American Architecture 
Surveys architecture in the United States in the 19th century, exploring such issues as the search for an architecture distinguishable from its European roots and the attempts to respond to American life and society's rapidly changing nature. In addition to examples by celebrated architects, the course will also explore the vernacular buildings and early commercial architecture. The history of architecture in the United States is characterized by richness and diversity. Although certain styles and approaches have dominated the country at different times, American architecture has fundamentally reflected the same pluralism that distinguishes American society. Yet, themes may be traced through this history: attempts to respond to the uniquely American context, desire to forge a distinctly American idiom, and the necessity of coming to terms with the changes wrought by rapid demographic and economic change.
This lecture/discussion course surveys architecture in the United States from the earliest times to the present day. It is arranged chronologically and thematically, exploring such topics as Native American architecture, efforts to create architecture distinguishable from its European roots, and responses to American life's rapidly changing nature. The architecture of Texas will be considered within these larger contexts. 
 

Building Construction
This is the first course in the construction series. It is an introduction to construction materials and methods of construction. The objective of the course is to develop in the student an early awareness of materials and structure.
 

National Register Documentation 
Teaches students the rudiments of preparing an individual property nomination for the National Register of Historic Places. Topics include the purpose and levels of designation, National Register criteria, and nomination components, conducting archival research, researching public documents, basics of architectural photography, and technical and grammatical writing. At the end of the semester, each student submits a nomination to the Texas Historical Commission for presentation to the State Board of Review for national designation.
 

Materials Conservation: Field Methods 
This course introduces architectural materials conservation, focusing on the on-site examination and testing of historic buildings. Lecture topics will include traditional building materials and systems, deterioration phenomena, and resulting conditions. A variety of investigative techniques, including nondestructive evaluation methods, will be discussed. Site work will focus on the historic buildings of Texas. Working in teams, students research these historic buildings' construction materials and methods and survey their existing conditions. In the end, the students who take this course create a comprehensive report of the conservation conditions of different structures, creating an important component of their preparation for future endeavors in the professional field. 
 

Materials Conservation: Laboratory Methods 
This course introduces architectural materials conservation, focusing on laboratory examination and testing of historic building materials. Lectures review the physical and chemical properties of paints and coatings, mortars, wood, and other building materials and introduce students to laboratory procedures, including microscopy, solubility, and micro-chemical testing. The course includes substantial laboratory exercises in a well-equipped laboratory designated in the school for this sole purpose. Students in the class become familiar with the techniques used in architectural conservation.
 

Graphic Documentation
Teaches students how to survey the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS). Students are assigned a building or site to prepare field notes and drawings to be developed into finished measured drawings - site plans, floor plans, sections, elevations, and details. Along with all notes and drawings, students perform photographic documentation and create a historical report of the building following the Department of Interior's guidelines and standards. The class teaches students the use of effective architectural drawing conventions, complete architectural drawings, proper operation of a large format film 4x5 camera, and historical research for HABS reports. While this is not the primary purpose of this course, students learn about digital documentation technologies such as LiDAR and Photogrammetry as effective alternatives for building registration data. The class outcomes are submitted to stakeholders and organizations so they can be submitted to the NPS and be part of the Library of Congress HABS collection.
 

Methodologies in Architectural History 
Explores the basic models for the writing and research of architectural history and related fields. Discussions will include the evolution of architectural history, intellectual changes, major theories of history, and methodological models relevant to individual students' academic research. Readings and critiques of basic textual models will be supplemented with frequent, relatively short writing and research assignments.
 

Preservation History and Theory 
Exploration of the history and theory of historic preservation. The topics discussed will be the historical evolution of preservation standard approaches and problems within the field and scholarly, economic, legal, and ethical dimensions of preservation practice. The first section of the course explores the early history of the preservation idea in Europe and the United States; the second investigates important concepts and issues within the preservation field, including basic problems such as authenticity, adaptive use, and context.
 

Preservation Law 
Introduces students to legal, advocacy, and policy issues in the fields of historic and cultural preservation. It provides a cultural understanding of the institutional framework that governs preservation practice in the United States. The course surveys federal statutory laws affecting preservation policy and practice and explores the opportunities and constraints for preservation practice created by constitutional law, tax incentives, grants, and regulatory programs.
 

Preservation Planning and Practice 
Introduction to historic preservation that surveys political, economic, aesthetic, and technical issues relative to preserving buildings, landscapes, and rural and urban communities. Using case studies, field trips, and readings, the course examines the fundamental principles and strategies in contemporary preservation practice in the United States and abroad.

Cultural Landscape Preservation (not offered in 2020-2021)
Examines the North American cultural landscape as it has been shaped by human habitation and addresses preserving this landscape. Includes everything from formal gardens to battlefields, from national parks to historic farmsteads, and from sacred sites to transportation corridors.
 

Related Coursework in the School of Architecture

Opportunities for Interdisciplinary Study

Students may combine their research on historical topics with a broad array of related subjects. As a major research university, the University of Texas at Austin offers a wide selection of electives, including Art History, Classics, Cultural Geography, History, Anthropology, Museum Studies, African-American Studies, and Latin American, and Asian Studies. Other courses of interest may include:

  • Historical Museums: Context and Practice (INF 388E/ANT 391)
  • Textiles Artifact Management and Conservation (TXA 355D)
  • American Space and Place (AMS 390)
  • Cultural Representations of the Past (ANT 394M)
  • Forensic Engineering: Materials and Structures (CE 397F)