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Architectural Theory: From Vitruvius until Today


Chestnova E.

Course director


The course offers a broad overview of the main contributions to architectural theory. It covers two thousand years of thinking and writing, but concentrates in particular on the last three centuries. Within this timespan it traces changes and continuities concerning topics, ideas, notions and parameters, conceiving architectural theory as an ongoing conversation about architecture. In doing so, theoretical models are considered within wider cultural contexts.The thematic lectures focus on basic issues of architecture: architecture as a discipline; origins of architecture; conceptions of beauty, space  place, and transparency; politics and gender; anthropology of architecture; structure and function; semiotics/language.


Basic knowledge of main contributions to architectural theory from antiquity to the present day – introduction to key issues of architectural theory from antiquity to the present day, with particular attention to theoretical ideas developed from the 18th to the 20th century – conveying the skills for critical reading in general, and in particular for the critical analysis of the argumentation of various authors who wrote in different cultural contexts – evaluation of the impact of theories on architectural ideas – developing an understanding of different types of theoretical ideas and concepts

Teaching mode

In presence

Learning methods

90% Lectures
10% Seminars

Examination information

Paper: The students are expected to write a paper on a topic chosen within the context of the course.