I Semester


  • Barbara Galli

Construction History is the history of how we construct the world around us.
The course deals mainly with a wide scope of architectures, but it is not restricted to buildings only: it also includes the infrastructures which, over time, marked the major changes in the way humans lived, civilization and urbanization.
The course will examine the complexity of design processes and the main phases of their evolution across the centuries, through the analysis of selected case-studies.

The course “History of Building Construction” aims to examine the main phases of the development of building techniques in the Western world, from ancient Greece to the present day. The key moments in the evolution of building construction techniques and materials occurred over a wide timespan and across several countries.  In order to best study them, the course will focus on two aspects : first, the analysis of the elements of continuity, such as the use of opus caementicium. Then, that of the elements of innovation, i.e. the dramatic changes brought about by the use of new materials such as glass and iron, and the introduction of new construction systems.

These topics will be analyzed through a selection of case-studies, both European and North American. This will highlight the different approaches and solutions of the same problems, especially in each of their specific cultural and geographical contexts.
Besides materials, techniques and the scientific or empiric approaches, the course will offer an overview on the design methods and styles, socio-economic factors, and esthetic attitudes crucial to the understanding of the analyzed samples.
These themes will be presented through a series of thematic lectures ex cathedra.
Seminars on specific topics and with guest speakers will also be held.

The vast bibliography will include a list of essential, mandatory titles, as well as a comprehensive list of readings: students will have the opportunity to create an individualized study plan, best suited for their specific areas of interest.