Learning to Look at Western Architecture (Online)

Course summary

Learning to Look at Western Architecture (Online)



Overview

This course is designed to enable students to read'the architecture of the Western world in a critically informed way. You will learn to recognise and differentiate between the major architectural styles of the western tradition  and will thus gain a greater understanding of the way that buildings are built, and why they look the way they do.

Architecture is the quintessential public'art form. The work of architects surrounds us all, every day of our lives, shaping and conditioning our experience of the world in ways which are as subtle as they are inescapable. Yet the practice of architects does not take place - and has never taken place - in a vacuum: architects continually engage with the architectural styles and practices of the past, shaping the architectural forms of the present from the vast reservoir of forms and styles bequeathed by the western architectural tradition.

This course aims to give students an introduction and overview of that architectural tradition  enabling students to read'the architecture of the contemporary built environment in a critically informed way. Students will learn to recognise and differentiate between the major architectural styles of the western tradition  and will thus gain a greater understanding of the way that buildings are built, and why they look the way they do.

For information on how the courses work, and a link to our course demonstration site, please click here.

Programme details

The areas you will cover in this course are:

  • Introduction and a starting point: Classical Architecture - Principles and Foundations:
  • Gothic Architecture  Styles and Interpretations
  • Renaissance, Mannerism and Baroque
  • Case Study (1)  The English Baroque
  • The Classical Revival: an overview of the rise of neo-Classicism
  • Case Study (2): English neo-Classicism
  • Nineteenth Century Eclecticism
  • Case Study (3): the Victorian City
  • The Modern Movement
  • Today and Tomorrow  The Contemporary Built Environment


We strongly recommend that you try to find a little time each week to engage in the online conversations (at times that are convenient to you) as the forums are an integral, and very rewarding, part of the course and the online learning experience.

Recommended reading

To participate in the course you will need to have regular access to the Internet and you will need to buy the following paperback book:

Sutton, I., Western Architecture: A Survey (Thames & Hudson, London, 1999) ISBN 0500203164

Recommended, though not required:

Summerson, J., Architecture in Britain 1530-1830 (Yale University Press, Yale/London, 1953) ISBN 0300058861

Certification

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online. If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to register and pay the £10 fee.

For more information on CATS point please click on the link below: http://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/studentsupport/faq/cats.php

Coursework is an integral part of all online courses and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. 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.

Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.

All students who successfully complete this course, whether registered for credit or not, are eligible for a Certificate of Completion. Completion consists of submitting both course assignments and actively participating in the course forums. Certificates will be available, online, for those who qualify after the course finishes.

IT requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.

Fees

Home/EU Fee: £255.00
Non-EU Fee: £295.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00

Tutors

Dr David Morgan

None

David Morgan teaches topics in Art History and Architectural History for Oxford University's Dept of Continuing Education (OUDCE), and for Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of two on-line courses in architectural history for OUDCE: Learning to Look at Western Architecture; and Western Architecture – the Modern Era.

Course aims

This course aims to introduce students to the broad stylistic history of western architecture by:

  • guiding them through selected contemporary and historical readings.
  • helping them to recognise the salient features of the western architectural tradition, as manifested within the contemporary built environment.

Teaching outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to understand:

  • the overall chronological and stylistic progressions within the western architectural tradition;
  • the historical origins of the styles and forms of contemporary architecture;
  • that the architecture of any period results from a complex dialogue between the needs of the present and the styles and forms of the past.

Assessment methods

Assessment for this course is based on two written assignments - one short assignment due half way through the course and one longer assignment due at the end of the course. Students will have about two weeks to complete each assignment.

Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.

Application

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.

Level and demands

FHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 study hours.