ARTH-462-01 DC: Architecture and City
Fall for 2017-2018
This course addresses the evolution of Washington, D.C.’s built environment from L’Enfant’s 1791 plan to the modern era. The city’s development will be studied via a broad chronological perspective as well as individual case studies. Along with iconic monuments and government structures, we will explore a selection of the city’s residential housing, park space, embassies, and commercial buildings. The development of areas such as Southwest, Anacostia, Capitol Hill, Sheridan Circle-Kalorama and Foggy Bottom will be addressed.
Questions to be considered include: How has the cityscape changed over time and what have been the key transformation drivers? To what extent have international design and historical precedent influenced the capital’s development? How have politics and government regulations shaped Washington, D.C.’s evolution? In what ways have issues of race and class impacted the built environment?
Students will gain familiarity with architectural styles and the art ornamenting the city’s buildings will also play a role in our study. Current strategies for sustainable structures and development will be noted.
Most weekly meetings will include a brief lecture, a discussion of readings and often a short student presentation. As a group, we will visit at least three area sites. Possible destinations include the Embassy of Finland, the Library of Congress, the National Building Museum, Department of the Interior and/or a residential neighborhood.
In addition to discussion participation, brief presentations and reading assessments, each student will develop a research topic to culminate in a term paper.
A wide selection of readings will be provided through Canvas. Two to three more general books will be suggested for purchase.