Semester Perspective: Unessay No. 1

ARC 232 has a number of specific learning objectives that are consistent through the course; focused on the first half of the semester, they encourage your:

  • Identification of key archetypes, buildings, architects, building technologies, and theories from the Renaissance and Baroque periods
  • Correct use of professional terminology relating to architecture from the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries
  • Interpretation of cultural factors that affect change in architectural design during the Renaissance and Baroque periods
  • Classification of design principles that distinguish eras of Renaissance/Baroque in Italy, France, and England
  • Understanding of the main ideas in select architectural theories from the fifteenth through the seventeenth centuries, explaining how those ideas are manifest in architectural design

For this project, you create an “unessay” that takes the form of a short digital film or narrated slideshow related to themes from the first half of the semester, and joining material from at least two different weeks. Good topics would include

  • In-depth comparison of San Andrea (Mantua) and San Andrea (Quirinale, Rome)
  • Prominent architects we haven’t studied in class (from our main countries or elsewhere)
  • Renaissance and Baroque trends outside of Italy, France, and England
  • A typological study of Italian palazzos, French châteaux or hôtels, Wren city churches

For other good ideas, revisit the “further insights” sections of each day on the schedule and/or talk to Dr. Amundson, who would be more than happy to help you track down a realistic and pertinent topic.

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 minutes in length and submitted as an .mp4 file. (A simple way to do this is to screencast a slide show. Here is one simple tool to record your voice and the images on your screen as you progress through a presentation.) Most people speak between 125-150 words per minute, meaning that your presentation as a written essay should be between 500-750 words in length. Practice before you record. Projects will be shared with the class and peer-reviewed.


  • Thurs., Jan. 24: Sign up in pairs
  • Friday, Jan. 25: Pairs confirmed
  • Thurs., Feb. 7: Complete this worksheet; submit it with a working bibliography as a PDF to Dr. Amundson via email
  • Thurs., Feb. 28: Turn in the project (via email by 5 PM)
  • Thurs. March 14: Assessment