Global history of architecture: final exam

 Select two of the following three questions, answer them with essay-style responses typed in MS Word format or similar, and upload your essays to Blackboard. Each essay is limited to 500 words (1000 words total for the two essays), and therefore making your responses concise and focused is part of the challenge. Book A Global History of Architecture by Francis D.K. Ching 

Due date:  Monday, April 29 (12:00pm) 

Type your name at the top of your exam file, and identify the question that each of your essays responds to. The exam is open-book, open-note format, and you may refer to lecture slides that have been posted to Blackboard. 

A strong answer will do the following:

  • Draw on specific arguments made in the course reading [for Graduate Students, this refers both to the textbook and the additional assigned readings]
  • Draw on specific arguments from the course lectures 
  • Utilize specific examples of architecture covered in lecture and/or reading to  make an argument


1. Nijō Castle and Katsura Imperial Villa can be read as competing uses of architecture to project power in 17th century Japan. Analyze each building complex in terms of its organization, aesthetics, materials, and the choreography of human experience, comparing the ways that they supported the political and cultural authority of the Shogunate and the Imperial family respectively. 

2. Spanish colonial authorities built and rebuilt South American cities in an attempt to exert cultural dominance over the Native American population. Analyze this process in the context of Cuzco. Describe the architecture and culture of Incan Cuzco, and how one or more Spanish colonial buildings or urban spaces were designed to exert dominance in this context, through their location, material, ornament, and function. Why did the Spanish pursue the colonial project and how did they justify its physical and cultural violence?

3. Modernism in architecture was not a singular and universal cultural practice despite claims to the contrary. On the contrary, we examined projects by Le Corbusier, Eileen Gray, Costa and Niemeyer, and Luis Barragan that illustrate the diversity of the movement. Choose two of these projects to compare. How did each of these two, through their form, materials, functions, and approach to site,      define modernism and its possibilities in a unique way. 

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