Detail of the painting St Paul's from Blackfriar's Bridge by Clive Head

Discover the buildings of London and you'll discover London.

Information at a Glance

  • Evening Class
  • Thursdays 18:30 - 20:30
  • 10 weeks: April to July
  • 2 hours weekly online taught time
  • Tutor: Michael Paraskos
  • Fees from £67 to £117
  • Online course
  • This course is now full

This course will cover the history of British architecture from the thirteenth century until now, using maainly London as our guide. In London there are examples of different British architectural styles from almost all periods, and especially from the middle ages to the present day.

On this 10-week course we will visit virtually different places around London, looking at the architectural history and styles of different buildings, how they relate to each other and to wider historical architectural, social and cultural movements.

These visits will also allow us to learn the language of architectural history and practice, but the overall approach is to be informative, educational and entertaining. It is an opportunity to discover something of the astonishing developments in British architecture over a period of a thousand years, gain an understanding of the history of buildings in London in particular..

No previous knowledge of art history, architecture or history is necessary.

Class Format

For each class we will look at a particular architectural style and discuss online (using Microsoft Teams) some of the features of the style and how it shows itself in different buildings. We will then focus on a particular building or location and your tutor will show images to give an understanding of the history of the building. You do not need to have any previous experience of art history, architecture or history to enjoy and learn a great deal from this course, which is aimed at complete beginners and novices.

Equipment Required

To take part in this class you will need an internet connected computer or tablet, together with a Microsoft Teams Account. Microsoft Teams accounts are free, but you do need to register for one in advance using the same email address with which you enrol on this course. We recommend you also download the Microsoft Teams App.

It is possible to take this course "passively" without a microphone and/or web camera attached to your computer, but if you want to take part in class discussions you will need at least a micorphone connected to your computer or tablet. Many computers, laptops and tablets already have these built in, but you might want to check on that first.

Course Information

Course Programme

PROGRAMME (SUBJECT TO ALTERATION)

1. Introduction - the Origin of English Architecture

In this  session we will begin by looking at the origins of English architecture in ancient Greece and Rome. Through a slide lecture we will begin to learn some of the key terminology used in talking about architecture, and we will map out the origins, developments and characteristics of the two most prevalent styles of architecture in London – classicism and Gothicism.

2. London's Temple

On this virtual field trip we will look at Temple and begin with a tutor-led discussion on Temple Church. Through group discussion and tutor led prompts we will discover some of the history behind the building, identifying its style and some of the key architectural features, and asking ourselves questions relating to authenticity. Moving on we will look at Middle Temple Hall, and finally at the buildings of Middle Temple Lane.

3. Medieval Orders and Tudor Disorders

On this virtual field trip we will look at the area around Charterhouse and begin with a tutor-led discussion on the monastic and later buildings of Charterhouse and the neighbouring area. Through group discussion and tutor led prompts we will discover some of the history behind the buildings, identifying its style and some of the key architectural features.

4. Greenwich

On this virtual field trip we will begin with a brief recap on the previous week’s class with an opportunity for questions, before moving on to consider the architectural history of Greenwich with its royal palaces. This will be an opportunity to see work by the architect Inigo Jones, as well as to examine work by some of the greatest architects of the seventeenth century, Christopher Wren, Robert Hawskmoore and John Vanbrugh. Through group discussion and tutor led prompts we we will look at some of the buildings in Greenwich, both to learn about their history and to continue practising naming architectural features, as well as learning new examples.

5. City of London Wren and the New City

On this virtual field trip we will begin with a brief recap on the previous week’s class with an opportunity for questions, before moving on to consider the effect of the Great Fire of London of 1666 on the city and the building of a new city afterwards. Through group discussion and tutor led prompts we we will consider how the monarch, Charles II, wanted to be seen in light of the Great Fire, and be introduced to the work of some of the key figures involves in rebuilding London, such as Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke.

6. Somerset House – The Start of “Good Taste”

On this virtual field trip we will begin with a brief recap on the previous week’s class with an opportunity for questions, before moving on to consider the architectural history of Somerset House. Through group discussion and tutor led prompts we we will explore the work of the architect William Chambers to consider how it combines of Neo-Classical seriousness with almost Rococo detailing. We will then move on to look at the Adelphi area and to discuss how the growth of middle class power in this period is reflected in London's architecture. Through a tutor-led discussion we will look at the buildings in this part of London, both to learn about their history and to continue practising naming architectural features, as well as learning new examples.

7. Georgian Refinement - Kenwood House

On this virtual field trip we will begin with a brief recap on the previous week’s class with an opportunity for questions, before moving on to a tutor-led discussion on the architectural history of Kenwood House, both inside and out. This will be an opportunity to see work by the Robert Adam and to consider the way Palladianism was adapted to fit in which a more relaxed form of upper middle class lifestyle in the Georgian period. We will consider the question of good taste in the eighteenth century and how this related to social class.

8. London’s Other City - Westminster

On this virtual field trip we will begin with a brief recap on the previous week’s class with an opportunity for questions, before moving on to a tutor-led discussion on the architectural history of the exteriors of Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster. Through group discussion and tutor led prompts we will look at how the gothic medieval style has been used and reused in different periods, and discuss the Palace of Westminster as an example of political Gothic Revivalism. We will end with a virual walk up Whitehall in which our tutor will introduce us to other buildings engaged in what was called in the nineteenth century, the Battle of the Styles.

