To Do in 2017: Take An Online Architecture Course

February 20, 2017
Ray and Maria Stata Center (MIT) designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry

Every day, technology opens new doors to current and future generations. Nowhere is this more apparent than in education. Video streaming capability allows anyone to “attend” classes at renowned universities, for example.

Harvard Graduation School of Design

One of the most recent examples is an introductory level architecture course from The Harvard Graduate School of Design. “The Architectural Imagination” begins on 23 February 2017, and will be available on edX, the Harvard/MIT-developed platform for “massive open online courses” or MOOCs. It will be taught by Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory K. Michael Hays, Professor of Architectural History Erika Naginski, and G. Ware Travelstead Professor of the History of Architecture and Technology Antoine Picon.

“Architecture engages a culture’s deepest social values and expresses them in material, aesthetic form,” reads the course description. “In this course, you will learn how to ‘read’ architecture as a cultural expression as well as a technical achievement. Vivid analyses of exemplary buildings from a wide range of historical contexts, coupled with hands-on exercises in drawing and modeling, bring you close to the work of an actual architect or historian.”

Harvard is offering this course for free, though there is a $99 fee required in order to receive a certificate of completion. As indicated by Archdaily, “The Architectural Imagination” is one of several architecture-related courses available on edX. Browse the catalog, and you’ll find others from “institutions including MIT, ETH Zurich, and the University of Tokyo.”

MasterClass

Another fun option for continued learning comes from MasterClass. This private education platform offers a series of video courses with some of the biggest names in arts and entertainment. The stated goal of MasterClass is to “give anyone the ability to gain the wisdom and knowledge of the world’s best creators.” Their current roster includes luminaries like Aaron Sorkin (screenwriting), Annie Liebovitz (photography), Dustin Hoffman (acting), Serena Williams (tennis), James Patterson (writing), and Gordon Ramsay (cooking). As of this spring, the great Frank Gehry (architecture) will add his name and skills to the list.

“At 19 years old, Frank Gehry was a truck driver taking sculpture classes at night school,” reads the course introduction. “His vision for what architecture could accomplish went on to reshape our cities’ skylines, and the imaginations of artists and designers around the world. Now this master builder invites you into his never-before-seen model archive for a look into his creative process.”

The MasterClass platform puts students in close touch with their instructors via engaging online classes, interactive assignments, course materials, student community and Q&A. All classes are available online for $90 each.

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