People travel around the world to be able to experience other places and cultures. One thing that everyone undoubtedly notices in a new city is the architecture, which reveals so much about a location, its people, and culture. Buildings and monuments become the legacy that we leave behind, offering insights into the socio-political and cultural aspects of the period they’re from. 

For an architecture student, the history of architecture plays a very important role in the understanding of the concept of design. Architects study the history of architecture so that they can understand how cities and building designs evolved over time. Studying history helps architects create a more inclusive design that is responsive to their city’s cultural background.

There are many courses available online, not only for architecture students but for anyone interested in knowing their history. Here’s a list of 10 courses that cover the history of various regions around the world:

1. A Global History of Architecture on EDx

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Historic Periods of Architecture_©www.elementalpdi.com

This highly recommended course by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on EDx is a series of 24 lectures covering the history of architecture around the world. Each lecture analyzes a particular architectural transformation of a specific region or time. In this course, one can learn how architecture has developed with the world’s culture, religion, and history.

Duration: Estimated 13 weeks (5–7 hours per week)

Available on: www.edx.org/course/a-global-history-of-architecture-2

Course Fee: ₹10,858 for the Verified Track which comes with graded assignments and a completion certificate. Students can choose the Audit Track for free which doesn’t come with a certificate.

2. The Architectural Imagination on EDx

 

 10 History of Architecture courses available Online Sheet2
The Architectural Imagination _©www.edx.org/course/the-architectural-imagination#!?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social-post&utm_campaign=course-architectural-imagination-harvardx-gsd1x-feb2017)

Another highly recommended course on Edx, The Architectural Imagination by Harvard University is a course on the history of architecture that teaches fundamental principles of architecture by studying some of history’s most important buildings. Not only does the course teach you about social and historical contexts behind major works of architecture of the past, but it also covers the basic principles of design. It’s divided into three parts with 3 or 4 modules each.

Duration: Estimated 10 weeks (3–5 hours per week)

Available on: www.edx.org/course/the-architectural-imagination

Course Fee: ₹14,501 for the Verified Track which comes with graded assignments and a completion certificate. Students can choose the Audit Track for free which doesn’t come with a certificate. The Audit track is available till 11th August 2021.

 10 History of Architecture courses available Online Sheet3
The Architectural Imagination_©www.edx.org/course/the-architectural-imagination#!?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social-post&utm_campaign=course-architectural-imagination-harvardx-gsd1x-feb2017

3. The Architecture of the English Medieval Cathedral, a short online course by Oxford University

 10 History of Architecture courses available Online Sheet4
Lincoln Cathedral _©www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_Cathedral

This course aims to help you understand the rich architectural story of the medieval English cathedral and analyse how the architectural style developed over time. You will get to explore the architecture of the English cathedral from its beginnings in the Anglo-Saxon period to the impact of the Reformation on the design of cathedrals in the 16th century. The course is divided into 10 units covering various topics such as the form and style, cathedral architecture, architecture, and worship, etc.  

Duration: 10 units over 10 weeks (approximately 10 hours of study time each week)

Available on: www.conted.ox.ac.uk/courses/architecture-of-the-english-medieval-cathedral-online

Course Fee: £300 (₹31,000) including graded assignments and a completion certificate. Students who require financial support are eligible for financial aid.

4. Modern Japanese Architecture Part 1 and 2 on EDx

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Modern Japanese Architecture Part 1 and 2 on EDx_© https://www.history.com/topics/japan/meiji-restoration

Part one of this history of architecture course focuses on the key elements of modern Japanese architecture and history along with the Westernization from 1868 to 1945. The second part picks up where part one left off and talks about traditional Japanese architecture with the introduction of Western building styles in the 19th century to the influence of Le Corbusier in the mid-20th century. This course teaches you how Japanese architecture differs from that of the West and also gives you a brief cultural history of Japan in the modern period.

Duration: PART 1 – Estimated 5 weeks (3–5 hours per week), PART 2- 6 Weeks

Available on: PART 1- www.edx.org/course/modern-japanese-architecture-part-1-from-meiji-res

PART 2 – www.edx.org/new/course/modern-japanese-architecture-from-meiji-restoratio

Course Fee: ₹9327 for the Verified Track of both courses combined which comes with graded assignments and a completion certificate. Students can choose the Audit Track for free which doesn’t come with a certificate.

5. Islamic Art and Architecture, a short online course by Oxford University

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Khalili Family Trust – MPhil Islamic Art and Archaeology_©www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/courses/mphil-islamic-art-and-architecture

This course is for anyone interested in understanding Islamic art and culture, by exploring the relationship between the Islamic faith and its connection to art and architecture. The course is divided into 10 topics and covers the main characteristics of Islamic art and architecture and its regional and dynastic diversity.

Duration: 10 units over 10 weeks (approximately 10 hours of study time each week)

Available on: https://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/courses/islamic-art-and-architecture-online

Course Fee: £312 (₹32272) including graded assignments and a completion certificate. Students who require financial support are eligible for financial aid.

