Choose your session:
The Architectural Imagination
About this courseSkip About this course
Architecture engages a culture’s deepest social values and expresses them in material, aesthetic form. This course will teach you how to understand architecture as both cultural expression and technical achievement. Vivid analyses of exemplary buildings, and hands-on exercises in drawing and modeling, will bring you closer to the work of architects and historians.
The first part of the course introduces the idea of the architectural imagination. Perspective drawing and architectural typology are explored and you will be introduced to some of the challenges in writing architectural history.
Then we address technology as a component of architecture. You will discover ways that innovative technology can enable and promote new aesthetic experiences, or disrupt age-old traditions. Technological advances changed what could be built, and even what could even be thought of as architecture.
Finally, we'll confront architecture’s complex relationship to its social and historical contexts and its audiences, achievements, and aspirations. You will learn about architecture’s power of representation and see how it can produce collective meaning and memory.
Architecture is one of the most complexly negotiated and globally recognized cultural practices, both as an academic subject and a professional career. Its production involves all of the technical, aesthetic, political, and economic issues at play within a given society. Join us as we examine how architecture engages, mediates, and expresses a culture’s complex aspirations.
This course is eligible for American Institute of Architects (AIA) continuing education units (CEUs). Enroll in the course to learn more about options for earning credit.
At a glance
What you'll learnSkip What you'll learn
- How to read, analyze, and understand different forms of architectural representation
- Social and historical contexts behind major works of architecture
- Basic principles to produce your own architectural drawings and models
- Pertinent content for academic study or a professional career as an architect
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
About the instructors
Frequently Asked QuestionsSkip Frequently Asked Questions
How is the honor code upheld?
HarvardX requires individuals who enroll in its courses on edX to abide by the terms of the edX honor code. HarvardX will take appropriate corrective action in response to violations of the edX honor code, which may include dismissal from the HarvardX course; revocation of any certificates received for the HarvardX course; or other remedies as circumstances warrant. No refunds will be issued in the case of corrective action for such violations. Enrollees who are taking HarvardX courses as part of another program will also be governed by the academic policies of those programs.
How does my participation contribute to research?
By registering as an online learner in our open online courses, you are also participating in research intended to enhance HarvardX's instructional offerings as well as the quality of learning and related sciences worldwide. In the interest of research, you may be exposed to some variations in the course materials. HarvardX does not use learner data for any purpose beyond the University's stated missions of education and research. For purposes of research, we may share information we collect from online learning activities, including Personally Identifiable Information, with researchers beyond Harvard. However, your Personally Identifiable Information will only be shared as permitted by applicable law, will be limited to what is necessary to perform the research, and will be subject to an agreement to protect the data. We may also share with the public or third parties aggregated information that does not personally identify you. Similarly, any research findings will be reported at the aggregate level and will not expose your personal identity.
How are non-discrimination and anti-harassment supported?
Harvard University and HarvardX are committed to maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment in which no member of the community is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination or harassment in our program. All members of the HarvardX community are expected to abide by Harvard policies on nondiscrimination, including sexual harassment, and the edX Terms of Service. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and/or report your experience through the edX contact form.