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ART H 390 A: American Architecture through an Ecological Lens

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Meeting Time: 
MWF 10:00am - 11:20am
ART 003
Meredith Clausen
Meredith Clausen

Syllabus Description:


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17th c. Colonial Robert Venturi, Chestnut Hill House


Meredith L. Clausen, professor Architectural History (
Laure Heland, Affliliate Associate Professor, Sustainable Ecological Design (

Winter 2019MWF 10:00 - 11:20 am
ART Building, Room 003

Office hrs: Weds, 2:30 - 5pm, rm 222, Art Bldg, or by appt.
Office tel: (206) 616-6751


Lecture Images


SoA+AH+D Policies



Course Description: An introduction to history of American architecture and urbanism from the time of indigenous inhabitants to the present, seen through an ecological lens. No slide identifications: emphasis is on developing analytical skills and critical thinking, not memorization.


Course Objectives: To provide an understanding of differing building traditions and their impact on the natural environment (land, natural resources, air, water) throughout the United States as they have developed over the course of time. Students will be exposed to some of the basic principles of structure, an understanding of what is involved in the design of buildings, the purpose of architecture, its meaning and expressive power, and what effect – temporary and enduring – on the ecology of the country.


Course Requirements: MWF meetings with discussion participation in which is expected. Three exams, each comprising 1/3 of final grade; two short papers. Students are required to take exams as scheduled; exceptions granted only in cases of documented emergencies and must be approved by the instructor. Exams are cumulative, with each exam emphasizing new material but drawing on knowledge, skills, and understanding acquired throughout the quarter.


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


Images used in lecture will be in PowerPoint format; after each class, Powerpoints will be posted online via Canvas for review as PDFs (Lecture Images link above). 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. Many of the images were scanned at low resolution by today's standards. Nonetheless, they tend to be informative, albeit not as sharp as one would like. There are also, of course, other image-based websites that one can use as a source of images.


Classroom Etiquette: No talking in class and all cell phones turned off, as they are disruptive to other students. Be on time and don’t leave early; if for whatever reason you have to leave, sit in the back near the exit, so you don’t interrupt the class. No late papers will be accepted without signed medical excuse.


Texts: available for purchase at the University Book Store; copies also in the architecture library, Gould Hall.

Leland Roth, American Architecture: A History, Westview Press, 2nd ed, 2016, $85.00 (e-copies, $54.99)

Eggener, Keith. American Architectural History: A Contemporary Reader, 2004

Venturi, Robert. Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, orig published 1966, but any edition will do.


Students are expected to do the required readings before the class meets and to be prepared to discuss them in class. Class sessions will starts with questions based on the reading, to which you may be called upon to respond. Best come prepared so you don't flub up. Recommended readings are for those seeking a broader discussion or deeper probing of the subject.

Copies of required books are available in the Arch Library, Gould Hall; required articles/chapters will be posted on Canvas.


Link to complete Syllabus with weekly schedule



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Catalog Description: 
Introduction to the history of American architecture and urbanism as seen from an ecological perspective, from the time of indigenous inhabitants to the present.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:11pm