MAT 214 

T-Th 8:00 a.m. - 10:05 a.m.; Spring 2009


Professor Julie Nicoletta

GWP 418

253-692-4468; fax: 253-692-5718


Office hours: T-Th 12:30-1:30 p.m. and by appointment


For Campus Info: 253-383-INFO


Course Description:

This course will examine nineteenth- to twenty-first-century architecture and its origins. Through slide lectures, readings, and walking tours, we will focus on issues concerning function, style, technology, urbanism, regionalism, and sustainability to address the diverse forces that have shaped modern architecture.


Course Objectives:

Students will gain an understanding of the significance of architecture in the development of the modern world. Through in-class discussions and walking tours, students will acquire skills to visually analyze buildings. Equally important to the class will be the development of research, writing, and critical-thinking skills through numerous assignments including quizzes and papers.


Required Readings:

Alan Colquhoun. Modern Architecture, 2002.

Ulrich Conrads, ed. Programs and Manifestoes on 20th-century Architecture, 1970.

Sylvan Barnet. A Short Guide to Writing about Art, 9th ed., 2008.


Optional Reading:

William J. R. Curtis. Modern Architecture Since 1900, 3rd ed, 1996.



This course is being taught with a corresponding website; the link to this site will be found at:


Grading and Evaluation:

Class participation and preparation                         5%

Library Assignment                                                 5%

Architectural Terms (5% each)                              10%

Paper 1                                                                    25%

Paper 2                                                                    35% 

Quiz 1                                                                     10%

Quiz 2                                                                     10%


Assessment Criteria

"A" work ("Superior") shows a comprehensive and mature grasp of the material presented. It demonstrates a student's capacity to consider issues fairly but critically, in new contexts and with reference to broader insights about modern architecture. "A" work demonstrates superior writing skills, proper citations, an aptitude for originality and flair, and an unwavering willingness to go beyond the standard arguments, cliches, etc. "A" work suffers from very few (usually no) errors relating to grammar, spelling, referencing, paragraph development and sentence structure.


"B" work ("Good") shows a solid grasp of the material presented. However, it typically lacks the originality, nuance and detail of "A" work. "B" work shows that the material has been read and studied, but it is less impressive than "A" work, specifically in terms of the level of reflection, curiosity, textual support and/or analytical insight. "B" work may also suffer from several errors relating to grammar, spelling, citations, paragraph development and sentence structure. The less solid the grasp of the material and/or the more writing errors that appear, the lower the grade.


"C" work ("Average") shows some understanding of the material but is generally marred by analytical gaps, factual inaccuracies and/or missed opportunities for greater clarity. It also suffers from frequent writing problems and/or inadequate/improper citations.


"D" work ("Inferior") shows very limited understanding of the material; very limited evidence of reading; inadequate reflection; poor writing and inadequate and/or improper citations. "D" work is poorly structured, weak and/or partial in conception and delivery.


Failure ("Unacceptable"). So limited, poorly organized or misinterpreted as to justify a clear fail. Often characterized by very poor presentation, organization and writing, and inadequate and/or improper citations.


Class Participation and Preparation:

Class participation and preparation will be evaluated by:

1. Regular class attendance, including walking tours.

2. Your interpretation and analysis of the readings as reflected in the amount and quality of discussion.

3. Completion and quality of list of architectural terms and library assignment.


Attendance is extremely important for a number of reasons. First, we will spend a great deal of time analyzing architecture through slides and walking tours. Second, your insight and participation during discussions are a critical part of the class. We all learn from each other's perspectives; if you miss class, you will miss learning from these insights. Being clear-headed in discussion involves not just reading the assignments, but thinking about them, so allow yourself some time for reflection. Third, the discussions will not duplicate the readings, so you will miss a large portion of course content. If you have to miss a class, please inform me in writing before class (email is fine). Missing more than two class meetings during the quarter, regardless of the reason, will have a negative effect on your class participation grade.


Assignments: running list of architectural terms, library assignment, two papers, two quizzes.


