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

Postgraduate Course: Studies in Early Modern Architecture and Science (ARHI11016)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines research on the rapport between architecture and what is now known as science, between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. By critically examining 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. It also considers how historians in recent decades have variously understood the relationships between early modern architecture and science.
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, and the nature of research. It will also scrutinise how historians in recent decades have evaluated the exchanges between early modern architecture and science. Through such investigations, students will uncover how interactions between experts in architecture and the sciences shaped modern attitudes about the ways in which interdisciplinary knowledge is formed.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
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 comprehensive and integrated understanding of how the history of architecture intersects with the history of science in the early modern period, including the characteristics, terminologies, and norms of such interactions.
  2. Apply knowledge, skills, practices and thinking in the history of exchanges between architecture and science to specialised research.
  3. Present or convey, formally and informally, information about the histories of architecture and science to peers as well as more informed specialists.
  4. Show initiative and leadership in contributing to new thinking in research on early modern 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 of principle and specialised theories, concepts, and principles related to early modern architectural and scientific discourse
2. A knowledge and critical understanding of recent developments in the literature on early modern science and architecture
3. Ability to communicate skilfully with peers and specialist audiences.
4. A critically-informed familiarity with contemporary issues in the study of early modern architecture and science
KeywordsArchitecture,early modern,science,empiricism,knowledge
Course organiserDr Elizabeth Petcu
Tel: (0131 6)50 2619
Course secretaryMr Brendan Sweeney
Tel: (0131 6)50 6329
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