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PDX Architectural History + Practice

Portland is home to one of the finest, most diverse, and best preserved assortments of architectural specimens in the nation. In addition to the 19th century cast iron structures, Portland also houses two of the most important 20th century buildings in the world: Pietro Belluschi's Equitable Building and the much maligned Portland Building by Michael Graves. Learn about local architecture as well as explore concepts in the field and its evolution over the last 200 years. 

Architectural History + Practice in Portland
1850-present

Taught by John Doyle

It is an under-appreciated fact that Portland is home to one of the finest, most diverse, and best preserved assortments of architectural specimens in the nation. In addition to the second largest concentrations of 19th century cast iron structures in America Portland is also home to two of the most important 20th century buildings in the world, Pietro Belluschi's Equitable Building and the much maligned Portland Building by Michael Graves, the father of Post-Modernism. What is architecture and what is its role in society? From whence do our notions about architecture originate? What makes an architectural style? What is philosophical difference in the nature of 19th vs. 20th century and contemporary architecture? What does the future hold for architecture? 

Week 1: A Whole New World. Where do theories of what architecture is and how it should look originate? How were these theories adapted and put into practice in a frontier environment like the Portland town site of the 19th century? What features help us distinguish one architectural style from another?

Week 2: How Many Wonders Can One City Hold? This session will be a walking tour field trip in downtown Portland wherein course attendees will put the information gathered from the first class to use by examining and identifying various architectural styles still to be seen in downtown Portland. It will take place on a Saturday morning and students should plan on it lasting two hours.

Week 3: Poor Unfortunate Souls. How did the charm, eclecticism, and decorative excess of 19th century historic revival styles give way to the sleek, functional minimalism of 20th century Modernism, often described as cold, impersonal, brutal, and rigidly dogmatic? Is Modernism these things?

Week 4: To Infinity and Beyond! Where is architecture headed and how does Portland fare in assembling an array of structures which demonstrate the latest trends in cutting edge architecture? Student will also have an opportunity to share an example of their favorite architecture in town.