Introduction to Architecture

I.     Course Prefix/Number: HUM 133

       Course Name: Introduction to Architecture

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces architectural thought and practice from the Egyptians to the present. Content includes philosophical, aesthetic, and practical problems of providing habitable spaces for human beings.

IV.   Learning Objectives

After completing this course, the student will be able to do the following:.

A.    Define the basic vocabulary needed to discuss architecture.
B.    Describe the design and construction techniques of significant building types developed by Western civilization from the Egyptians into the 21st century.
C.    Recognize representative works of architecture and identify the architectural styles of these buildings.
D.    Explain the relationship of architectural styles to the overall development of Western culture.
E.    Demonstrate a beginning knowledge of some architectural traditions outside the West and the relationship of these traditions to their cultures.
F.    Using appropriate concepts and vocabulary, thoughtfully appraise the quality and significance of a work of architecture.
G.    Collaborate with other students in groups to identify and describe architectural features of buildings in our area.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

(This is a sample outline of topics.  In this section the instructor will present a similar outline that fulfills the learning objectives. Please note that not all of the material needs to be covered. Also, a topical approach that covers this material in a different way is acceptable. This outline will include the dates when specific topics will be covered, when exams will be given, and when papers and projects are due.)

Week 1:      Introduction to Architectural Thought
                         a. What is Architecture?  How did human beings begin to develop shelter?  Why did people use buildings as a vehicle for cultural expression?
                          b. Roots of Western Architecture - Prehistoric Architecture and the evolution of houses, shrines and temples along the Fertile Crescent.

Week 2:        Egyptian Architecture: The development of the Mastaba, tombs, pyramids and temples during the Early and Middle Kingdoms.

Week 3:    Ancient Architecture of the Near East: The development of temples and palaces of Mesopotamia, Assyria, Persia and Babylonia.

Weeks 4 & 5:    Architecture of Greece.
                          a. Early Greek Architecture at Knossos and Mycenae.
                          b. The development of the Greek Temple and the Classical orders.
                          c. The Houses and Amphitheaters of the Hellenistic period.

Week 6:        The Architecture of Rome
                           a.  Etruscan temples and monuments of early Rome -.
                           b. Temples, palaces, baths, theaters, basilicas, aqueducts and bridges of  Imperial Rome. 

Week 7:        Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture.
                           a.The late basilicas of Rome and early Christian Churches
                           b. Developments within the Byzantine Empire.

Week 8:        Islamic Architecture
                        a.    Varieties of mosques
                        b.    Palaces, houses, and urban design

Week 9:        Romanesque and Gothic Architecture.
                         a. The development of churches and monasteries in Western Europe during the Middle Ages.
                         b. The development of churches and palaces in France, England and Italy during the 13th - 15th centuries

Week 10:          The Renaissance Architecture: The great churches, palaces and secular architecture in Italy  during the 15-17th centuries.

Week 11:         Post Renaissance Architecture in Europe: The development of public, commercial and industrial buildings during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Week 12:        Looking beyond the West: Architecture of India and Southeast Asia

Week 13:        Looking beyond the West: Architecture of China and Japan
Week 14:        20th Century Architecture: The development of steel and concrete building techniques resulting in new and innovative building types in Europe and the United States.

Week 15:       Chicago Architecture: The development of the Chicago and Prairie School of Architecture from the late 19th century to the present.

Week 16:       Presentation of student projects

VII.  Methods of Instruction

These may include slide lectures, films, class discussions, group work, and field trips.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

(The instructor should list all course requirements including expectations for quality of work, behavior, etc.  Students in this course will be expected to produce at least 15 pages of critical written assignments over the course of the semester.  These may be assigned in a variety of ways including essays, journals, response papers, etc.)

Examples of requirements:
Attendance and participation
Essays, research papers, and/or journals (including standards for written work)

Special policies about make-up exams, late papers, or other matters of concern

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.


X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

(In this section, the instructor will present the percentages or point breakdown for all the elements of the final grade. Please note that at least 40% of the grade must be based on written work rather than objective exams, oral presentations, etc.)

For example:
Quizzes/Exams…………………………………………40 points
Journals/Essays…………………………………….......40 points
Oral Presentation of a Final Project……………………10 points
Attendance and Participation…………………………..10 points

Grading Scale.  90% - 100% = A // 80% - 89% = B // 70% - 79% = C // 60% - 69% = D // below 60 = F

XI.   Other Course Information

Office number and office hours:
Phone number:
Email and website:

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at