Improve Your Architectural Knowledge With A Free Course From Harvard: The Architectural Imagination

Improve Your Architectural Knowledge With A Free Course From Harvard: The Architectural Imagination

Architecture Business

There’s no time like the present to sharpen your understanding of architecture given the current times we are living in – with millions (billions?!) of us in lockdown around the world, the amount of resources being made available for free is staggering. One of them, the Harvard course “The Architectural Imagination” may be one of the best investments you can make during this downtime.

Yes, you read that right: this totally free course is open to anyone who registers, and promises to teach you how to read, analyze, and understand different forms of architectural representation, as well as give a basic background for academic study or a professional career in architecture (hey, that’s us!). It also will spend time going over the social and historical contexts behind major works of architecture, which are great conversation points to have in the bag when meeting with and conversing with clients.

The course is ten weeks long, starts on April 21st, and asks for a time commitment of 3-5 hours per week. The course is taught in English with closed captioning available, and promises an ‘introductory’ difficulty, so everyone, even without an architecture background, can probably learn something from it.

Architecture engages a culture’s deepest social values and expresses them in material, aesthetic form. This course will teach you how to understand architecture as both cultural expression and technical achievement. Vivid analyses of exemplary buildings, and hands-on exercises in drawing and modeling, will bring you closer to the work of architects and historians.

The first part of the course introduces the idea of the architectural imagination. Perspective drawing and architectural typology are explored and you will be introduced to some of the challenges in writing architectural history.

Then we address technology as a component of architecture. You will discover ways that innovative technology can enable and promote new aesthetic experiences, or disrupt age-old traditions. Technological advances changed what could be built, and even what could even be thought of as architecture.

Finally, we’ll confront architecture’s complex relationship to its social and historical contexts and its audiences, achievements, and aspirations. You will learn about architecture’s power of representation and see how it can produce collective meaning and memory.

Architecture is one of the most complexly negotiated and globally recognized cultural practices, both as an academic subject and a professional career. Its production involves all of the technical, aesthetic, political, and economic issues at play within a given society. Join us as we examine how architecture engages, mediates, and expresses a culture’s complex aspirations.

-Harvard Course Description

To sign up, check out the page description, and read more about the course, click here. If anyone takes the course I would love to hear what you thought – I may just sign up myself with all of the time on my hands.

Many thanks to Gustavo Heringer for tipping us off about this!

Mike Kelley is an architecture and interiors photographer who has photographed projects all over the world. He is a self proclaimed airplane food enthusiast and the founder of the Architectural Photography Almanac.
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