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Harvard Launches a Free Online Course on Principles of Architecture

Harvard University will launch on February 28 a new, free online course on, intended to teach the fundamental principles of architecture.

“The Architectural Imagination” introductory course will be taught by Harvard’s Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory K. Michael Hays alongside Professor of Architectural History Erika Naginski and G. Ware Travelstead Professor of the History of Architecture and Technology Antoine Picon.

Over the course of ten modules, these professors will examine some of history’s most important examples that show how architecture engages, mediates, and expresses a culture’s complex aspirations. Video presentations and hands-on exercises will be featured to explore all of these issues. This is the course syllabus:

Part I: Form and History
Module 1: The Architectural Imagination: An Introduction
Module 2: Reading Architecture: Column and Wall
Module 3: Hegel and Architectural History
Module 4: Aldo Rossi and Typology

Part II: The Technology Effect
Module 5: The Crystal Palace: Infrastructure and Detail
Module 6: The Dialectics of Glass and Steel
Module 7: Technology Tamed: Le Corbusier’s Machines for Living

Part III: Representation and Context
Module 8: Drawing Utopia: Visionary Architecture of the 18th Century
Module 9: The Pompidou Center in the City of Paris
Module 10: Presenting the Unrepresentable

The course will join other architectural courses hosted on edX from institutions including MIT, ETH Zurich, and the University of Tokyo.



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