Spanish and portuguese Architecture

Ref: C3741435

In the first meeting we will discuss the planned programme and look at Roman work in the region. We will investigate the architecture of Islamic rule in southern Spain, including Cordoba and Granada, and the Romanesque architecture of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela. The Gothic architecture of Spain will include the cathedrals at Burgos, Toledo and Seville - and in Portugal the Cistercian abbey of Alcobaca, the Templar foundation at Tomar and the Jeronimite abbey of Belem in Lisbon, picking out the distinctive Manueline style. Spain's Churrigueresque variant of the Baroque will be considered and then in the nineteenth century neo-Manueline in Portugal and Gaudi's part in the Art Nouveau of Spain. In the modern period we will look at the work of both Spanish and Portuguese architects plus important work by world architects such as Frank Gehry's celebrated Guggenheim in Bilbao.

Course aim

To provide an overview of the architecture of Spain and Portugal and its relationship with that of Western Europe as a whole.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

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

  • relate at least two architectural styles to the principal periods of the history of Spain and Portugal.
  • identify at least two architectural styles which are particular to Spain and Portugal - (for example the Plateresque and Manueline styles).
  • link architecture to the history of the development of Spain and Portugal as nation states

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
  • Presentations 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 - David Watkin - A History of Western Architecture - Laurence King - Spain and Portugal in chapters 4, 5, 6, 7 and 10.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • If possible study visits to see some of the architecture described in the course.

Download full Course information sheet

Spanish and portuguese Architecture


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  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
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  • 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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