List of Architectural Terms: You are responsible for keeping a running list of architectural terms that you come across in all course readings. This list will help you build a knowledge of architectural terminology that you will need for your other assignments. Each set must have at least 20 terms, each with a brief definition derived from a dictionary of architecture. This list will be due two times during the quarter.


Library Assignment: instructions for assignment will be handed out in class.  



Note: Papers will be graded for clarity of composition and grammar as well as content. All assignments must be typed, double-spaced with one-inch margins. All sources must be cited in footnotes or endnotes using The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed., available in the library and summarized in A Short Guide to Writing about Art. Failure to do your own work or to cite the work of others properly will constitute plagiarism and result in a 0.0 for the assignment. In addition, all assignments must be turned in on time. Late assignments will be dropped one-half grade for each day late, except in extreme circumstances. No extensions will be granted except for a written medical excuse presented before the due date of the assignment. No assignments will be accepted by email. It is not acceptable to turn in what is substantially the same paper to two different courses.


Barnet’s A Short Guide to Writing about Art is an excellent guide to describing, analyzing and interpreting art and architecture. You will be responsible for its entire content.


General Evaluation of Written Work: Writing effectively means writing clearly and concisely and using correct grammar. Excellent papers will meet all of the following criteria:

1. The paper addresses all of the questions and issues posed in the assignment.

2. The paper draws upon relevant readings and class discussions. The paper applies what you have been learning.

3. The paper adds your own insights to the analyses. The quality of your own ideas is important. Show your own independent thinking as much as possible.

4. The paper is convincing. You have the responsibility to justify your arguments. You must back up your points or conclusion. Support your argument by using evidence from the class readings or other sources. Use explicit examples to illustrate what you say. Examples or ideas from primary and secondary sources must be cited using footnotes or endnotes. Do not assume anything on the part of the reader.

5. The paper is well organized. It has an introduction with a thesis (argument), it has a body supporting this thesis, and it ends with a conclusion summarizing the main points.

6. The paper has no spelling and grammatical errors.


Paper 1:

Write a 3-page formal analysis of a single building in the Puget Sound region. You need to choose a building that you can actually see, at least from the outside. A formal analysis assesses the building’s form, which is made up of such things as line, surface, shape, volume, materials, textures, and colors. Do not merely describe the building; show how the described building functions. Be sure to include an image of the building in your paper and an elevation drawing of your own making. If you are unclear about how to write a formal analysis, consult the Barnet book, especially pages 87-98.


Paper 2:

Write a 5-page paper comparing and contrasting any two buildings from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries. You must include a formal analysis of the buildings in relation to one another. In addition, you should discuss not just how the buildings function, but what they mean. That is, how do they represent the intentions of their designers or builders and their particular historic periods? Include images of the buildings. For writing comparative papers, consult the Barnet book, especially pages 135-150. You must use at least five scholarly sources (online journals are fine) to support the research for this paper and cite those sources properly in parenthetical citations, endnotes, or footnotes and in a bibliography following the Chicago Manual of Style format. If you are unclear about how to write a formal analysis, consult A Short Guide, especially pages 113-125.



The quizzes will consist of several identifications of buildings and architectural terms. Quizzes will be taken in class and last for no more than 30 minutes per quiz.


Classroom Etiquette:

Food and drink are acceptable as long as you do not disrupt the class or bother your neighbors. Electronic devices (including, but not limited to, cell phones, pagers, blackberries, digital assistants) may not be used. Activities that are non-relevant to the course, such as checking/sending email, playing games, and surfing the web, are considered disruptive activities when class is in session. Please be respectful and attentive when others are speaking in class. Arriving late or leaving early should never happen except in exceptional cases.



If you choose to drop the course, you are responsible for reporting the change to the registrar's office. If you stop coming to class and do not contact the registrar, you will end up receiving a failing grade even if you attended only once or not at all.


