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Contemporary Architecture

Build Academy via Independent


The course will analyze major contemporary architectural ideas, ideologies, and projects in the context of both globalization and specific local contexts. We will trace the development of architecture since the early 90s by discussing the work of some of the most influential architects of our time. The critical reflection on contemporary topics will allow students to better understand the buildings and cities which we live in. When talking about the architectural protagonists of today, we will focus on their most recent work. Some references will be made to their earlier work, but the focus will be on how they adapt their thinking to current design tendencies. We will examine the evolution of their work and at the same time try to understand how they react to current challenges and opportunities in our profession and society.


The course will introduce participants to the contemporary architecture scene and allow them to position themselves into it. Students will acquire the essential skills for looking at, analyzing and understanding architecture. The final goal is to turn use architecture as a way to look at the places that we inhabit, an action for positive change, and a generator of a vision for making possible worlds.


Living in the world of architecture is a full-time job, but you’ll have to spend 2-3 hours per week with your computer and a few more exploring your city. The final assignment will take a few days to complete if you want to qualify for the exposition.


Students will do research and critical analysis of architecture. They will analyze and comment on the projects presented in each chapter of the course. They will also explore buildings in the cities where they live and visit, according to the concepts introduced in the course, by taking pictures and making videos. The work will be posted every week on the course forum and discussed with others. A selection of the best projects and posts will be featured in an exhibit after completing the course.


You be offered a certificate by Open Online Academy after you complete all the course assignments and exams. If you include it in your CV, remember that the course is offered by "Open Online Academy, New York."


Week 1Globalization and Critical Regionalism: Rafael Moneo, Steven Holl; Design and Online Education, Behind the Scenes

Week 2Tectonic, Technology and Structure: Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, Norman Foster

Week 3Critical Discourse and Architecture: Rem Koolhaas, Peter Eisenmann, Bernard Tschumi

Week 4Surface, Materiality, and Ornament: Herzog & De Meuron, Jean Nouvel, SANAA

Week 5Form, Sign and Sculpture: Frank Gehry, Daniel Libeskind, Santiago Calatrava

Week 6Digital Design and Computation: UN Studio, FOA, Zaha Hadid

Week 7Sustainability, Resilience and Social Design: Wiliam McDonough, Kongjian Yu, Norman Foster, Giancarlo Mazzanti, Medellin and Bogota

Week 8Final Exam TBD

Taught by

Ivan Shumkov and Emanuela Giudice

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5.0 rating, based on 2 reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    I'm independent Architect with my own architectural bureau based in georgia tbilisi. I studied bachelor in fine arts academy and graduated master in georgian technical university. I worked for 7 years in Tbilisi development fund as an architect, than was a partner and the main architect in Baudesign company and after founded my own studio - Valishviliarchitects. Currently we make architectural, interior and landscape projects. Finally now i have time to learn more and With online courses i have possibilities to be in touch with international experience changes and I'm interested to increase my knowledge in contemporary and modern architecture.
  • Jonathan Golland completed this course.

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