Classical Architecture: A Design Workshop


Students will be taken through the history and variety of classical architecture through the ages and shown how it is based on ancient principles that have evolved over centuries, up to the present day. This will include an expert tour of classical buildings in Oxford to demonstrate the way classical principles have been used in their design.

Students will have a chance to learn to draw some of the key assemblies of columns and beams that provide the aesthetic framework to all classical design and well-known practitioners will explain how they have used these to create their own designs. Students will have a chance to try their hand under expert supervision and take away their own designs.

Programme details

Courses starts: 22 Apr 2024

Please note: There will be no class held on 6th or 27th May.

Week 1: Introduction to classical architecture

Week 2: Introducing the classical orders

Week 3: Tour of classical buildings in Oxford

Week 4: Drawing the classical orders, introduction

Week 5: Tutoring drawing the orders

Week 6: Review drawings. Practitioner lecture 1.

Week 7: Introduce design project. Practitioner lecture 2.

Week 8: Tutoring design. Practitioner lecture 3.

Week 9: Tutoring design

Week 10: Review design, review course

Digital Certification

To complete the course and receive a certificate, you will be required to attend at least 80% of the classes on the course and pass your final assignment. Upon successful completion, you will receive a link to download a University of Oxford digital certificate. Information on how to access this digital certificate will be emailed to you after the end of the course. The certificate will show your name, the course title and the dates of the course you attended. You will be able to download your certificate or share it on social media if you choose to do so.


Description Costs
Course Fee £257.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit, you are a full-time student in the UK or a student on a low income, you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees. Please see the below link for full details:

Concessionary fees for short courses


Prof Robert Adam

Professor Robert Adam has practised architecture for 45 years and has an international reputation as one of the leading exponents of contextual urbanism and modern traditional design. In 1992 he founded ADAM Architecture, now the largest architecture practice specialising in traditional design in Europe. He has written six books, including a textbook on classical architecture and an analysis of how globalisation has affected world architecture, and is a regular contributor of papers, articles and chapters to books, journals and newspapers. He has won numerous prizes including the prestigious Richard H. Driehaus Prize, for “the highest ideals of traditional and classical architecture in contemporary society”.  Adam holds a bachelors degree from the University of Westminster and a doctorate from Oxford Brookes University. 

Course aims

To give a practical and historical knowledge of classical design in architecture.

Course Objectives:

  • To develop a working knowledge the main components of classical design. 
  • To be able to understand the composition of classical buildings.
  • To obtain some elementary practical experience of designing a classical building.

Teaching methods

Lecturing, class discussion, walking tour with discussion, tutored drawing.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

  • understand the essential principles of classical architecture;
  • understand the principal compositional methodologies of classical architecture;
  • have some working knowledge of the design of classical architecture.

Assessment methods

A critical assessment of a drawing of the classical orders and the creation and drawing of a classical design. Allowance will be made for the level of drafting skills of students.

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form - Declaration of Authorship form


To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an enrolment form (Word) or enrolment form (Pdf).

Level and demands

Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from the January 1st after the current full academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)