Program Summary

Architectural historians study the built environment through looking at visual and textual sources as well as material culture. In Carleton’s History and Theory of Architecture program, we explore global architecture and cities, as well as the history of design and artwork. The periods and geographies range from early modern Asian and Islamic art to Canadian and North American Indigenous architecture.

Our material covers various subjects related to global architectural history from the prehistoric period to the present day. This broader framework enables our students to gain awareness of the social and cultural role of architecture and urban design both on a local and international level. Our students come away from the program with a historical framework for understanding cities, architecture, design and artwork within context. They acquire the intellectual skills and visual literacy necessary to interpret architecture and other visual phenomena.

We critically analyze the products of the human imagination and the visual expressions of different societies. At the same time, we look at human experiences that gave significance to such images and material embodiments. This approach leads to understanding different architectural and cultural practices within their social environment. Students equipped with these intellectual tools become informed and thoughtful individuals with social responsibilities towards their localities and the world in an increasingly visual and globalized society. We strive to create an inclusive and diverse learning experience and community by recognizing the important role architecture plays for spatial justice and cross-cultural understanding.