Enroll in Harvard’s Free Online Architecture Course: An Introduction to the History & Theory of Architecture

So, you want to be an archi­tect. Where to begin? It seems like a very big aspi­ra­tion. One the­o­rist argues that mod­ernist archi­tec­ture has been “char­ac­ter­ized by a thau­matur­gic… ambi­tion which would heal the ‘dis­eases’ of indi­vid­u­als and soci­ety.” As any­one who’s spent much time in a hous­ing project, face­less office park, or strip mall might attest, more recent approach­es can also have “the pow­er of hurt­ing.”

If you’re intent on wield­ing the pow­er of archi­tec­ture for good, you’ll need many years of study and appren­tice­ship. But whether you’re just get­ting your feet wet or have already wad­ed into the field, you’ll like­ly gain quite a lot of under­stand­ing from “The Archi­tec­tur­al Imag­i­na­tion,” a free online course from Har­vard’s Grad­u­ate School of Design, in which you will “learn how to ‘read’ archi­tec­ture as a cul­tur­al expres­sion as well as a tech­ni­cal achieve­ment.” The course, which begins on Feb­ru­ary 28th, is free, but for $99 stu­dents can also receive a cer­tifi­cate of com­ple­tion.

“Archi­tec­ture is one of the most com­plex­ly nego­ti­at­ed and glob­al­ly rec­og­nized cul­tur­al prac­tices,” notes the course intro­duc­tion. Build­ing design “involves all of the tech­ni­cal, aes­thet­ic, polit­i­cal, and eco­nom­ic issues at play with­in a giv­en soci­ety.” In addi­tion to cre­at­ing sin­gle-fam­i­ly dwellings, archi­tects are tasked with design­ing har­mo­nious spaces through which thou­sands of peo­ple might move on a dai­ly basis.

Suc­cess­ful design requires more than an under­stand­ing of the nec­es­sary rela­tion­ships between form and func­tion. “In some ways,” the course trail­er video above tells us, “it’s just what exceeds neces­si­ty that is archi­tec­ture. And it’s the open­ing onto that excess that makes archi­tec­ture a fun­da­men­tal­ly human endeav­or.”

Heal­ing soci­ety? Grasp­ing the big issues in arts, pol­i­tics, and engi­neer­ing? Design­ing for the “fun­da­men­tal­ly human”? These are deep briefs indeed. A more light­heart­ed approach to the field—the tongue-in-cheek “I Am an Archi­tect” rap above—suggests a cou­ple sim­pler pre­req­ui­sites for the aspir­ing archi­tect: a life­long pas­sion for mak­ing things (with blocks, Legos, Jen­ga, etc.), and, of course, a pair of black plas­tic glass­es. If you can relate, sign up for Harvard’s “The Archi­tec­tur­al Imag­i­na­tion” and find many more edX Archi­tec­ture cours­es here.

via Arch Dai­ly

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Roman Archi­tec­ture: A Free Course from Yale 

Archi­tec­ture Stu­dio: Build­ing in Land­scapes (A Free Course from MIT) 

A is for Archi­tec­ture: 1960 Doc­u­men­tary on Why We Build, from the Ancient Greeks to Mod­ern Times 

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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Comments (6)
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  • Noel Homu says:

    I am a sec­ondary school teacher with diplo­ma. I want­ed to obtain batch­e­lo in edu­ca­tion at your good uni­ver­si­ty. Thank you Noel HOMU.

  • Marjorie Joyce Adalla says:

    Hi I’m a grade 11 stu­dent and I want­ed to enroll into this online course for archi­tec­ture as a prepa­ra­tion for my col­lege.

  • Ester Precious Makanga says:

    How are you. I have com­plet­ed my A Lev­el and l want to enroll into this online course for archi­tec­ture

  • Tshepo Given says:

    Hel­lo. I’m Tshe­po Giv­en Mokoe­na. I’m from pre­to­ria, Gaut­eng in South Africa. I’m real­ly pas­sion­ate about archi­tec­ture. I want to be a qual­i­fied archi­tec­ture and I promise to give my 100% com­mit­ment to study­ing if ever the school accept my request, Thank you so much.

  • Abd Almalk Nsraldain Daifallah Mohamed says:

    اريد تعلم الهندسه المعماريه

  • Miss Weraphatra Mongkolnam says:

    I like learn your les­son that’s not bor­ing and I real­ly like song. You pre­sent­ed very fan­ci­nat­ing.

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