Cities 255: Survey of American Architecture

Spring Semester 2001
Th 2-4, Carpenter B21
Mr. Cohen
[assignments] [syllabus on web] [reading possibilities: A B C D E] [canon on web: all A B C D E] [review units: A B C D E] [search HABS] [classwork]
[Contents of the PVA:] [Contents of JSAH since 1962:]


classes trips
  • Unit A. Colonial, 1600-1785
    yeomen & manors, the vernacular, the Georgian/NeoPalladian ideal
  •   25 Jan.: approaches, structure of course
    the canon & realia; multiple motives for form; buildings as multivalent, strung along narrative lines in surveys. "Why does this place take the form it does?"
    - Browse Unit A images.
    - Read a survey text portion for Unit A.
    - Activate your web account and get instrucions of posting to it.
    - Begin Unit A focused readings, post responses by Monday, 12 Feb., but bring on disk in preliminary form on 8 Feb. 1 Feb.: Native American, Sp, Fr, Anglo; varied national forms, plan types, built form as a cultural artifact; VA, Br. analogues.
    VA, NE landscapes, social motives, churches, houses.
    - Try drawing a plan, for 8 Feb.
    Visit: F, 2 Feb, 3pm:Visit Harriton House, Harriton Rd off eastward branch of New Gulph Rd.

    - Prepare preliminary version of reading response A on disk for Thursday in some form of plain text.

    Kostof I: "The House," M, 5:30-6:30pm, B17

    8 Feb.: SW, regional forms, center & periphery, vernaculars. Anglo-American, Palladianism, books, amateur idealism.
    HTML in TTC
    Web tutorials, reveal codes, Mailto:,
    Some html basics
  • Unit B. Early Republic and Antebellum, 1785-1860
    stylistic change, nationalistic maturity, heroic professionalism. Rationalism vs. romanticism, hunger for imagery, popular consumption, placidity and anachronism
  • - Post reading response A by Monday, 12 Feb.
    - Read Unit A responses of three others for Thursday

    - Browse Unit B images.
    - Read survey text portion for Unit B

    Visit: M, 12 Feb, 3pm: Mt Pleasant, Fairmount Park.

    15 Feb.: Colonial design processes. Federal/Adamesque, Neoclassicisms - Begin Unit B focused readings, post responses by Monday, 5 Mar.

    - Start dated building project, posting images by 22 March. [example we will build upon]

    Kostof II: "The Workplace," M, 5:30-6:30pm, B17

    22 Feb.: Professionals and a radical Neoclassicism Visit: F, 23 Feb, 3pm:Visit Colonial downtown, meet 2nd & Market, Christ Church. see INHP, 1st and 2nd Bank


    Class Mon, 26 Feb., 5:30-7:30:
    Greek Revival, decline of vernacular, Early Victorian, guise of imagery; 1840s-CW: Electicism with conviction, early Gothic Revival, Pugin, Downing

    1 Mar.:
    (<--Class Mon, 26 Feb., 5:30-7:30)

    [VRA in Chicago, 27th-3rd]
  • Unit C. Age of Enterprise, 1860-1890
    the challenges of an emerging modernity, constructing character
  • - Post reading response B by Monday, 5 Mar.
    - Read Unit B responses of three others for Thursday

    - Browse Unit C images.
    - Read survey text portion for Unit C

    Visit: M, 5 Mar, 3pm:Visit Grange or Gtn/ Tulpehocken St, St Jas the Less, Laurel Hill, or Powelton (snowed out)

    8 Mar.:Post CW realism, progressivism; Mid-Victorian syntheses; Rundbogenstil, HVG, Neo-Grec. - Begin Unit C focused readings, post responses by Monday, 2 Apr.

    [break, 10-18 March. no class]

    - Post dated building images and data by 22 Mar.

    Kostof III: "The Street," M , 5:30-6:30pm, B17

    22 Mar.: Queen Anne and Richardson, the part and the whole, anachronism, Shingle Style. Visit: F, 23 Mar, 3pm:Visit Victorian downtown, Reading Terminal, PAFA, City Hall, Rittenhouse. Meet 3pm, 21st and Walnut streets.
     Review Units: A B C 29 Mar.: midterm [some midterm answers]  
  • Unit D. Urbanism, Order, and Tradition, 1890-1940
    coherence, appropriate grandeur, the visual challenges of a rediscovered past
  • - Post reading response C by Monday, 2 Apr.
    - Read Unit C responses of three others for Thursday

    - Browse Unit D images.
    - Read survey text portion for Unit D

    Visit: M, 2 Apr, 3pm:Visit BMC campus, Hutton, Cope & Stewardson, Cram, Mellor & Meigs

    Kostof IV: "Public Places," M, 5:30-6:30pm, B17

    5 Apr.: Acad eclecticism.
    Beaux-Arts, High Game vs low, Arts & Crafts.
    - Begin Unit D focused readings, post responses by Monday, 16 Apr.

    - Contact architect, arrange appt for interview. Prepare for discussion on 23 April.

    Kostof V: "The Land," M, 5:30-6:30pm, B17

    12 Apr.: Skyscrapers, Chicago, FLW, Patterns 1900-30, the period house, Deco and Moderne. Patterns in archtl periodicals, dated buildings.  Lecture, Fri, 13 April, 4pm, in B25:
    Dr. Marie Frank on "The Theory of Pure Design and American Architectural Education in the Early 20th Century."
  • Unit E Modernism and Postmodernism, 1930-1990
    new architectural languages, technology, redefinition, purity and context
  • - Post reading response D by Monday, 16 Apr.
    - Read Unit D responses of three others for Thursday

    - Browse Unit E images.
    - Read survey text portion for Unit E

    Class Mon, 16 April, 5:30-7:30
    Early and High Modernism in US

    19 Apr.:
    (<--Class Mon, 16 April, 5:30-7:30)

    [SAH in Toronto, 18th-22nd]

    - Begin Unit E focused readings, post responses by Monday, 30 Apr.

    Visit: M, 23 Apr, 3pm:Visit PSFS, downtown office bldgs, Guild house.

    Class Mon, 23 April, 5:30-7:30:
    Presentations: discussions with architects
    [w/ dinner in Chinatown]

    26 Apr.:
    (<--Class Mon, 23 April, 5:30-7:30)

    [VAF in Newport, 25th-29th]

    - Read and prepare to discuss works of contemporary architectural criticism, for 3 May.

    - Post reading response E by Monday, 30 Apr.
    - Read Unit E responses of three others for Thursday

    - Email instructor with citations of criticism articles by 2 May

    3 May: After Modernism (last class)

    [Review units: A B C D E]

    4 May field trip canceled
    8 May, Carpenter B15, 2-3:30: Final Exam; last rev.= 6 May 01
    [email to instructor]