HISTORY OF ARCHITECTURE
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course is designed to provide a foundation in the history of architecture along with the necessary knowledge required for its understanding. For technical reasons – the brevity of the course – it will not be possible to provide a comprehensive analysis of the architectural systems developed in the West from the Ancient world up until the 18th century. For this reason amongst others, and considering the objective of students’ and construction engineers’ progressive educational progress, the course is designed in such a way as to continuously stimulate interest in the knowledge and interpretation of the historic and other such values expressed by engineering and architectural works, placing them in their respective cultural contexts. In addition, the course intends to give students a critical sensitivity to the principal characteristics of the architecture and urban landscape in which the buildings studied are located, along with the basic chronology of architectural style.
For this reason, the course has been divided into two parts, or areas. The first reconstructs the history of Italian architecture from the 15th to the 18th centuries, presenting a series of themes and problems focusing on cultural centres and the individuals involved, or on certain key works. The intention is to give students the methodological tools required for the interpretation of a work of architecture, including its relations to the urban and historical contexts, together with the tools specific to the area of study.
The second part, or field, of the course will look at a number of themes regarding the period from the 19th to the early 20th century, considered as important from an educational point of view. The purpose of this study is to encourage students to examine themes and topics connected to the design and execution of various architectural solutions in a European context, along with their use and meaning. This section, focusing on changes in the territory, city and architecture, will consider a span of time ranging from the 19th century up until 1950, with the respective technological and industrial innovations, and with particular reference to the history of Western architecture and developments in European architecture.
Course contents summary
In order to cope with the extensive period covered by the syllabus, the subjects will be taught following the criteria adopted in history of architecture textbooks, with additional bibliographical materials and references reflecting the inevitable wealth and complexity of the field. Lessons will focus on the following major topics:
Filippo Brunelleschi’s revolution and the construction solutions designed for the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore; the De architectura books by Vitruvius and Leon Battista Alberti.
The palazzo theme in Florence, Rome and northern Italy.
The ideal city in the Renaissance, utopian cities, military cities.
Renaissance classicism from Bramante to Palladio.
Michelangelo, Giulio Romano and Mannerist architecture
17th century Rome: architecture and urban planning in the Baroque age (Bernini, Borromini, Pietro da Cortona).
Guarino Guarini: architecture as a science, the Baroque in Piedmont up until Filippo Juvarra.
Versailles and Caserta: palace-garden-park-estate.
18th-century Europe: neo-Palladianism in Britain; France and the “architects of the Revolution”; the engineering style and the decline of classical models.
Eclectism and Rationalism.
The great engineering structures, architecture in iron, Alessandro Antonelli.
The refurbishment of cities in the 19th century (Paris, Vienna).
The Chicago school, the Bauhaus and Gropius, F. Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier.
Engineers, architects, urban planners.
Futurism, Classicism and Rationalism in Italy: A. Sant’Elia, M. Piacentini, G. Terragni, A. Libera, G. Maroni.
L. Figini, G. Pollini.
Albini - P.L.Nervi
Preparation for the exam must be based on a textbook chosen from the following:
Lineamenti di storia dell’architettura, introduction and foreword by A. Bruschi, G. Miarelli Mariani, Rome, Sovera,1994.
D. Watkin, Storia dell’architettura occidentale, Bologna, Zanichelli, 1990.
The professor has prepared a collection of essays (available at the Faculty of Engineering Copy Centre) providing specialist information on historical and critical themes. Study of these essays is obligatory. As regards 20th century architecture, students can choose from:
K. Frampton, Storia dell’architettura moderna, Bologna, Zanichelli, 1982.
A. Belluzzi, C. Conforti, Architettura italiana 1944-1994, Bari-Rome, Laterza, 1994.
G. Ciucci, F. Dal Co, Architettura italiana del Novecento, Turin, Einaudi, 1990. They will be mentioned during lessons.
The exam consists of an oral test to assess students’ capabilities in providing a critically and historically correct context for the currents, styles, architects and buildings studied in the lessons. Students must demonstrate their ability in the correct use of the Dizionario di Architettura, by N. Pevsner, J. Fleming, H. Honour, Turin, Einaudi 1981 (and later editions).
Bibliographical references regarding the subjects studied in the first part, and specialist bibliographical material for the second part, will be supplied at the start of the course. Students who do not attend lessons should request the bibliography from the professor.
Attendance of lessons is strongly recommended.