An in-depth consideration of selected topics of enduring relevance for the theory and practice of architecture. The course examines concepts such as wonder, knowledge, authority, progress, beauty, and meaning as these are framed in primary sources from Antiquity to the Renaissance, and explores the ways in which buildings and cities have been observed and described during the same period. The specific topics vary from year to year. Readings introduce foundational ideas in the Western European intellectual tradition from Plato to Ficino relevant to design practitioners. Student participation in discussion is an integral part of learning: implementation of the concepts in short exercises fosters original thought and critical judgment.