
MWF 10:00am - 11:20am
ART 003
Meredith Clausen
Meredith Clausen

Syllabus Description:


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AH290, Fall 2018
Introduction to the History of Architecture
MWF 10:00 - 11:20, rm 003, Art Bldg

Instructor: Prof Meredith L. Clausen, Architectural History
Art Building, rm 222
Office tel: (206) 616-6751
Office hours:
 Wednesday, 2-5 pm, rm222 Art Building


Course description: 
An introduction to the history of buildings and cities throughout the world, emphasizing developments from the 15th c. to the present. Emphasis is on developing analytic skills rather than memorization of names and dates.

Course objectives:
To provide an understanding of differing building traditions across time and diverse cultures across the globe, non-Western as well as Western. Students will learn the basics of structure (if they study; doesn’t happen automatically) as well as acquire an understanding of what goes into the design of buildings, the purpose of architecture, its meaning and expressive power. Focus here is on the buildings themselves within their original historical and cultural contexts.

Assignments and exams: regular readings; three short exams.
Required reading: three basic texts, plus supplemental articles & essays
Grading will be based on participation in class discussion plus the exams.


Each exam will consist of five short-answer questions. Images of the buildings in question will be shown, drawn from the text or lectures, with names, date, place, and architect (if known). What is being evaluated here is not your ability to memorize names and dates, but to think critically about the material we've studied. Exams will be grade by a reader assigned to the course.

Prerequisites: none

SoA+AH+D Policies

Lecture Images



Disability Services Office: If you would like to request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact the Disability Services Office, email:, 206-543-6450 (voice) / 206-543-6452 (TTY). Please provide the instructor a copy of your letter from Disability Services indicating you have a disability that requires assistance. Disability Resources for Students, UW Seattle Campus

Plagiarism: Plagiarism consists of using the creations, ideas, words, inventions, or work of someone else in your own work without formally acknowledging them through the use of quotation marks, footnotes, bibliography, or other reference. If in doubt as to what might qualify, check with the instructor. Instances of plagiarism will be referred to the Vice Provost/Special Asst to the President for Student Relations, and can lead to suspension or other major disciplinary action. (Not nice to have on your student record!)

Images:  Slides used in lecture will be in PowerPoint format; after each class, Powerpoints (Lecture Images link above) will be posted online via Canvas for review as PDFs. Many (though not all) of the slides used in class are accessible on the Web, in the Cities and Buildings Database, an online digital image database created at the University of Washington in 1996 and added to continuously since then. There are also, of course, other image-based websites that one can use as a source of images.


Texts: (available at the University Book Store and in the architecture library, Gould Hall)

            James-Chakraborty, Kathleen. Architecture Since 1400, Univ of Minnesota Press, 2014 (required)

            Kostof, The Architect. Chapters in the History of the Profession, Oxford, 1977   (recommended)

            Salvadori, Why Buildings Stand Up, W.W. Norton, 1980.  (recommended) 

Students are expected to do the required reading before class meets. Class sessions are likely to start with questions based on the reading, which you may be asked to respond. Best come prepared and expect to be called on to speak.

Recommended readings are for those seeking a fuller understanding of the subject; see also James-Chakraborty text for her Further Reading. Books are available in the Architecture Library, Gould Hall; required articles/chapters are available via the Readings page.


Link to full syllabus for schedule and weekly topics


Catalog Description: 
Introduction to the history of architecture across a broad range of cultural contexts.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
October 17, 2018 - 9:11pm