Week One

Le Premier Tome de L’Architecture (Philibert Delorme, 1567)


Welcome to ARC 1015 & the Architecture Program at Belmont!

A Course Specific to Belmont

While many academic programs include a first-year course to introduce architecture majors to the field, ARC 1015 has been developed specifically for Belmont's program. Here, you will indeed learn about the history of, and current issues in, the field of architecture, but you will do so within the particular educational context defined by this University's vision

To be a leader among teaching universities, bringing together the best of liberal arts and professional education in a Christian community of learning and service.

ARC 1015 begins your professional education at the same time as your liberal arts curriculum, reflecting the architecture program's dedication to the full development of each student. Furthermore, this course is conceived in response to its faith-based traditions and within the Christian ideal of calling. It provides  opportunities for faith formation alongside academic work and planning your first steps to becoming an agent of positive change through the profession of architecture.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • Recognize how various writers have expressed opportunities for service and vocation, within and outside of the context of Christian traditions, within the context of architectural practices [UNDERSTAND].
  • Engage a habit of reflective practices to learning [APPLY].

getting started


You may already recognize that this class is slightly different than most you have (probably) encountered due to the fact you are beginning it before we meet in person as a class. This is due to its approach as a blended class, which means it is intentionally designed to make use of online opportunities for learning at the same time as it honors the longstanding tradition of face-to-face class meetings. Blended (sometimes called "hybrid") learning is a consequence of the digital revolution, and recognizes that learners have access to unprecedented access to content which, rightly, can change the dynamic of the way teaching and learning happens.

Adopting this model, the coursework for ARC 1015 is organized in weeklong segments that conclude with our once-weekly meetings. Thus, the new themes begin on Wednesdays and you will study them at your own pace while also maintaining a regular schedule of work to meet the regular deadlines (usually Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays). You will always have the assignments available well in advance so that you can work ahead of schedule, to some extent, if that suits your schedule. Consider this work as preparing you to participate in Tuesday's class, where we summarize, make connections, and conclude the work of the week.

In preparation for our first class meeting, please make sure you have the following:

  • the required textbooks (Goldberger, Why Architecture Matters; Vitruvius, The Ten Books on Architecture)
  • a dedicated notebook to take notes on your learning through the week, both during off-campus (online) activities and in face-to-face meetings. While you will complete a fair amount of work online and digitally, this manual, three-dimensions, old-fashioned notebook is important for capturing both words and images that most word processing programs cannot accommodate
  • access to the ARC 1015 course on Blackboard

This class is administered from the website you are currently on. Find its main page here, where you can see the layout for the class and also access the syllabus, which you should read in its entirety. Important elements of the course (including discussion boards and assignment prompts) will be maintained on Blackboard, the University's LMS (learning management system).

Flexible Participation

To fulfill social distancing guidelines in fall 2020, our class will be divided into groups for most of the semester. Both groups will complete the same Wednesday-Monday material leading up to Tuesday meetings, when one half of the class will complete asynchronous and synchronous online work while the other meets in person in Hitch Hall. Groups will be defined on the "start here" section of the Blackboard site.

Students who are in need of online work for one or more weeks should contact Dr. Amundson about changing their alignment with the groups as soon as possible.

Reflection & Metacognition

While we recognize that learning benefits from a rich ecology of input, we also know that taking time to reflect on individual development is key to academic and creative processing. In addition to helping you learn content particular to this course, ARC 1015 (among others you'll engage with during your time at Belmont) will encourage you to think broadly about your learning. To prepare for this part of the course, please preview the two following websites:

We'll include exercises on both throughout the semester, and gather your insights into an ePortfolio--more about that later.

for Friday

Initial Considerations

As we work to establish our community of learning, please prepare and/or submit the following:

Made with Padlet

for Monday

Historical Perspectives on Vocation

Part of what we do this semester is to tell, share, and build stories: primarily, stories about where the practice of architecture came from--and where you will take it. Before we dive in, and especially before we assume there is a single story to tell, watch the following TED Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:

This semester we will investigate many dimensions of architectural practice through the past, the contemporary issues of the field, and considerations for your future work. In preparation for our first discussion, complete the following (and when you "read," make sure to re-read as necessary, take notes, reflect on the meaning of what you've read). Plan for at least an hour for these excerpts that, if printed, would equal about 25 pages of text.

Take ten minutes (minimum) to journal about the ideas of vocation and the profession of architecture included here, especially in light of Adichie's TED Talk. Consider the following questions to guide your considerations:

  • If only one of the primary sources above was available to you, what would be your expectations for the "single story" of architectural practice?
  • How is the "story" different because you have these many different sources to draw from?
  • What's missing from these stories?
  • How do your own experience and future plans align with this story, or are you adding a distinct chapter?
  • If the latter, what obstacles might you face in making it happen?

for Tuesday

First Class Meeting

Due to Belmont's adjustment to its "Return to Learn" plan, our first class meeting will be online (and synchronous) for everyone. Find the link to our meeting in Blackboard.

Note: for this first class meeting, it will be helpful for you to have access to plain, unlined paper and some kind of dark pen or marker for a very quick drawing exercise.

  1. Introduction to the course/program
  2. Discussion on first posts & ePortfolio
  3. Discussion of (Christian) vocation and reading excerpts 
  4. Introduce Personal Histories Project (Proj. 1)
  5. What's a house?
  6. Time to reflect/write: what did you learn this week that seems really important for the way you want to pursue your future work?