If you would like me to mail your final project to you, bring a self-addressed, stamped 9½ X 12 inch envelope with you to the last day of class. I will be on sabbatical next year and will not be available to deliver papers after this spring. Remember that you need papers for the portfolio that you must complete before you can graduate, so keeping all your papers across your career at UWT is a good idea.


The Counseling Center offers short-term, problem-focused counseling to UW Tacoma students who may feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of college, work, family, and relationships. Counselors are available to help students cope with stresses and personal issues that may interfere with their ability to perform in school. The service is provided confidentially and without additional charge to currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students. To schedule an appointment, please call 692-4522 or stop by the Student Counseling Center (SCC), temporarily located in Cherry Parkes 206. Additional information can also be found by visiting

DISABILITY SUPPORT SERVICES (Student Health and Wellness - SHAW)


The University of Washington Tacoma is committed to making physical facilities and instructional programs accessible to students with disabilities. Disability Support Services (DSS) functions as the focal point for coordination of services for students with disabilities. In compliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, any enrolled student at UW Tacoma who has an appropriately documented physical, emotional, or mental disability that "substantially limits one or more major life activities [including walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working]," is eligible for services from DSS. If you are wondering if you may be eligible for accommodations on our campus, please contact the DSS reception desk at 692-4522, or visit










Introduction; Looking at Architecture; A Quick Tour of Western Architecture

Barnet, skim all; read sections on architecture and writing research papers, pp. 1-46, 87-98, and 266-344.



No class.

Optional: Curtis, Intro.

No class.


No class.


No class.


A Quick Tour of Western Architecture; The Industrial Revolution

Colquhoun, Intro.; Optional: Curtis, Chs. 1, 2.



Classical Rationalism in France; Art Nouveau and Other Decorative Reactions

Colquhoun, Ch. 1; Conrads, 19-24; Optional: Curtis, Ch. 3.



England: The Arts and Crafts Movement

Optional: Curtis, Ch. 5



American Architecture from 1776-1910: Jefferson to Sullivan

Colquhoun, Ch. 2; Optional: Curtis, Ch. 4.

Library Assignment due


Frank Lloyd Wright: The Early Years

Conrads, 25; Optional: Curtis, Ch. 7.

Architectural terms due


Architecture in Tacoma


Paper 1 due

Walking Tour


Germany, Italy and Holland: Futurism, the Deutscher Werkbund, and de Stijl

Colquhoun, Chs. 3, 4; Conrads, 26-27, 34-40, 64-67, 78-80; Optional: Curtis, Chs. 6, 8, 9.



Germany: Expressionism and the Architecture of the Bauhaus

Colquhoun, Chs. 5, 6; Conrads, 46-53, 74-75, 81-82, 95-97, 102; Optional: Curtis, Chs. 11.

Quiz 1


Russian Constructivism/ Urban Planning

Conrads, 56, 71, 87-94, 121-122; Optional: Curtis, Ch. 12.



Le Corbusier

Colquhoun, Ch. 7; Conrads, 59-62, 99-101, 124-125; Optional: Curtis, Chs. 10, 16, 23, 24.




Architecture and Urban Planning in the United States

Conrads, 137-147; Optional: Curtis, Chs. 13, 18.

Film: Shock of the New, Part IV

Walking Tour


The International Style

Colquhoun, Ch. 11; Conrads, 154; Optional: Curtis, Ch.15, 22.



The Architecture of Fascism; Cold War Architecture

Colquhoun, Ch. 9, 12; Optional: Curtis, Chs. 17, 20.

Architectural terms due


Modernism in South America and Japan/Postmodernism

Optional: Curtis, Chs. 21, 27.



Modernism and Postmodernism: The Making of the Getty Center

Optional: Curtis, Chs. 30, 32, 33.

Paper 2 due

Film: Concert of Wills


Modernism, Postmodernism, and Beyond

Optional: Curtis, Chs. 34, 35



Sustainable Architecture


Quiz 2

Walking Tour



Selected Bibliography


Banham, Reyner. Theory and Design in the First Machine Age. 2d ed. New York: Praeger, 1967.


