77857 - History of Achitecture I

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

The course aims at providing students with critical tools for knowledge, analysis and critical reading of the most important and significant architectural and urban works from the Ancient to the Contemporary age, in order to build an active knowledge of the evolution of the linguistic, formal and technological processes of the architecture of the past, placing them in the socio-economic and cultural contexts of reference, as a fundamental premise for the development of the understanding of the present world.

Course contents

The program of the lectures will follow an itinerary that will touch and critically analyze the most significant and exemplary phases of the history of Western architecture from the Ancient to the Contemporary age, focusing in particular: in the first part, on the formation and evolution of the " classic code" and its "rebirths" over the centuries, reaching the Baroque age and subsequent developments until the first half of the eighteenth century; and, in the second part, on the profound crisis that accompanies social and productive changes that developed from the second half of the eighteenth century up to the early twentieth century, with the successive, contradictory phases of the birth of the "Modern Movement".

Lessons will focus on the following items:

I. Ancient age
- Origins of Greek architecture. The architectural orders. Sacred architecture: the temple.
Greek architecture: Classical and post Classical age. Atene, the Peloponneso and the Ionia. Public and private civil architectures. Space organization and monumental complexes.
- The Hellenistic age in the Mediterranian world. Formal and typological innovations. The cities in the Hellenistic world.
- Roman architecture in the Republican age. Spaces, buildings, building techniques.
Roman architecture in the Imperial age. Public monuments and residential buildings (domus, villae and  palatia).
- Late Ancient age. The early Christian architectures. The Byzantine architecture. 

II. Medieval age in Italy and Europe
- Carolingian architecture.
- Romanesque architecture in Italy and Europe. Forms, typologies and structures. Romanesque churches, abbeys and monastries.
- Early Gothic architecture in France. Forms, typologies and structures. Gothic architecture spreading throughout Europe.
- Architecture in Italy in 13th and 14th century.
- Architecture in late Medieval age. New perspectives and innovations in Italy between 14th and 15th century.

III. Reinassance in Italy
- Filippo Brunelleschi: forms and building techniques in the Florentine architectures. The birth of modern buildign site: building the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore.
- Leon Battista Alberti between theory and practice of architecture. The De Re Aedificatoria. Architectures in Reinassance courts: Rome, Florence, Mantova, Rimini.
- The revival of "all'antica" architecture in Rome: Donato Bramante and Raffaello Sanzio. The building of the new St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican.
- Early 16th century architecture in the Italian courts: Antonio da Sangallo teh Younger, Baldassarre Peruzzi, Jacopo Sansovino, Giulio Romano.
- Michelangelo Buonarroti architect in Rome and Florence.
- Architectural theory and practice treatises, from Sebastiano Serlio to Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola.
- Andrea Palladio. The Quattro Libri dell'Architettura. Architectures in Veneto: churches, villas, palaces.

IV. Baroque in Italy and Europe
- Early Baroque age in Rome: architectures of Pietro da Cortona, Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini.

- Guarino Guarini  (1624-1683), Filippo Juvarra (1678-1736) and the influence of their architectures in Europe.

V. 18th and 19th centuries: History, Style, Technique, Industry

- Giovan Battista Piranesi (1720-1778) and Rome in 18th century

- Architecture in France in 18th century: Neoclassicism and "revolutionary architects". Jacques-Germain Soufflot, Etienne-Louis Boullée, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux and Jean-Nicolas Louis Durand

- England between 18th and 19th centuries. Neo Palladianism; John Soane; Jonh Nash

- Neoclassicim in Germany. Karl Friederich Schinkel and Leo von Klenze

- Iron and glass architecture

- Chicago school and the origins of the skyscraper. Louis Henry Sullivan

- William Morris and the Arts and Crafts.

- Art Nouveau in Europe: Belgium and Netherlands (Victor Horta, Henri van de Velde), England (Charles Rennie Mackintosh), Austria (Joseph Olbrich and the Viennese Secession), Spain (Antoni Gaudì).

VI. 20th century: Pioneers of the Modern Architecture

- The Pioneers: Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos.

- Architecture and Industry in Germany. Deutscher Werkbund  - Peter Behrens (1868-1940). Walter Gropius (1883-1969) and the Bauhaus

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959)

Architecture in Italy between two World Wars. Classicism/rationalism. National and Regine Architectures. Giuseppe Terragni, Luigi Moretti, Adalberto Libera.

Architecture and engineering. Pier Luigi Nervi (1891-1979)


General recommended reading is:

D. Watkin, Storia dell'architettura occidentale, Zanichelli, Bologna 2016 (V Italian edition)


Recommended readings on single program sections are:

Ancient Age:

C. Bozzoni, V. Franchetti Pardo, G. Ortolani, A. Viscogliosi, L'architettura del mondo antico, Laterza, Roma-Bari 2006 (chapters about the topics in the course program)

Medieval Age in Italy and Europe:

R. Bonelli, C. Bozzoni, V. Franchetti Pardo, Storia dell'architettura medievale: l'Occidente europeo, Laterza, Roma-Bari 2012 (chapters about the topics in the course program)

Reinassance in Italy:

Storia dell'architettura italiana. Il Quattrocento, ed. by F. P. Fiore, Electa, Milano 1998; Il primo Cinquecento, ed. by A. Bruschi, Electa, Milano 2002; Il secondo Cinquecento, ed. by C. Conforti, R. J. Tuttle, Electa, Milano 2001 (chapters about the topics in the course program)

P. Murray, L'architettura del Rinascimento italiano, Laterza, Roma-bari 1977 (last edition 2012) (chapters about the topics in the course program)

Baroque in Italy and Europe:

R. Wittkower, Arte e architettura in Italia 1600-1750, Einaudi, Torino 2008 (chapters about the topics in the course program)

18th-19th centuries:

E. Kaufmann, L'architettura dell'illuminismo, Einaudi, Torino 1981 (solo i capitoli su architettura in Francia e Inghilterra)

L. Benevolo, Storia dell'architettura moderna, Laterza, Roma-Bari 2010 (solo i capitoli sugli argomenti trattati)

20th century:

W. J. R. Curtis, L'architettura moderna del 1900, Phaidon, Londra 2006 (chapters about the topics in the course program)

G. Ciucci, Gli architetti e il fascismo. Architettura e città 1922-1944, Einaudi, Torino 2002


Teaching methods

The lectures will be held in the classroom illustrated by projections, analyzing the topics proposed with attention to the evolution of forms, types and construction techniques; the lessons will be accompanied by exercises consisting of inspections of some of the works in the program and details on individual buildings and building complexes. During the lessons and exercises the students will be asked to discuss the proposed topics, exercising the ability to critically analyze the architectures and the relationship between forms and building techniques. Punctual information on the methods and the program of the lessons will be provided from time to time during the course.

Assessment methods

The final exam consists of an interview that aims to assess the degree of knowledge reached by the student through the classroom frequency and the study of the reference texts and in-depth analysis, taking into account the critical skills acquired in the analysis of topics and architectures studied. The overall assessment will be based on the results of both the final interview and the activities carried out during the course.

Teaching tools

Lessons will be illustrated by slides and images specifically prepared by the professor, which will be given to the students on AMS Campus; exercises will consist in visits to some of the analyzed architectures as well as in examinations of single buildings or complexes.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Micaela Antonucci