Regardless of the scale of the project, architecture has an indissoluble relation
with the culture in which it is produced, and this implies a relation with politics,
sociology, philosophy, economics, technology, etc., which may be more or less
This project asks you to undertake a comparative critique of two pieces of pretwentieth
century architecture, in their contemporary context. Your critique will
make use of historical and contextual information from your lectures and
research, as well as your own first-hand observations from your London Walk.
As a researcher, you should be aim to make connections between:
• The fabric of London, observing specific pre-twentieth century examples
of architecture (you will be given a list of significant and suitable
buildings from your walk on the day, and be asked to make a short group
presentation to recap these examples)
• The historical narratives and contexts surrounding that piece, period and
style of architecture, as discussed in your Contextual Studies lecture
• Contrasting buildings which highlight your critique of the first, historic
As you are choosing your own case studies, what you produce will not be a
definitive history, but your own objective, thoughtful research. Try to enjoy the
investigation, and the opportunity to make a critical analysis of your own. This
should be rooted in primary observation, rather than ideas in the abstract. It will
also enable you to really study a part of the city where you live for the next few
You will need to investigate and explain the historical and geographical context
of your chosen examples, trying to understand how London may have been
influenced by certain architectural and social agendas.
This project has three core purposes:
• to explore the connections between architecture, cultural context and
• to develop your skills in constructing and substantiating your
perspective on architecture
• to demonstrate your knowledge and awareness of resources available
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Outline of Activities
To research is to immerse ourselves into an adventure, an expanding spiral
where the more you research, the more you discover ways to expand your
research. Your research should include multiple resources, books, journals, etc.
For this first essay you should make use of a minimum of six different
references, of which at least two should be books (not just the internet). If
sourcing quotes and information from the internet, try to keep your references
to a high standard (look on JSTOR, not Wikipedia).
You may want to consult quality journals, such as The Architectural Review,
Domus, Log, The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians etc.
You will need to establish a comparative analysis between your chosen example
and another chosen either as on site, or chosen from a complementary period or
place in history. This should be supported by your own graphical analysis and
research materials, and include a bibliography of your references.
Introduction: A brief description of the context of the essay and the issues it will
explore; try to engage the reader in the relevance of the argument and your own
approach towards it.
Synthesis: (research and analysis) Based on your research and analysis, you
need to construct a well supported argument about the relation between
architecture, context and ideals, using your main case study in London, which
you will have observed in person, as a resource to develop and explain this
This essay is intended to explore the connections between architecture and
zeitgeist in relation to the implementation of certain ideologies in the material
production of space. In order to achieve the aims of this exercise, it is necessary
to develop a thoughtful research and analysis of, at least, the following topics:
• London architectural history, specific to your site visit: You will be
provided with some materials pertaining to specific areas during your
walk on February 20th/21st 2017.
• Specific case studies: We will aggregate a list of buildings we’ve seen,
and add others in London of note, in the sessions following your walk.
• Context of design : analyse the context you observe against comparative
examples in history.
• The figure of the architect: agendas and ideals. Analyse how these may
have influenced the work you’re looking at. What was it trying to test and
Project Brief BA (Hons) Architecture Stage 1 2016-17
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promote, in its structure, style and programme? Consider which social
and aesthetic values these projects were promoting.
Conclusion: What have you learned from this essay, what is your personal
reflection about your argument. Please note that the conclusion is not a
summary of the essay.
Please note that these topics are for only a reference on what to research and
analyse in order to build and support your argument about the essay topic;
these are not exclusive and the order in this list does not necessarily dictate the
potential structure of the essay.
Learning Outcomes (Marking
Upon successful completion of this unit you will be able to demonstrate to an
9. ability to gather and investigate information through the effective use of
a range of sources (MC Research);
10. analysis of the outcomes of the information (MC Analysis);
11. basic understanding of the contexts of architecture, and how
architecture relates to the broader field of art and design (MC Subject
12. ability to employ academic conventions including the appropriate
methods of citing written and visual work (MC Communication and
You will develop one critical essay of 1500-1750 words investigating two pieces
of pre-twentieth century architecture. Please note that the bibliography and
footnotes do not count in this total number.
Your essay should include quotes from your research with appropriate
attribution, alongside graphic analysis from your own drawings and
photographs, as well as research material.