ARCH 200 (History of Ideas in Architecture 1) is a three-credit introductory architecture history course that is intended for students who are enrolled in the BSc (Architecture) program at the RAIC Centre (Royal Architectural Institute of Canada) for Architecture at Athabasca University. Throughout this course, students will examine the principles and ideas that shaped architecture and cities in the Ancient and Medieval worlds from 3500 BCE to 1400 CE. ARCH 200 has no prerequisites, though ENGL 255 (Introductory Composition) is strongly recommended as this is a writing course.
ARCH 200 is made up of six units, with six assignments worth, respectively, five, ten, twenty, fifteen, thirty, and twenty percent of the final grade. There are no final exams for this course and you must achieve a minimum composite course grade of sixty seven percent to receive credit for ARCH 200.
Dr. Douglas MacLeod has been working at Athabasca University since October 1st, 2012. He has been the Chair of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada for Architecture at Athabasca University for six years and he is currently coordinating twenty courses. The twenty courses that he coordinates includes the Architecture history, theory, and design studios courses and he has been coordinating ARCH 200 since 2012. He is a registered architect in the state of California and holds four degrees, which include a Bachelor of Architecture, a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, a Masters in Environmental Design, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Design.
When asked to describe ARCH 200 to someone who has not yet taken it, he states “ARCH 200 is a survey course of architectural history from prehistoric times right up to about the renaissance. Students will go through a number of case studies, looking at all different periods, not just the typical ones like classical Greece, and Rome. Students will look at Persia, India, and the Americas as well.”
When asked about the structure of the assignments, he states “There are six assignments in ARCH 200 and six units, so there is an assignment for every unit. What you are doing in the units is looking at a number of case studies, and the assignments ask you to interpret them. The assignments (essays) vary in length; some are one thousand words and others ask for twenty-five hundred words. You will be required to write a decent amount and that is where having taken ENGL 255 would benefit you.”
When asked what work ethic students would have to have to be successful in ARCH 200, he continues “As you know at Athabasca, it is an incredible thing, if a student completes the first assignment they are very likely to succeed in the course. Getting that first assignment done is absolutely essential. Instead of thinking about an enormous workload, what I suggest to people is to take five and get started. If you do that five minutes you may find that it extends into ten, fifteen, or twenty minutes. Once you get started, it snowballs, and that is what we need to do. We need to encourage students to get started. Also, one piece of advice, try not to leave all your assignments to the last week of your contract!”
When asked what students struggle with the most, Dr. MacLeod states “Students really struggle with the length of the essays, the references, citations, and truly understanding what plagiarism is. We have adopted the APA style in ARCH 200 and we tend to cut first time offenders some slack, though we really do not tolerate repeat offenders. For repeat offenders, we follow the guidelines that the university has put forward to properly penalize them, whether that be assigning a zero for the assignment, failing them, or suspension. We take it very seriously, as it should be taken.”
When asked what students he would recommend this course to, he states “We get a lot of students that are not in the architecture program. If you find the topics discussed are of interest to you, then I would recommend you taking it, because it really is an interesting course and it is a lot of fun!”
When asked if there was anything that he would like to add, he states “I just wanted to stress that this is very much of a team effort. People like Lenore Hietkamp, Dr. Kristen Kornienko, Carol Mason, Emma Lowry, and Veronica Madonna have provided tremendous support to students in all of these courses and I want to make sure that they get acknowledged.”
Whether ARCH 200 is a mandatory course for your degree or program, or architectural history is of interest to you, this course will have you learning about complex structures in a variety of different time periods. If you have any further questions about ARCH 200, or you would like to provide any comments or feedback on the course, Dr. Douglas MacLeod encourages you to contact him through the Student Support Centre.