6. Exploring Architecture, Buildings, and Monuments Through the Ages on Alison

This free online history of architecture course covers details about buildings and monuments through the ages, all the way from the Roman Empire through to the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Baroque architecture as well as 19th and 20th-century buildings. The course is divided into 4 modules that cover the various topics.

Duration: approximately 3 hours per module

Available on: www.alison.com/course/exploring-architecture-buildings-and-monuments-through-the-ages

Course Fee: Free. On getting above 80% in the final assessment, you receive a completion certificate. 

7. Roman Architecture on Coursera

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©The Villas and Houses of Pompeii and Herculaneum_©www.pompeiitours.it

Roman Architecture by Yale University is a free-to-learn course for people who love to learn about the history of architecture and want to discover the power of architecture to shape politics, society, and culture. The course is divided into four weeks of learning and covers many topics including the evolution of Roman architecture from the Iron Age through the Late Republic, th

Duration: 4 weeks (approx 10 hours per week)

Available on: www.coursera.org/learn/roman-architecture

Course Fee: Free. On completing the assessments, you receive a completion certificate. 

8. Age of Cathedrals on Coursera

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©Notre Dame de Paris www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notre-Dame_de_Paris

Age of Cathedrals by Yale University is a free-to-learn history of architecture course. It provides an introduction to Gothic Architecture focussing on Gothic Cathedrals. The course explores how the architecture of cathedrals was influenced by the art, literature, economy, and the social norms and the influence of the architecture on the same through the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The course is divided into 9 modules which cover the topic in detail.

Duration: 9 weeks (approx 18 hours in total)

Available on: www.coursera.org/learn/age-of-cathedrals

Course Fee: Free. On completing the assessments, you receive a completion certificate. 

9. Introduction to History of Architecture in India on Swayam

This is a free-to-learn course by NPTEL on Swayam, the online educational portal by the Indian Government. This course provides a brief introduction to the history of architecture in India, from the Indus Valley Civilization to the works of B.V. Doshi and provides a broad perspective. The course plan is divided into four weeks of lessons and it requires students to register for the sessions.

Duration: 4 weeks

Available on: https://onlinecourses.nptel.ac.in/noc21_ar04/preview

Course Fee: Free. To receive a certificate, you have to register and write a proctored exam for a fee of Rs 1000. 

10. History of Architecture Courses by Federico von Borstel on Udemy

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Introduction to History of Architecture

The last on the list is not one but several history of architecture courses by Federico von Borstel, a university professor and artist, on Udemy. The Art, Architecture, and Design of Ancient India, Islamic Architecture, Art Nouveau Architecture, Art and Design, The Temples of Ancient Egypt, Renaissance Architecture are some examples of courses taught by him. Each topic is divided into 15-20 short lectures and comes to approx. 3-4 hours.

Duration: 3-4 hours per course

Available on: www.udemy.com/user/federico-von-borstel/

Course Fee: ₹455 per course (discounted fee). Comes with a completion certificate.

References

edX. (n.d.). A Global History of Architecture. [online] Available at: http://www.edx.org/course/a-global-history-of-architecture-2

edX. (n.d.). The Architectural Imagination. [online] Available at: http://www.edx.org/course/the-architectural-imagination 

Oxford, U. of (n.d.). The Architecture of the English Medieval Cathedral (Online). [online] Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. Available at: http://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/courses/architecture-of-the-english-medieval-cathedral-online 

edX. (n.d.). Modern Japanese Architecture Part 1: From Meiji Restoration to the Pacific War. [online] Available at: http://www.edx.org/course/modern-japanese-architecture-part-1-from-meiji-res. ‌

Oxford, U. of (n.d.). Islamic Art and Architecture (Online). [online] Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. Available at: https://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/courses/islamic-art-and-architecture-online 

alison.com.(n.d.). Online Exploring Architecture, Buildings & Monuments Course | Alison. [online] Available at: https://www.alison.com/course/exploring-architecture-buildings-and-monuments-through-the-ages

Coursera. (n.d.). Roman Architecture. [online] Available at: http://www.coursera.org/learn/roman-architecture

Coursera. (n.d.). Age of Cathedrals. [online] Available at: http://www.coursera.org/learn/age-of-cathedrals 

onlinecourses.nptel.ac.in. (n.d.). Introduction to History of Architecture in India – Course. [online] Available at: https://onlinecourses.nptel.ac.in/noc21_ar04/preview 

Udemy. (n.d.). Federico von Borstel | Professor. [online] Available at: http://www.udemy.com/user/federico-von-borstel/ 

Author

Artist, dancer and writer Sanjana Ramesh is a soon-to-be architect trying to find the time to add ’amateur guitarist’ to the beginning of this sentence. Loves puppies and all things chocolate. She’s also really good at bad jokes. She hopes to find her place in the world of design through her words and illustrations.

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