Real? Virtual
Representing Architectural Time and Space
Ancient Architecture
Byzantine Architecture
Medieval Architecture
Renaissance Architecture
Baroque Architecture
19 Century Architecture
Modern Architecture
Islamic Architecture
Columbia University
+   Department of Art History and Archaeology
+   Media Center for Art History
+   National Endowment for the Humanities

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This History of Architecture Web site is designed to support undergraduate education, from introductory art and architectural history surveys to advanced courses on specific art historical periods and themes.   The project has been funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Division of Education Programs, with additional support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the Office of the Provost, Columbia University.  

The project began in 2000 at an inflection point in the transition from analog to digital visual resources in the art history classroom.    With guidance from a distinguished Advisory Committee as well as a circle of interested faculty and students at a variety of colleges and universities, we learned through experience about the pedagogical issues facing educators dealing with complex built structures and environments in the classroom.   Of the technologies realistically within reach of academic institutions, we focused on Quick Time Virtual Reality interactive panoramas as a feasible method of expanding the options for classroom presentations of architectural subjects.   By acquiring interactive panoramas, or nodes, for important buildings ranging from the Parthenon in Athens to Le Corbusier's Church of Notre-Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, we have attempted to collect and organize new media resources for the teaching of architectural history as we understand it to be practiced in American schools.   We have been especially influenced by the pedagogical principles of Masterpieces of Western Art, the undergraduate core curriculum course at Columbia that focuses in depth on a limited number of important monuments to teach the fundamentals of visual literacy.  

We have been aware of the impact of digital visual resources on faculty who are faced with both practical and philosophical issues raised by the transition to digital teaching.   In response to this, we have designed a site that operates on several levels, from basic points of access for more than 500 panoramas to advanced programs that assemble suites of nodes in programs designed to underscore basic principles architectural history.   In this way, we hope to have fulfilled the most important goal of the original proposal, to provide educators with a series of models and ideas for future development within the growing environment of freely accessible online teaching materials.



The National Endowment for the Humanities

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Samuel H. Kress Foundation

The Office of the Provost, Columbia University

Advisory Committee

Barry Bergdoll, Professor, Columbia University
Caroline Bruzelius, Professor, Duke University
Lynn Courtenay, Professor Emeritus, The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Michael Davis, Professor, Mount Holyoke College
Jerrilynn Dodds, Professor, City College of the City University of New York
Dale Kinney, Professor, Bryn Mawr College
Holger Klein, Assistant Professor, Columbia University
Stephen Murray, Professor and Executive Director, Media Center for Art History, Columbia University
Linda Neagley, Professor, Rice University
Robert G. Ousterhout, Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Roger Stalley, Professor, Trinity College
Joseph Connors, Director, Villa I Tatti, Florence
Pamela Jerome, Associate Adjunct Professor, Historic Preservation Program, Columbia University
Lynn Meskell, Assistant Professor, Columbia University
Clemente Marconi, Assistant Professor, Columbia University
Stephen Murray, Professor, Columbia University
David Rosand, Professor, Columbia University
Nan Rothschild, Professor, Barnard College
John Stubbs, Vice President and Program Director, World Monuments Fund and Adjunct Associate Professor, Historic Preservation Program, Columbia University

Special Faculty Advisors

Barry Bergdoll, Professor, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University, Faculty Advisor for Le Corbusier

Holger Klein, Assistant Professor, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University and Curator of Medieval Art, The Cleveland Museum of Art

Clemente Marconi
, Associate Professor, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University, Faculty Advisor for the Parthenon

Robert G. Ousterhout,
Professor, School of Architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Prof. Ousterhout generously granted allowed us to adapt several of his written texts for this Web site.

We would also like to thank Ms. Barbara Ashbrook of the National Endowment for the Humanities for her support and good will as the Senior Project Officer administering our NEH funding for The History of Architecture Digital Teaching Project .

Project Personnel

Robert Carlucci, Director, Visual Media Center, Columbia University

James Conlon, Research Staff Associate for Archaeology and Historic Preservation

Alexander Haubold, Graduate Student Associate (Programming)

Jeremy Stynes, Educational Technologist (Site design)

Andrew Tallon, Graduate Student Assistant (photographer)

Stefaan Van Liefferinge, Graduate Student Assistant (Programming and modeling)

Juliet Yung-Yi Chou, Educational Technologist

Pilar Peters, Educational Technologist

Andris Dikmanis, Imaging Specialist


This Project would have been unthinkable without the kind and generous assistance Special Thanks and Acknowledgements


Arc-et-Senans: Françoise Carp
Blois: Thierry Crépin-Leblond
Chambord: Philippe Martel
Eveux-sur-Arbresle, La Tourette: Matthieu Bonin
Fontenay: François Ainard
Paris, Biblioteque Sainte Genevieve: Nathalie Jullian
Paris, Invalides: Lucas Chevalier (Responsible du Service de la Communications Musee de l'Armee,) Céline Gautier
Paris, Panthéon: Pascal Monnet
Paris, Saint-Denis: Jacqueline Maille
Paris, Sainte-Chapelle: Sylvie Clavel
Paris, Saint-Martin-des-Champs: Xavier de Montfort, Céline Rorato
Poissy, Villa Savoye: Jacqueline Robin
Ronchamp, Notre-Dame du Haut: Jean-Francois Matté
Vaux le Vicomte: Patrice de Vogüé

Ministry of Culture, Government of Greece
The American School of Classical Studies in Athens
Stephen V. Tracy, Director
Maria Pilali, Administrator


Aya Sofia Museum, Istanbul
Deutsche Archäologische Institut (The German Archaeological Institute), Istanbul


Wesley Paine, Director, The Parthenon, Centennial Park, Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Nashville, Tennessee

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The panoramas of the History of Architecture Project are available in modern formats on Art Atlas.