Architecture Degree Programme at “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urban Planning

The Faculty of Architecture / Architecture (English taught)
1st Year, sem 2, 2023-2024

IT-3E | Architectural Language (1)

Compulsory Course | Hours/Week: 2C+1L | ECTS Credits: 3

General info

01 general announcement UAUIM AL1 2023-2024.pdf

Seminar Theme

02 seminar theme AL1.pdf

Francis CHING_Architecture. Form, Space and Order

Francis ching Architecture. Form, Space, and Order.pdf (322 MB)

Kevin LYNCH_Image of the City (fragments)

Kevin lynch image of the city fragmente.pdf (10 MB)


FA-E IT-3E Architectural Language (1).pdf
History & Theory of Architecture and Heritage Conservation
Course Leader:
prof.dr.arh. Mihaela Criticos
Teaching Staff:
asist.dr.arh. Ioana Zacharias Vultur, lect.dr.arh. Irina Băncescu, asist.dr.arh. Diana Mihnea, asist.dr.arh. Ilinca Păun Constantinescu, drd.arh. Ilinca Pop, drd.arh. Andrada Rogojinaru, drd.arh. Elena Zară
Teaching language:


Learning outcomes:

To discover the first theoretical landmarks of the architectural approach and to introduce students in the matter of architectural form, seen not as materialization of immediate need or subjective creativity, but as active principle which bears meaning and shapes the human environment;
To understand the expressive potential of architectural form from the point of view of its structural, functional, aesthetic, and symbolical conditionings;
To get familiarized with the question of perception – a major theme for architects and other creators involved in forming the built environment (urban planners, designers), who are responsible for assuring an optimum relationship between man and his world.


Lecture titles:
1 Introduction. Architecture as an act of building and signifying. Complexity of the discipline: faces of architecture.
2-3 The Vitruvian requirements as sources of architectural meaning: firmitas (material support) - the semiotic layer; utilitas (content) - the semantic layer; venustas (form) - the poetic layer.
4-5 Notions of architectural perception: from experience to perception and from perception to significance. Levels of perception and significance. The universal level: primary experiences (sensory, spatial) of the relationship with the environment; innate predispositions (kinesthetic, tactile, visual – figure/ground relationship).
6-7 Duality of architectural form: volume and space. Relationships between forms as elements of architectural and urban composition; the historical evolution of the built volume/urban space relationship and its interpretation as figure/ground relationship.

Seminar titles:
A. Exercises connected to the project in course: analysis of the architectural object from the perspective of the Vitruvian requirements and of the figure/ground, solid/void, and built/unbuilt relationship.
1 Commenting on examples related to the project (theme 1).
2 Presentation of the concept proposed for each project (theme 2).
B. Exercises of decoding architectural and urban forms by drawing up “mental maps” of various areas in Bucharest.
3 Discussions on the bibliographic material. Proposing urban routes to be analysed by means of the acquired notions of perception.
4-5 Exercises of reading urban space by identifying the space-structuring schemes (centres, paths, limits, landmarks), the figure/ground and urban space/architectural form relationships. Discussions on site observations and sketches with a view to drawing up the seminar work (theme 3).
6 Panel presentation of the works.

Teaching Method:

Lectures with digital images;
Seminars: Presentations, themes with applications, panel discussions, comments.


Examination paper - 50%;
Assessment of the seminar activity - 50%.


- Rudolf Arnheim, Dynamics of Architectural Form, Berkeley, Los Angeles and London, University of Californa Press, 1977
- Rudolf Arnheim, Artă și percepție vizuală, Buc., Meridiane, 1979
- Pierre von Meiss, De la forme au lieu, (trad. engl. From Form to Place), Lausanne, 1986
- Kevin Lynch – Image of the City, Cambridge, Mass., 1960
- Francis Ching – Architecture : Form, Space & Order, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1979
- Kenneth Frampton - Studies in Tectonic Culture, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., London, England, 1996
- Kenneth Frampton, Modern Architecture – A Critical History, Thames & Hudson, New York, 1985
- William Curtis, Architecture since 1900, Phaidon, London, 1996