Timeline Travel: An Alternative Tool for architectural History Teaching

Scientific Coordinator: Micaela Antonucci

Timeline Travel Logo





Sector: Higher Education

Unibo structure involved: Department of Architecture

Unibo Team: Ricercatori e docenti strutturati Unibo: Giovanni Leoni, Marco Pretelli, Ernesto Antonini, Matteo Cassani Simonetti, Daniela Longo  Assegnisti: Tommaso Rovinelli
Ricercatori a contratto: Sofia Nannini, Alessio Costarelli


Project Duration in months: 24
Start Date: 01/09/2017 
End Date: 31/08/2019

Budget:  271.845,00 euro
Unibo Budget: 65.490,00 euro


• P2 Akademia Humanistyczno-Ekonomiczna w Lodz



Architectural history classes are generally described as one of “the least enjoyable courses” by undergraduate architecture students. Most of them feel themselves forced to learn the histories of the buildings and try to memorize their construction dates, builders or styles, rather than creating genuine connections, discovering analogies or establishing bonds between the history and the architecture evolving with it. Conventional architectural history teaching models lag behind the cognitive capacities of architecture students who are more inclined to visual learning.

Therefore, this project aims to create an alternative architectural history teaching and learning tool (Timeline Travel) that would trigger visual cognition with the help of a timeline and a map. Accessible through a web-page, this tool will be designed so that it could be used both as an e-learning platform and as a teaching/learning/research companion. Timeline Travel will initially be prepared for two historic cities: Istanbul in Turkey and Ravenna in Italy. It will give the learners the chance of making time travel while studying architectural history. Accordingly, the primary target groups of the project are HE students and teachers of architectural history; and approximately 150 students, 100 academicians from partner institutions and 150 architectural historians within Europe will be directly reached via project activities.

Another objective of this project is creating a cultural and historical awareness among the citizens of Europe thorough architectural histories of their cities and countries. By making this tool available and easy-to-use for a wider audience from a K12 student to an elderly, the project aims to reach almost every individual through the project website, and it is ambitious to become a global tool for learning and discovering architectural histories. Another significant objective and long term benefit of this project is to develop the Timeline Travel in a flexible way so that it can be adapted to other fields, such as history, art history, archaeology or urbanism, in the near future. Thus, the impact and EU benefit of the project will be greater.

Interdisciplinary nature of the project blending software technologies, architectural history and education science required a transnational, enthusiastic, innovative and energetic team. Each partner institution and all members of the project are experts in their own fields and produce five intellectual outputs collaboratively: Timeline Travel tool for visualizing data; its prototype content, i.e. architectural history databases of Constantinople/Istanbul and Ravenna; Timeline Travel e-learning platform; new curricula designed and tested for this platform, and a user profiling software to improve success of learners. 

The project is also highly innovative as it will be able to semi-automatically create architectural history databases for other historic cities such as Rome, Berlin, Athens or London. It will also be adaptable to other fields and likely to create many spin-offs at the end of the project, including literature (e.g. timeline of writers where you can browse through book covers), urban planning (e.g. timeline of urban expansion of cities), evolution (e.g. timeline of species and their distribution over the world), etc. The power of data visualization will create its own magnet in academia as it will improve learning speed significantly.

The expected impact of the project is a significant improvement, architectural history learning capacities and enthusiasm, ability to make novel interpretations and analyses, for both students and instructors. As both would save time and energy in studying architectural history, they will have increased research capacities. Another significant impact will be the ability of students to study and learn architectural history on their own and without the need of an instructor. Timeline Travel aims to reach every individual at local, regional, European and international level, as it can well be used as a companion to discover architectural histories of cities, or adapted for other uses, such as a visual diary.

Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union