SAMPLE QUESTIONS for PAPER1_Thursday November 24th, 2016

History of Contemporary Architecture – politecnico di Torino

Academic Year 2016-2017

Professor: Michela Rosso; Assistant: Rossana Schiraldi


Written Questionary Number 1 – Thursday November 24th, 2016

Duration: 2 hours, from 1,30 pm to 3,30 pm

Place: Room 7V



  1. Discuss the meaning of the word CLASSICAL. Give a definition of architectural orders, their roots in antiquity and their subsequent life. Give reasons for their longevity? Give some examples of their application in 2 buildings at your choice in the Early Modern (1450-1750) and Contemporary ages (since 1750 onwards).
  2. Perrault and the project of the colonnade of the Louvre palace: why is it so important in the history of architecture? What is the historical/philosophical background in which this project is discussed and constructed?
  3. The theory of the abbé Laugier and its relationship to the church of Sainte Géneviève by Jacques Germain Soufflot.
  4. The Church of Sainte Géneviève and the debate over its stability in the second half of the 18th century: describe this building, its plan and structural elements, the nature of this commission, its architect’s background, its transformation after the French Revolution, and explain why it is a turning point in the beginning of a modern idea of architecture.
  5. The rediscovery of classical architecture in the 18th century: describe this phenomenon and its influence upon the design of new buildings
  6. The notion of truth in architecture: explain when, how and where, and by whom we can find this issue discussed in the history of architecture
  7. Give a definition of the term SUBLIME. When is it used for the first time? What does it describe? Give examples of buildings (built or non built) and/or landscapes that best exemplify this notion.
  8. The Grand Tour and the history of architecture in the 18th century: describe this relationship.
  9. The notion of “architecture parlante”: how and when did it come about? Explain this idea and give examples of it.
  10. The rediscovery of Greece in the 18th century: discuss this phenomenon through examples of treatises and buildings during that century.
  11. The notion of PICTURESQUE in architecture: where does it come from? When and where was it put into practice?
  12. The Picturesque and the SUBLIME: explain these notions, give examples of them and discuss the difference between them
  13. The English landscape garden: explain the principles of the picturesque as applied in the design of parks and landscapes, give examples.
  14. How do we explain the use of follies, architectural ruins, and fake historical buildings in the aristocratic gardens and parks of the 18th century: give some examples.
  15. Identify and compare those three plans by John Soane.
  16. The place of imagination in the representation of architecture in the 18th century: capriccios, fake ruins and literary fictions. Describe this phenomenon giving at least two examples of it, either architectural, pictorial or literary.
  17. The Gothic revival: describe the two different attitudes towards the rediscovery of medieval architecture of HORACE WALPOLE and Augustus W. N PUGIN. Describe their backgrounds and their different interpretation of the Gothic.
  18. Theories of Gothic in the writings of Pugin and Viollet le Duc: describe the two different backgrounds of these two very influential figures of the architecture of the 19th
  19. The notions of PLURALISM/REVIVALISM in architecture and their different applications.
  20. The notion of CHARACTER in architecture in relation to different building types: give examples of it.
  21. How did the idea of architectural STYLE relate to the issue of NATIONALISM? Give some examples.
  22. The project of the Houses of Parliament: describe the plan of this building, the nature of this commission, the use of Gothic and how this related to the issue of nationalism.
  23. Describe in 5 words the notion of SUBLIME
  24. Describe in 5 words the notion of PICTURESQUE
  25. Describe in 5 words the idea of ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER
  26. The Great Exhibition of Works and Industries of all Nations: what? when? where?
  27. World fairs: give two examples of first world exhibitions held in the US or/and Europe and explain why the history of architecture can be narrated through the reference to these events.
  28. The Arts and Crafts movement: describe its origins, aims and philosophy.
  29. The Arts and Crafts movement: describe the different interpretations that critics provided of this aesthetic movement.
  30. Medievalism and the Arts and Crafts: explain this relationship with reference to the terminology used by members of this movement, their criticism of the contemporary society, their ideals and objectives.


Each of you will be asked to answer to 5 of the questions listed above.

Some pictures chosen among the ones that were projected during the classes will accompany the questions listed above. You will be asked to recognise the object of the picture, either a work of architecture or landscape design, a writing or publication, a drawing or painting, to identify its author/s, to date it, and to locate it.


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