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Department of the History of Art and Archaeology

Architecture of Tibet & the Himalayas

Course Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 2 or Year 3
Taught in:
Term 2
The course addresses the changes and continuities in the Tibetan Diaspora architecture material culture arising from interaction in diverse regions from Tibet to India. The ‘classic’ norms and origins of the main architectural forms are then compared, considering aspects such as building materials, roof forms and ecological and religious adaptations. Attention is also drawn to the question of sustenance in looking at architecture of the Diaspora monastic communities. Another theme is the replication of Tibetan architectural norms in linking communities to a ‘homeland’ Perceptions of Tibet seen in the geographical dispersion of similar architecture locally and internationally is also considered.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate a concentrated knowledge and understanding of aspects of the Architecture of Tibet & The Himalayas. The geographical focus is Tibet and the Himalayas of recent centuries. However, temporal and geographical comparisons are provided with the inclusion of older examples and material from Mongolia and India. In this last element, the aim is to develop critical and comparative expertise and visual literacy relevant to not only the making but the sustenance of architecture in the Tibetan Diaspora.


1 hour lecture and 1 hour tutorial each week, for 11 weeks.

Method of assessment

Written exam (70%), length 2-hours. Essay 1: 2000-2500 words (15%) - DUE Day 3 of Week 7 of the term in which the course is taught. Essay 2: 2000-2500 words (15%) - DUE Day 3 of Week 11 of the term in which the course is taught.