The Architect in History: The Evolution of Practice from the Renaissance to the Present

This course examines the history of architectural practice, focusing on the changing role and definition of the architect, with the goal of providing new perspectives on how we design and build today. The course begins with 16th century Italy, moves into 17th- through 19th-century France and England, and then focuses on the evolution of practice in the United States from 1800 to the present. Major themes include: –Changing models of architectural education, from the Beaux-Arts to modernism.-Relationships with clients: Who hires the architect and how? How have architects made (or lost) money? How has government regulated the built environment?-Relationship with the construction industry: How have architects conveyed their design intent to clients and builders through drawings and models? What have been their relationships with builders, either as collaborators or adversaries?-Insiders and outsiders: Evolution of professional organizations and their gatekeeper role; the profession\’s treatment of women and minorities.-Relationship of architecture to other design professions: Engineering, landscape architecture, city planning, and interior design.-Firms and individual creators; Professional myths and historical realities: The growth of big-firm practice, versus the branding and selling of the individual creator; the influence of photographers and critics on design.Class sessions will be a mix of lectures and discussions. The requirements include class participation, a research paper, and a final exam. There is no prerequisite, and there is no limit on course enrollment. Required texts: Spiro Kostof, ed., The Architect; Gwendolyn Wright, USA.