HISP 105: The American Built Environment

Announcement (Updated 4/26)

The link to the final exam is here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/P8V97C6
You may access the exam until 11:59 Monday.

The link to the second exam is here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TB8KKZ8
You may access the exam until 11:59pm Friday. Take your time, and let me know if you have any questions.

I have changed the due dates of both EXAM 2 and ASSIGNMENT 2. The exam will now be DUE by the end of the day (11:59 pm) on Friday March 27. The paper will be due by the end of the day (11:59 pm) Monday April 13.

The layout of this page is changing BUT THE CONTENT IS ALL THERE. If you’re looking for the general statements about the course, they are at the bottom of this page. If you have questions about the course (or anything, really) don’t hesitate to post a hangout question or just email me directly alsmith@UMW.edu

Google Hangout

Hangout link is here: https://hangouts.google.com/group/PtxyABdaEgT9XpTg8
I check the hangout every day, and hold live sessions on Monday and Wednesday at 11 am.

Quizlet Flash Cards

Course Requirements

Graded Course Requirements Due Date Weight
Class Participation All Semester  5%
Exam 1 Friday January 31 20%
Assignment 1: Building Features Monday March 9 15%
Exam 2 Friday March 27 20%
Assignment 2: Building Description Monday April 13 20%
Final Exam Monday April 27 20%

Course Schedule

  WEEK 1  
1/13 M Introduction & Syllabus Review
1/15 W The Meaning of the Built Environment
Readings: Stilgoe “Outside Lies Magic”, Chapter 1
1/17 F Identifying Basic Forms and Building Materials
Readings: McAlester, Form: The Shape of American Houses
WEEK 2  
1/22 W Building Elements I: Basic Elements
Readings: McAlester, Structure: The Anatomy of American Houses
1/24 F Building Elements I: Basic Elements
Readings: McAlester, Structure: The Anatomy of American Houses
WEEK 3  
1/27 M Building Elements: The Classical Orders
Readings: “Classical Orders” http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/431390/order
1/29 W Synthesis of Elements & Exam Review
1/31 F EXAM 1
WEEK 4  
2/3 M Native American Architecture
Readings: McAlester, Folk Houses: Native American
2/5 W Colonial Architecture I: New England & Virginia
Readings: McAlester, Colonial: Postmedieval English
2/7 F Colonial Architecture II: Holland, Germany, France and Spain
Readings: McAlester, Colonial: Dutch, French, Spanish
WEEK 5  
2/10 M Georgian Period I: New England
Readings: McAlester, Colonial: Georgian
2/12 W Georgian Period II: The South
Readings: Review McAlester, Colonial: Georgian
2/14 F Federal Period I: A More Developed Style – Assignment 1 handed out
Readings: McAlester, Colonial: Federal
WEEK 6  
2/17 M Federal Period II: The Birth of the Architect
Readings: McAlester, Colonial: Early Classical Revival
2/19 W Greek Revival
Readings: McAlester, Romantic: Greek Revival
2/21 F Case Study of the Classical-Gothic Transition: Ecclesiastical Buildings
Readings: Kowsky, F. “Richard Upjohn and the Gothic Revival in Buffalo”
WEEK 7  
2/24 M Gothic Revival Readings: McAlester, Romantic: Gothic Revival
2/26 W The Eclectic: Octagon, Egyptian Revival
Readings: McAlester, Romantic: Exotic Revivals, Octagon
2/28 F Assignment 2 handed out
Building Description
Readings: How to Complete the National Register Form, pp. 28-34
WEEK 8  
WEEK 9  
Italianate, Second Empire & High Victorian Gothic
Readings: McAlester, Romantic: Italianate Victorian: Second Empire
3/11 W Richardsonian Romanesque
Readings: McAlester, Victorian: Richardsonian Romanesque
WEEK 10  
3/16 M The Columbian Exhibition/Beaux Arts
Readings: McAlester, French Period: Beaux Arts
3/18 W Case Study in Classicism: Train Stations & Libraries
Readings: Grand Central Terminal
Boston Public Library – History
3/20 F Classical Revival, Châteauesque & Late Gothic
Readings: McAlester, English Period: Tudor
WEEK 11  
3/23 M Queen Ann & Stick
Readings: McAlester, Victorian: Stick, Queen Anne
3/25 W Exam Review
3/27 F EXAM 2
WEEK 12  
3/30 M Shingle Style
Readings: McAlester, Victorian: Shingle
4/1 W Craftsman & the Bungalow
Readings: McAlester, Early Modern: Craftsman
4/3 F Mission, Pueblo & Tudor Revivals
Readings: McAlester, Mediterranean and Spanish: Mission, Pueblo
WEEK 13  
4/6 M Prairie Style
Readings: McAlester, Early Modern: Prairie
4/8 W The Rise of Tall Buildings I: The Chicago School
Readings: Garrard Lowe “Architecture: the First Chicago School”
4/10 F The Rise of Tall Buildings II: New York & The Setback
Readings: Dolkart “The Architecture and Development of New York City
WEEK 14  
Readings: McAlester, Early Modern: Modernistic; Modern: International
4/15 W Domestic Architecture since WWII
Readings: McAlester, Bankers Modern: Minimal Traditional, Ranch, Split Level 
4/17 F Post-Modernism
Readings: “the Dezeen guide to Postmodern architecture and design” https://www.dezeen.com/2015/07/23/guide-to-postmodern-architecture-design-glenn-adamson/
WEEK 15  
4/20 M McMansions & Contemporary
Readings: “McMansions 101” http://mcmansionhell.com/101
4/22 W Architecture into the 21st Century
Readings: “Reshaping Reality” http://99percentinvisible.org/article/reshaping-reality-actual-architecture-inspires-surrealistic-building-art/
4/24 F Exam Review
WEEK 16  

Course Outline

Historic Preservation 105, the American Built Environment, introduces the principles of historic preservation through the study of sites, structures, buildings, objects and districts, using the analytical tools of history, architectural history, social history, and archaeology. Through reading and discussion, lectures, and slide presentations, the course will help the student understand the history, development and context of the American heritage that historic preservation seeks to identify, interpret, and protect.

Course Objectives

• Foster a basic understanding and awareness of American historic preservation and the philosophy, purposes, content, and methods of the discipline.
• Acquire a basic working familiarity with material culture and the built environment.
• Build and master architectural vocabulary.
• Establish a basis for future studies in historic preservation.
• Actively pursue independent educational experiences inside and outside the classroom.
This course partly satisfies the University’s General Education requirements under the goal of “Human Experience and Society.” Consequently, the course has the following Student Learning Outcomes:
• Explain human and social experiences and activities from multiple perspectives.
• Draws appropriate conclusions based on evidence.
• Transfers knowledge and skills learned to a novel situation.


McAlester, V. (2013) A Field Guide to American Houses. New York: Knopf.

All other materials will be made available online.

Disability Information, Grading Scale & Instructor Policies