Building Heritage: architecture, cities, landscape

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 1
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of History of Art and Archaeology & School of Arts

Module overview

In this module, approaches to the study of the spaces of art themselves will be discussed, from architecture, to cities and concepts of urbanism, buildings and landscape, and ideas of space and place. Why were buildings constructed with particular designs? How does their layout relate to the ways in which they have been used? How are changes in use evident in the layout and design?

In addition to outlining the historiography of architectural history, key issues – styles and periods, materials and construction, form and function – will be explored alongside methodological skills, such as evaluating plans, sections, elevations and digital imaging. The module will conclude by examining ideas of built heritage in relation to Asia and Africa.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to

  • Understand a range of approaches to the study of buildings, urbanism and landscape.
  • Evaluate the religious, social and material circumstances in which buildings, cities and landscapes have been made and used.
  • Interpret the changing constructions of meaning of built landscapes over time.
  • Demonstrate a range of skills in visual and literary analysis, research and other study skills for successful academic and vocational pathways.


  • Lectures: 2 hours per week
  • Seminars: 1 hour per week

Scope and syllabus

Following an introduction to the history of architecture and the range of approaches to the study of architecture, cities and landscapes, the following sessions may address:

  • Architectural style, language and tradition
  • Materials and construction
  • Space and function
  • Urban space
  • Monuments and landscape
  • Conservation and cultural heritage

Key themes: form/function, cultural heritage, monument/memory.

The range of case-studies explored may include the ‘Islamic’ city in North Africa, Islamic or Chinese palaces, the Hindu or Buddhist temple in South and Southeast Asia, planned or ‘cosmic’ cities in Asia, such as Angkor, Mandalay, Edo or Jaipur. The module may include a fieldtrip to a mosque or temple in London.

Method of assessment

  • 500-word critical object analysis/short report (worth 15% of marks)
  • 1,500-word essay (worth 40%)
  • Seminar participation and logbook entries (worth 10%)
  • Exam: 2 hours (worth 35%)

Suggested reading

  • William H. Coaldrake, Architecture and Authority in Japan, (London: Routledge, 1996).
  • Hazel Conway and Rowan Roenisch, Understanding Architecture: An Introduction to Architecture and Architectural History, 2nd ed. (London and New York: Routledge, 2004).
  • Michael S. Falser, Angkor Wat : A Transcultural History of Heritage, 2 vols (Berlin ; Boston: De Gruyter, 2020).
  • D. W. Rollason, The Power of Place : Rulers and Their Palaces, Landscapes, Cities, and Holy Places (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016).
  • D. Fairchild. Ruggles, Islamic Gardens and Landscapes (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008).


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules