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CCOG for ART 101 Fall 2023

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Course Number:
ART 101
Course Title:
Understanding Architecture
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduces aesthetic, historical, and critical issues of architecture. Presents buildings, gardens, fountains, malls and public spaces in terms of experiencing, appreciating and understanding roles of architecture in the urban world and as reflections of human interaction with the socio-political and physical environment. The series ART 101, ART 102, and ART 103 may be taken in any order. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Identify the elements and styles of architecture and the built environment.
  • Analyze architecture and the built environment in terms of form, technique, or expression.
  • Explain how architecture and the built environment are representative of meaning, cultural significance, and the historical moment in which they are produced.
  • Apply visual arts vocabulary to discuss architecture, architects, and/or historical context.
  • Interpret architecture and the built environment in relation to one’s own experience.

Integrative Learning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to reflect on one’s work or competencies to make connections between course content and lived experience.

General education philosophy statement

Through the study of art history, students look closely at works of art and architecture, articulating the way elements of art are interrelated and considering how values and interpretations have changed over time. They critically analyze visual communication, work creatively with art historical data, use evidence to support arguments and assess the stakes of primary and secondary sources. They also analyze the relationships between art and its historical, cultural, social and political contexts. Art history enhances students’ engagement in contemporary global culture through a deeper understanding of history, which helps students recognize connections between the past and present and become more aware of their own vantage points.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment tools may include:

  • informal and formal responses to discussion questions

  • analysis and evaluation of reading assignments

  • visual and contextual analysis of subject matter in writing assignments and exams

  • research projects resulting in papers or presentations

  • class field trips    

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • Analyze and work creatively with art historical data, using it to better understand the history of art and visual culture.

  • Evaluate primary and secondary art historical sources, assessing their stakes and motives.

  • Assess the ways in which architecture is impacted by the viewer’s vantage point.

  • Articulate the relationship between architecture and its historical, social and political context.

  • Recognize and differentiate various styles of architecture and evaluate how values and interpretations change over time.

  • Recognize and identify parallels between the art historical past and the present.

  • Conduct a formal analysis of a building and articulate the way its elements are interrelated.

  • Research and write coherently about architectural history, using evidence to support arguments.

Use knowledge gained in the course to study architecture, fine art, art history, design, anthropology or history at a four-year institution.


  • The Formal Principles and Elements of Architecture

  • Functions of architecture  

  • Architectural Techniques

  • Architectural Structures

  • Symbolism in architecture

  • Architecture and Economics

  • Architecture and Religion

  • Architecture and Politics

  • Architecture and Gender

  • The Role of the Architect in Society

  • Geography and its influence on architecture and culture

  • Historical Restoration and Preservation

  • Neolithic Construction

  • Ancient Near Eastern Architecture

  • Ancient Egyptian Architecture

  • Classical Architecture

  • Greek and Roman Temples

  • Roman Imperial Architecture

  • Medieval Architecture

  • Islamic Architecture

  • Renaissance Architecture

  • Baroque Architecture

  • Architecture and the Industrial Revolution

  • Modern Architecture

  • The Skyscraper

  • Post Modern Architecture

  • Green Architecture

  • Architecture in Portland

  • Bridge design