Renaissance to Neoclassicism - ARCH5440

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 5 15 (7.5) Manolo Guerci checkmark-circle


This module addresses the developments in architecture from the early fifteenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth century. The cultural context of the time will be studied by outlining the socio-economic conditions, the new attitudes to knowledge, arts, history and architecture. Architectural treatises of the early Renaissance and the related developments in the practices of painting and sculpture will be brought into the consideration in order to highlight specific innovation and dynamics of architecture. The underlying conditions of the movements known as Renaissance, Mannerism, Baroque, Rococo and Neo-classicism will be addressed and relevant buildings, objects of art, architectural texts and dominant narratives will be studied. Landscape design will be discussed through the comparative analysis between the formal landscape design and the phenomenon of the picturesque. The architecture of symbolism and utopianism is also considered. The eighteenth-century organization of life and labour, the emerging spaces of production, as well as the establishment of the academies, museums, and other institutions will be addressed, in order to highlight the way in which these phenomena contributed to the rise of the architectural profession and the building guilds. Typical forms of historic building technologies will be discussed, together with their relevance to current technologies.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 20 hours
Private study hours: 130 hours
Total study hours: 150 hours

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Illustrated Essay (2,500 words) (100%)

Reassessment methods

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Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Blunt, A. (1982) Guide to Baroque Rome, London: Harper and Row
Bergdoll, B. (2000) European Architecture 1750-1890, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Boullée, Étienne-Louis, (1793) Architecture, An Essay on Art, Bibliothéque Nationale, Paris edited and annotated by Helen Rosenau, translated by Sheila de Vallée.
Hale J.R., Renaissance Europe 1480-1520. (2000) Oxford and Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers
Kaufmann, E. (1955) Architecture in the Age of Reason: Baroque and Post-Baroque in England, Italy, and France. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.
Kruft, H.W. (1994) A History of Architectural Theory from Vitruvius to the Present, New York: Zwemmer and Princeton Architectural Press, pp128-271.
Laugier, M.A. (1977 / 1753) An Essay on Architecture, trans/ by W and A Herrmann, Los Angeles: Hennessey and Ingalls Inc.
Lemerle F. & Pauwels, Y., (2008) Baroque Architecture 1600-1750, Paris: Flammarion
Millon, H. (1999) The Triumph of the Baroque: Architecture in Europe 1600-1750, New York: Rizzoli
Panofsky, E. (1960) Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art, New York: Harper and Row
Rykwert, J. (1983) The First Moderns: The Architects of the Eighteenth Century, London and Cambridge MA: MIT Press.
Summerson, J. (1977) Architecture in Britain 1530–1830, Pelican
Vidler, A. (1989) The Writing of the Walls: Architectural Theory in the Late Enlightenment, Princeton" Princeton University Press.
Watkin, D. (2005) A History of Western Architecture. London: Laurence King.
Wittkower, R. ((3d ed. 1962, repr. 1965). Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism. London: WW Norton & Company.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to demonstrate:

1 A knowledge of the cultural, social and intellectual histories, theories and technologies that influence the design of buildings
2 A knowledge of the influence of history and theory on the spatial, social, and technological aspects of architecture
3 A knowledge of how theories, practices and technologies of the arts influence architectural design
4 A knowledge of the creative application of the fine arts and their relevance and impact on architecture
5 A understanding of the need to critically review precedents relevant to the function, organisation and technological strategy of design proposals
6 An awareness of concepts of historical change
7 An awareness of the Western tradition of design
8 A knowledge of the historical development of European architecture, and of its relationship to the English mainstream
9 Knowledge of key buildings from Western architectural history

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to demonstrate:

1 An ability to apply a modest range of communication methods and media to present design proposals clearly and effectively
2 An ability to evaluate evidence, arguments and assumptions in order to make and present sound judgments within a structured discourse relating to architectural culture,
theory and design
3 Ability to assimilate material from a variety of sources and to contextualise information


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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