9. South Kensington – Albertopolis

On this virtual field trip we will begin with a brief recap on the previous week’s class with an opportunity for questions, before moving on to a tutor-led discussion on the architectural history of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History Museum, Royal Albert Hall and the Albert Memorial. We will think about how the arrival of modern industrial society led to one of the most concerted efforts to revive historical pre-industrial styles.

10. Borough – Is Modern Architecture really Gothic Architecture?

On this virtual field trip we will begin with a brief recap on the previous week’s class with an opportunity for questions, before moving on to a tutor-led discussion on the architectural history of Southwark Cathedral. Through group discussion and tutor led prompts we will look at how the Gothic Revival style continued into the twentieth century and its impact on modernism and current architecture.

 

Additional Reading and Credit Information

There is no requirement to undertake specific reading for this course, but if you would like to look in greater depth at the subject the following books are recommended:

  • Nikolaos Pevsner, Pevsner's Architectural Glossary
  • Chris Rogers, How to Read London

No academic credits are available for this course. An attendance certificate is issued only to those who attend at least 80% of the taught sessions.

About Your Tutor

Photograph of Michael ParaskosDr Michael Paraskos is a very experienced adult education tutor, having taught for over twenty-five years. He holds a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and also teaches art history to undergraduate students at the City and Guilds of London Art School.

He is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction and has published very widely on art of this period, as well as reviewing exhibitions and novels for BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and The Spectator magazine. His first novel In Search of Sixpence was published in 2016 and his second, called Rabbitman, was published in 2017.

Course Fees and Rate Categories

HoursWeeksStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
20  10  £117 £67 £90
All fee rates quoted are for the whole course.
Term dates 1

Fee Categories and Discounts

Standard Rate

  • Applicable to all except those who fall under the Internal Rate or Associate Rate category, respectively.

Internal Rate

  • Applies to current Imperial College students and staff (incl. Imperial NHS Trust, Imperial Innovations, ancillary & service staff employed on long-term contracts at Imperial College by third-party contractors).
  • Current Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication (CLCC) staff, current CLCC PhD students, Science Communication (Sci Comm) postgraduate students, and students enrolled on an Imperial College 'Language for Science' degree programme should email evening eveningclass@imperial.ac.uk before completing the online enrolment form.

Associate Rate

  • Students (non-Imperial College)
  • Alumni of Imperial College and predecessor colleges and institutes
  • City & Guilds College Association members
  • Members of the Friends of Imperial College
  • Francis Crick Institute staff, researchers and students
  • NHS staff (other than Imperial NHS Trust staff)
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council staff
  • Harrods staff
  • Historic Royal Palaces staff
  • Natural History Museum staff
  • Science Museum staff
  • South London Botanical Institute Members
  • Victoria and Albert Museum staff
  • Royal Geographical Society staff
  • Royal College of Art and Royal College of Music tutors and other staff
  • Santander Bank staff (Imperial College Walkway branch only)
  • Austrian Cultural Forum staff
  • Staff of Exhibition Road Cultural Group (Discover South Kensington) organisations
  • Lycee Charles de Gaulle staff
  • Tutors and other staff of other universities and higher education institutions
  • Tutors and other staff of institution members of the Association of Colleges
  • Residents of postcodes SW3, SW5, SW7, SW10 and W8
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • Members of the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI)

Late enrolment

It is possible to enrol on many CLCC Evening Class and Lunchtime Learning programmes after the course has started. For non-language courses this is subject entirely to agreement by the tutor. For language courses it is subject to agreement by the language Coordinator conducting level assessment. If you want to join a course late do bear in mind there might be work you will need to catch up on, particularly in language courses.

Applicable terms & conditions

Please read these before enrolling on any course.

Term Dates

HoursWeeksAutumn termSpring termSummer term
 20  10 n/a n/a 27 Apr - 2 Jul 2020 (10 weeks)

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 1 March

Enrolment and payment run through the Imperial College eStore. Please click on the blue booking link on the relevant course page noting below instructions:

  • Our rate categories are explained on the course page and your applicable rate category must be selected on the eStore
  • First-time eStore users please create an account by entering an email address and password. These credentials should also be used for future bookings. Imperial College users please note the eStore is not a single-signon College system
  • The booking process involves entering payment details before your course choice and applicant details are queried on an in-built questionnnaire which completes the process
  • The following email notifications are sent
What is sentWhen is it sentWhat does it contain
1. Payment confirmation Instantaneously following submission of your online application
  • Confirms payment, payment date, order number and course title
  • Should not be treated as a course-enrolment confirmation which is only sent later
2. Enrolment confirmation Sent in due course but likely not before the end of March. Please treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received
  • Re-onfirms your course choice
  • Shows your course's term dates
  • Confirms your course' day of the week & time
3. Programme information Usually sent Friday late afternoon the week before term starts
  • Contains further course details incl. classroom location and teacher contact information
  • Provides further general programme details
If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756

Certificate of Attendance

Our adult education evening and daytime classes do not offer academic credits, but we do offer an attendance certificate to those learners who attend at least 80% of the taught sessions. Eligible learners receive their certificate by email after the end of the course.

Any Questions?

Questions regarding the content and teaching of the above course should be sent to the course tutor, Dr Michael Paraskos at m.paraskos@imperial.ac.uk

If you have enjoyed this course, why not look at other arts and humanities evening class courses at Imperial College. This includes courses on the history of western art from ancient Greece to the nineteenth century, Understanding Modern and Design, the history of film and cinema and Greek and Roman mythology in art. We also run practical courses in art and photography and creative writing classes, and a growing programme of science based evening classes.