Course Title:  01:082:391  Nineteenth Century Architecture in the United States

Academic Credits:  3 credits


Mode of Instruction:  Lecture

Course Prerequisites:  None

Core Curriculum: None

Course Description:

This course offers an overview of the social and intellectual history of architecture in the United States from about 1750 to 1900. Role of architecture in societal transformations (the development of nationhood, industrialization. and urbanization).  Emphasis on the invention of new building types, including universities, government buildings, prisons, hospitals, railroad stations, and the architecture of World's Fairs.

This course is an overview of the social, cultural, political, and intellectual history of architecture in the United States from c. 1750 to 1900. We examine the role of architecture in societal transformations (from colonial settlements, to the development of nationhood, industrialization, and urbanization). Special emphasis on the creation of community, the relationship between geography and topography to the development of the built environment, and the various influences of institutions such as religion, slavery, government, and capitalism on design. We will use architecture and urbanism as a means of understanding the lived experiences of people in the continental United States.

Our investigation into American architecture is interdisciplinary in nature and will include methods and theory from anthropology, art history, environmental studies, ethnomusicology, geography, history, and literary studies. United States. Lectures will include a range of material in the discussion of the built environment, including ephemera, film, painting, photography, music, and poetry. The class will take advantage of the resources at the Zimmerli Art Museum, and include a trip to a local historic building site. Students should be willing to complete the reading, think deeply about the themes covered, and come prepared to participate in class.

Learning Goals:

  • Develop a foundation for visual literacy through the introduction and practice of various methods of analysis
  • Demonstrate a fuller understanding of the historical development and social construction of American architecture and how it reflects trends and concerns in the society in which it was made
  • Illustrate a knowledge of pertinent architectural terms and traditions
  • Synthesize information from multiple sources in order to generate new insights

Required and Recommended Course Materials:

Leland M. Roth and Amanda C. Roth Clark, American Architecture: A History, 2nd ed.(New York: Routledge, 2018)





Participation (10%), Quizzes (3) (30%), Paper 1 (6-8 pp) (30%), Paper 2 (6-8 pp) (30%)


Fall, 2021 - Carla Yanni

Disclaimer:  These course descriptions/synopses pages have been provided as samples and the information should not be considered accurate or current.  For actual course information, refer to the course site hosted by a Rutgers Learning Management System (Sakai, Canvas, etc.) as of first day of class.