Barnet, Sylvan. A Short Guide to Writing about Art. 9th ed. New York: Longman, 2008.


Bluestone, Daniel. Constructing Chicago. Yale University Press, 1991.


Brand, Stewart. How Buildings Learn. New York: Viking, 1994.


Ching, Frank. A Visual Dictionary of Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1995.


Condit, Carl W. American Building: Materials and Techniques from the First Colonial Settlements to the Present. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982.


Conrads, Ulrich, ed. Programs and Manifestoes on 20th-century Architecture. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1970.**


Colquhoun, Alan. Modern Architecture. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.**


Crowley, Walt. National trust guide, Seattle: America's guide for architecture and history travelers. New York : Preservation Press, J. Wiley & Sons, 1998.


Curtis, William J. R. Modern Architecture Since 1900. 3rd ed. London: Phaidon Press, 1996.**


Fleming, John, Hugh Honour, and Nikolaus Pevsner. The Penguin Dictionary of Architecture. 4th ed. London; New York: Penguin, 1991.


Forty, Adrian. Words and Buildings: A Vocabulary of Modern Architecture. New York: Thames and Hudson, 2000.**


Frampton, Kenneth. Modern Architecture: A Critical History. 3rd ed. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1992.


Friedman, Alice T. Women and the Making of the Modern House: A Social and Architectural History. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1998.


Giedion, Siegfried. Space, Time and Architecture. 5th ed., rev. and enl. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1967.


Hitchcock, Henry-Russell, and Philip Johnson. The International Style. New York: W.W. Norton, 1996.


Katz, Peter, ed. The New Urbanism: Toward an Architecture of Community. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1994.


Kostof, Spiro. A History of Architecture: Settings and Rituals. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.


Kreisman, Lawrence. The Arts and Crafts Movement in the Pacific Northwest. Portland, Or.: Timber Press, 2007.


Le Corbusier. The Radiant City; Elements of a Doctrine of Urbanism to be used as the Basis of Our Machine-age Civilization. New York: Orion Press, 1967.


Le Corbusier. Towards a New Architecture. New York: Dover Publications, 1986.


Levine, Neil. The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996.


Levy, Matthys, and Mario Salvadori. Why Buildings Fall Down: How Structures Fail. New York : W.W. Norton, 1992.**


Mumford, Lewis. Roots of Contemporary American Architecture. New York: Reinhold, 1952.


Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, ed. Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects. Seattle: University of Washington Press in association with AIA Seattle, 1994.**


Peter, John. The Oral History of Modern Architecture. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1994.


Pevsner, Nikolaus. Pioneers of Modern Design: From William Morris to Walter Gropius. Rev. ed. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1968.


Salvadori, Mario. Why Buildings Stand Up: The Strength of Architecture. New York: Norton, 1990.**


Scully, Vincent. American Architecture and Urbanism. New rev. ed. New York: H. Holt, 1988.


Smith, Terry. Making the Modern: Industry, Art, and Design in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993.


Sullivan, Louis H. Kindergarten Chats and Other Writings. New York: Dover Publications, 1979.


Summerson, John. The Classical Language of Architecture. Rev. and enl. ed. London: Thames and Hudson, 1980.**


Summerson, John. Heavenly Mansions, and Other Essays on Architecture. London: Cresset Press, 1949.


Tanzer, Kim, and Rafael Longoria. The Green Braid: Towards an Architecture of Ecology, Economy, and Equity. London and New York: Routledge, 2007.


Tzonis, Alexander, et. al. Architecture in North America since 1960. Boston: Bulfinch Press, 1995.


Wolfe, Tom. From Bauhaus to Our House. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1981.


Woodbridge, Sally B., and Roger Montgomery. A Guide to Architecture in Washington State: An Environmental Perspective. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1980.**


Wright, Frank Lloyd. The Disappearing City. New York: W. F. Payson, 1932.


**on reserve at UWT library.