The Architecture of  New York: A Six-Part Course with Lorenza Smith

The Architecture of New York: A Six-Part Course with Lorenza Smith


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New York is one of the most fascinating and contradictory cities in the world. In six lectures this course journeys through the history of the city’s architecture and built environment, delving into how New York’s constant and fast-paced evolution has allowed it to become a leading financial, cultural, and vibrant international hub.

Covering urban architectural production in the city and exploring the ways in which different neighborhoods have developed and changed, this course is structured chronologically, geographically, and thematically. Beginning with the first Dutch settlements, and moving on to the contribution of English colonizers, the great technological discoveries of the 19th century, and culminating with the city's most recent achievements, we will examine a wide range of buildings within the evolving form of the city and its neighborhoods.

Each lecture will place architecture within a historical, financial, cultural, and social context. We will consider the aesthetic, practical, and technical aspects of each building we cover. Lectures will include discussions on the role of relevant figures, philosophical debates, laws, preservation, planning, and local and external influences.

Led by an expert on the history of art and architecture, Lorenza Smith, this interactive seminar will focus on the History of Architecture of New York. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with increased curiosity and a better understanding of this incredible city.

Lecture 1: The Origins of New York and the Beginning of Manhattan: Lower Manhattan, South Street Seaport, Wall Street, and Gothic Revival
The Dutch were the first settlers of Manhattan at the beginning of the 17th century and their methods collided with the life of the native population. The Dutch built New Amsterdam up to Wall Street until the English arrived in 1664, and Lower Manhattan still partially reflects the activities of that time.

Lecture 2: From Cast-Iron Buildings and Commerce to Tenements and Immigration– Battery Park, Tribeca, Soho, East Village, and Lower East Side
The commercial nature of the city allowed the Downtown area to grow rapidly through a series of radical changes. By the end of the 19th century, New York attracted thousands of immigrants who lived in appalling conditions.

Lecture 3: Federal Style and the Middle Class–Washington Square and Greenwich Village
Compared to those who immigrated to New York and struggled under difficult conditions, the upper-middle-class lived in comfortable houses in a life dictated by conventions.

Lecture 4: Transportation and Retail–Elevated Railroads, Department Stores, and the Ladies Mile
The advancement of transportation increased mobility for city residents as well as improved the efficiency of moving goods for sale. At the same time, a new phenomenon started to thrive, the birth of department stores.

Lecture 5: The Birth of Apartment Buildings and Gilded Age Mansions–Upper West Side and Upper East Side
Before the second half of the 19th century, northern Manhattan was mainly covered by forests. By the turn of the century, new ways of living established new trends in architecture such as the apartment building. Simultaneously, the years of the Gilded Age saw an influx of incredible wealth in the hands of a few which manifested in opulent mansions.

Lecture 6: The Modern City and Contemporary Architecture–Skyscrapers and International Style
At the beginning of the 20th century, the birth of skyscrapers changed the skyline of the city, rapidly turning New York into one of the most important contemporary architectural centers in the world.

Lorenza is a native of Venice, Italy, who received her Master in History of Art and Architecture through Ca' Foscari University, Venice. She moved to New York City 25 years ago. In New York, she teaches various courses on the history of art and architecture at the Fashion Institute of Technology where she also designed the course Art and Architecture of the Venetian Republic 1100-1800. At the School of Visual Art, New York, she designed and teaches the course New York Architecture, History of Interior Design and Influences on Contemporary Design. She is also a lecturer at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

How does it work?

This is a six-part series held weekly and hosted on Zoom. Please check the schedule for the specific dates and times for each lecture.

Is there a reading list in advance?

Though the course is open to participants with no background in architectural history, there are suggested readings for further investigation. You will receive this soon after course registration.

How long are the lectures?

Each lecture is 90 minutes long with time for Q&A.

How much is the course?

The course is $210 for 6 lectures.

Is a recording available?

In general, our courses are not recorded. However, if you need to miss a lecture please let us know in advance and we can arrange for a recording for that session on an individual basis.

This course is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
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J
J.
Getting better.
L
L.a.M.
none
K
K.R.
Architecture of NYC
J
J.W.
Fascinating history of New York City, based on architecture

Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
25%
(1)
50%
(2)
25%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
J
J.
Getting better.
L
L.a.M.
none
K
K.R.
Architecture of NYC
J
J.W.
Fascinating history of New York City, based on architecture