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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Architecture - History

Undergraduate Course: Early Modern Architecture and Science (ARHI10059)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines the rapport between architecture and what is now known as science, between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. Through encounters with early modern buildings, texts, instruments, and graphic art, the course reveals how architecture's exchanges with astronomy, anatomy, archaeology, botany, geology, and physics conditioned the emergence of modern forms of architectural and scientific knowledge.
Course description Between the fifteenth and the eighteenth centuries, exchanges between architecture and what is now called science multiplied and intensified. This course probes the intersections between architectural culture and the disciplines of natural philosophy during the early modern period, from astronomy, to anatomy, archaeology, botany, geology, and physics. The class will examine building projects, treatises, scientific instruments, prints, and drawings to understand how architects and natural philosophers traded ideas about measurement, mechanics, nature, and the principles of research. Through such investigations, students will uncover how interactions between experts in architecture and the sciences shaped modern attitudes about how interdisciplinary knowledge is formed.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed ( Architectural History 1A: Introduction to World Architecture (ARHI08009) AND Architectural History 1B: Revivalism to Modernism (ARHI08004)) AND Urbanism and the City: Past to Present (ARHI08010)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students should normally have passed at least 60 credits of Architectural History or History of Art/History courses at Level 8. If the pre-requisites cannot be met, entry to this course can be negotiated in consultation with either the Course Organiser or Programme Director (Architectural History).
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a detailed understanding of how the history of architecture intersects with the history of science in the early modern period.
  2. Critically review and consolidate knowledge, skills, practices and thinking in the history of exchanges between architecture and science.
  3. Present or convey, formally and informally, information about the histories of architecture and science to informed audiences.
  4. Act with autonomy and initiative to carry out individual research in the histories of architecture and science.
Reading List
Pérez Gómez, Alberto. Architecture and the Crisis of Modern Science (Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1983).

Payne, Alina Alexandra. The Telescope and the Compass: Teofilo Gallaccini and the Dialogue between Architecture and Science in the Age of Galileo (Florence: L. S. Olschki, 2012).

Long, Pamela O.. "Architecture and the Sciences." In Companion to the History of Architecture, ed. Alina A. Payne, 1-29 (Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons, 2017).

Gerbino, Anthony, and Stephen Johnston. Compass and Rule : Architecture as Mathematical Practice in England, 1500-1750 (London, Oxford, New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press, 2009).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1. A critical understanding and reflective skill related to early modern architectural and scientific discourse.
2. A creative engagement with a wide range of research methods.
3. Ability to contribute effectively in peer discussion.
4. Ability to communicate skilfully with informed audiences.
Keywordsarchitecture,early modern,science,empiricism,knowledge,Renaissance,Baroque
Course organiserDr Elizabeth Petcu
Tel: (0131 6)50 2619
Course secretaryMr Brendan Sweeney
Tel: (0131 6)50 6329
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