Semester Perspective: Unessay No. 2

ARC 232 has a number of specific learning objectives that are consistent through the course. Focused on the second half of the semester, they encourage your:

  • Identification of key archetypes, buildings, architects, building technologies, and theories from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries (primarily in Europe and the US)
  • Correct use of professional terminology relating to architecture
  • Interpretation of cultural factors that affect change in architectural design
  • Classification of design principles that distinguish styles and movements (especially Classical, Gothic, and Modernist idioms) from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries (primarily in Europe and the US)
  • Understanding of the main ideas in select architectural theories after the eighteenth century, explaining how those ideas are manifest in architectural design

For this project, you will create an “unessay” that takes the form of a short digital film or narrated slideshow related to themes from the second half of the semester. Projects should encompass material from two or more weeks.

Subject Matter: You can work on virtually any subject that dates ca. 1750-1975, that addresses one of the course learning objectives, and that is approved by Dr. Amundson. Think about a subject you’re interested in, and how it could fit into one of the following questions:

  • Why was [insert specific archetype, building, architect, technology, or theory] significant to the development of architecture in the eighteenth, nineteenth, or twentieth century?
  • How did [insert cultural factor] affect architectural design in the eighteenth, nineteenth, or twentieth century?

Remember, this is just one way to get started. You can also think about what you hope to accomplish in your future career, and find a historical reference that reflects those goals. Dr. Amundson is at the ready to help you shape a subject that will be meaningful to you and achievable, given our time frame. To achieve the latter, make sure you suggest reasonably well-defined subjects (or ask for help in doing so). For example, it will not be possible to take on the entire history of the skyscraper, or the significance of Frank Lloyd Wright in this short project.

Research: Your research can easily begin with a search of the web, but will probably require completion in print sources, which ought to be referred to as a way to verify what you’ve learned through websites and databases. Note that your textbook is not an adequately scholarly source.

Product: While you are encouraged/advised to draft your ideas in written form, your final project will be a short film or screencast 4.5-5.0 minutes in length and submitted via link to an video, screencast, etc. posted on YouTube, Vimeo, or your personal website. Most people speak between 125-150 words per minute. Practice before you record to make sure you’re within the time constraints.


  • Tues., March 19: By this date, have your project registered with Dr. Amundson. Use this worksheet to formalize your ideas. Seek acceptance of your idea via email or (the quicker solution:) by dropping in during office hours on Tuesday, March 12 from 1:30 to 3:45 or Wednesday, March 13 from 12:30 to 3:00. Please note that there is a quiz scheduled for the 19th so it’s to your advantage to work as early as possible on this part!
  • Weds., April 17: Turn in the project by 1 PM

Grading Rubric: access here