Select two spaces/buildings, both with the same or similar function but from different historic periods (or exceptionally, from different architectural styles if several appear in the same period e.g. 19th century revivals) in order to compare them. If in doubt about the suitability of your selection, check with your tutor.
Geography students, may find focusing on function rather than architectural style more suitable for their areas of interest. There are plenty of opportunities to find interesting areas of comparison, as long as the buildings/installations where the functions are housed belong to different historical periods and there are changes in fuction/morphology to analyse and compare. If in doubt about the choice, check with your tutor.
The specific requirements are:
1. The buildings can be form anywhere in the world but at least one should be considered part of Western architecture.
2. Both structures should have the same or similar function. For example:
(a) Same: two protestant churches, one built in the 17th century and the other in the 20th;
I. a church built in the 12th century (hence under what is now known as Roman Catholicism) with one built after the Reformation (when adornment and decoration were not part of the design);
II. A Greek temple and a church (both are places of cult; one is pagan the other Christian).
3. Recommended criteria for selection:
I. Buildings that involved use of advanced technology; have historic relevance (a landmark building; designed by architect/engineer who is considered a pioneer; it is an example of engineering inventiveness, has interesting structural details.
II. Buildings that the student finds them interesting for design, aesthetic, historical or functional reasons.
Important: Care should be taken when selecting structures from the Victorian period. Although one building may look Gothic and the other Neoclassical, they are both from the same period. The 19th century, due to the Revivals, can be tricky, so verifying the dates of construction prior to the final selection is a must.
By comparison, the 20th century can be a bit more forgiving e.g. it is possible to compare a building from the 50s-60s (Modernism-International Style) with a Post-Modernist one. However contemporary architecture is quite difficult to define and in some cases the student would have to do research in order to find labels that have been used for that type of building e.g. eco-modernism, expressionist modern, contemporary expressionism. This is acceptable as long as the label is explained.
In summary: the comparison is more straightforward if the structures are from two periods far apart, as this makes much easier to detect changes in the function and style for purposes of the comparison.
2.2 Content: Requirements.
The student is free to present the building in a narrative style of his or her choice. However the description should contain the following:
- One sentence specifying the styles chosen for the assignment
2. Building #1 (same for each):
(a) The main characteristics of the architectural period to which it belongs and how these characteristics are manifest in the chosen building. A general outline of the main characteristics of each of the chosen architectural periods e.g. Gothic and Neo-Gothic (Gothic revival); Classical Roman and Post-Modernist; Classical Greek and Modern Expressionism (as for example applied to the Guggenheim Bilbao). Why did you choose this building/bridge, etc?
(b) When was it built; who designed it, who commissioned it. Is it a listed or historical building?
(c) Purpose/function including changes of function and purpose
(d) Main architectural and structural features that are representative of the period and make the building noteworthy
3. Building # 2 (same as above)
4. Conclusions: Comparison and discussion
(a) Has the function/context changed considerably/ a little/ not from one period to the other? e.g. churches before and after the Reformation: not so much the function but the philosophical, theological approach
(b) Have the materials and technology used changed (considerably, partially, not much?
(c) What has the comparison highlighted in relation to the function, structure and style of the building?
(d) How has the form changed and what does it reflect from the society/culture that produced it.
Each student is to electronically produce three A3 size posters using a pre-designed PowerPoint template.
Use two posters (one for each) to explain the buildings chosen, starting with the main characteristics of the architectural period to which it belongs and how these characteristics are manifest in the chosen building. The third poster should be used to compare the two structures as outlined in point 4, above.
The posters should include at least one of the student’s own sketches of the structure and photographs to illustrate its design form, structural system, the range of construction materials used, etc