The Development of European Architecture

Ref: C3741126

Many buildings, often greatly admired in their own right, take on a wider significance as waypoints in the flow of architectural ideas across Europe. We will look at the influential architecture of Greece and Rome, its adaptation as Early Christian buildings, and then the emergence of Romanesque forms. From the twelfth century the creation of Gothic architecture opened scope for extraordinary new buildings, both in the Early Gothic of France, seen in Canterbury, and in the later glorious High Gothic style. The course will track the spread of Renaissance and Baroque ideas from Italy to the rest of Europe, with the importance of published works by Palladio and others. Further classical development in the eighteenth century and the revival styles of the nineteenth century will be followed by an outline of modernism and the road toward Europe’s contemporary architecture.

Course aim

On a journey taking in structures as diverse as the Parthenon, San Marco, Chartres, Salisbury and Blenheim Palace, we will build a picture of the extraordinary development of European architecture.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • recognise the key periods and forms of European architecture
  • analyse the forms in which these emerged in individual countries
  • track the development of architectural styles in their spread across Europe

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • Presentation with images and colour notes provided for each session.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • Useful background reading - Nikolaus Pevsner, An Outline of European Architecture, Thames and Hudson David Watkin, A History of Western Architecture, Laurence King

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Arranging visits to study buildings covered by the course.

Download full course outline

The Development of European Architecture Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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