Many works of pre-modern architecture are daring, poised at the very edge of structural stability. Others are well-supported, but strive to give an illusion of precariousness or even of levitation. This seminar invites students to explore the sublime effects of precarious architecture through visual and literary representations, as well as simulation models that examine the dynamic behavior of ancient and medieval monuments. Discussion topics will include: the a priori and culturally specific aspects of daring architecture; the ancient and medieval sense of the sublime and aesthetics; environmental psychology; and strategies for reading architectural forms. Students will present two or three readings during the semester, participate in class discussions, and write a short midterm essay and a final research paper.
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