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Architecture 101

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Self-Guided Architecture Tours

Entrance to the Carson Pirie Scott Building in Chicago, an example of Art Nouveau architecture.
Photo by flickr user Out Of Chicago.

Architecture 101 is a lecture series that provides a broader understanding of architectural “styles.” These programs explore significant periods in architectural history, serving as a refresher course for the professional or student or providing the novice with a chance to learn more about the world of architecture. The lectures explore the  physical characteristics of each movement and how each reflects the culture, politics, and technical innovations of its time.

This summer, the series explores the influence of nature in Bio-architecture, appreciates the aesthetic of Art Nouveau, and considers the role of culture in traditional Japanese architecture.


Self-guided walking tours are available for some styles covered in the series. The tours offer examples of buildings that feature the architectural elements discussed in the lecture and allow students, professionals, and the general public to hit the pavement and discover architectural history, whether they have attended the program or not. 

Upcoming Programs

Art Nouveau
August 2, 2014
Learn about the organic, dynamic forms and curving lines characteristic of the Art Nouveau movement of the 1880s–1920s.

Traditional Japanese Architecture
August 9, 2014
Understand why thick thatched roofs, rough mud plaster walls, and precisely woven tatami mats—elements of traditional Japanese architecture—are firmly grounded within the natural environment and traditional culture of Japan.

August 16, 2014
Bio-architecture demonstrates the growing influence of nature in Western buildings through the predominance of organic, nature-inspired patterns and shapes. Ruth Connell, AIA explains this unusual philosophy of architecture, exemplified by the work of architects like Antoni Gaudí and Santiago Calatrava.

Past Programs

      Architecture 101: Expressionism
July 27, 2013

      Architecture 101: Miesian
July 20, 2013

      Mid-Century Modern
July 28, 2012

      Arts and Crafts
July 21, 2012

July 14, 2012

      The Glass Box
July 23, 2011

      The Gothic Revival
July 11, 2011

August 7, 2010

July 31, 2010