• Unit 6: Architecture

    In this unit, we explore architecture, its history, and its relation to visual art. Architecture is the art and science of designing structures and spaces for human use. Architectural design is an art form realized through considerations of spatial design and aesthetics. Related to sculpture, architecture creates three-dimensional objects that serve human purposes and form visual relationships with the surrounding areas.

    Completing this unit should take you approximately 2 hours.

    • 6.1: What is Architecture?

      Architecture is the art and science of designing structures and spaces for human use. Architectural design is an art form in itself realized through considerations of spatial design and aesthetics.

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    • 6.2: Traditional Methods and Materials

      Since prehistory, people have manipulated the materials in their local environment to create expressive dwelling places.

    • 6.3: Architecture in China and East Asia

      When we travel to other countries, we are often impressed with how different buildings look based on their geographic location. These differences indicate the cultural backdrop that framed how and why they were created. While their general functions may be similar – for worship, military defense, education, work, or housing – the uniqueness of cultures means their architecture displays unique forms that are well-suited to their cultural environment – forms that distinguish them from those produced elsewhere.

    • 6.4: Cross-Cultural Influences

      Comparative analysis of art looks carefully for similarities and differences in similar art forms across different cultures. For example, you might compare the art on temples in Hindu and Buddhist cultures or compare Christian churches with Jewish synagogues. We can analyze any cultural artifact for similarities and differences in various cultural contexts, such as textile patterns, paintings, sculptures, or films.

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    • 6.5: Architecture and the Industrial Revolution

      The Industrial Revolution (1760–1840) prompted new needs and capabilities for architecture and infrastructure. During this period, workers adopted new techniques, and the ability to mass-produce building components created new possibilities for steel-based frames and concrete that would radically increase the scale of built structures. These buildings were inherently different from those that were previously built out of stone or wood and assembled with much less technological apparatus.

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    • 6.6: Modern Architecture: A New Language

      Modernist architects rejected the ornament and decorative elements past historical styles had adopted. Rather, they embraced the use of contemporary materials and methods to create a style dissociated from the past which addressed the present. A popular Modernist idea was that homes should be like "machines for living".

    • 6.7: Post-Modern and Contemporary Architecture

      Postmodern architects rebelled against the austerity and rationality of modernist architecture. They believed architecture should use symbols and ornament that played with cultural ideas – implementing them with less seriousness and gravitas than earlier movements, such as neoclassical and neo-gothic architecture. This allowed them to reincorporate the world's architectural heritage into contemporary building design. They often fused ornamental and symbolic aspects with modernist design, so buildings could still fulfill their functional roles.

    • 6.8: Green Architecture

      Green architecture incorporates ecologically and environmentally sustainable practices into site preparation, materials, energy use, and waste systems.

      A building is a system. We may think of them as structures, offices, or homes, but they support human activity by assembling several functions that address a variety of human needs. Typical building systems include heating, cooling, lighting, ventilating, and powering, and may include recycling rainwater or supporting a living roof. Each of these systems involves methods and technologies we can trace to the origins of architecture. However, today's more ecologically-informed era would deem most of these systems unsustainable. Green or sustainable design looks for new ways and approaches that minimize the harmful environmental impact of traditional building systems.

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    • Unit 6 Assessment

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