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ART 2470: Sculpture Clay (Handbuilding)

This guide provides starting points for research in Dr. Ritson's class on sculpture.

Assignment Description

Presentation Assignment: Architectural Decisions and Design

Instructions:  Use the example paper and presentation provided, along with the library’s research guide at to complete this assignment.

1.  Choose a structure from the list provided.  Each student must select a different structure for this assignment.

2.  Conduct research and write a 1500-word (minimum) essay on your structure.  Your paper should include the following components. Include subheadings in the paper to show that you are responding to each of these prompts: 

a.  Provide a biography of the architect: birthdate, location of birth, training, significant professional experiences prior to the design of your assigned building, awards, and any other pertinent information that gives a background and context to the architect and the time period in which she/he worked.

b.  Provide information on the building: time period of construction, location, intended purpose, commissioned by or for whom, specifications, materials, and site specifications.

c.  Answer: What choices were made in the design and construction of the building? What was the reasoning behind the decisions that were made during design and construction? (1 page)

d.  Answer: How does the exterior and interior space function as a consequence of its design and construction? (1 page)

e.  Answer: How do the decisions that were made and the functionality of the space reflect the time during which the structure was designed and built? If at any point in the essay you refer to other architects, artists, design or art movements, you must explain these and their context to your reader. (1 page)

f.  Your paper should include a minimum of 8 sources.  Do not reconstruct the architect’s, or architectural firm’s web page or follow the argument of a source verbatim in the organization of the power point. Your paper is intended to be a synthesis of research sources and your intellectual work.

g.  All of your sources should be cited in MLA style.  Include in-text references and a list of Works Cited at the end of your essay.

h.  Your text should be free of errors in grammar or punctuation and should be written in complete sentences.

3.  After you have completed the essay, begin work on a PowerPoint presentation based on your paper. 

a.  Include 10 images of your structure: no more and no less. Use only one image per page unless you are doing a compare and contrast. Images must be of high digital quality. Appropriate images can depict the building during construction, detail specific components of the structure, illustrate its relationship to the environment or contextualize the building from different points of view. If your building was inspired by another building or architectural school, you might provide one example in addition to images of your topic. If you include an 11th slide for reference, it must be accompanied by research to support its inclusion.

b.  Include the text of your essay in the “Notes” section of each slide, showing which part of the essay you will present along with that slide’s image. 

c.  Each slide should be titled to guide the reader and help them to stay focused on each topic you cover in the presentation.

d.  The complete citation for each image should be included on the slide and also in the notes section.  The complete citation for any sources included in the notes should also be included.  The presentation should end with a list of Works Cited and a list of Images Cited.


National Museum of African American History (David Adjaye)

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (Frank Gehry)

Guggenheim Museum (Frank Lloyd Wright)

Case Study House #8, or Eames House (Charles and Ray Eames)

30 St. Mary Axe, or, “The Gherkin” (Norman Foster and Arup Group)

La Sagrada Familia (Antonio Gaudi)

Chrysler Building (William Van Alen)

Farnsworth House (Mies van der Rohe)

Willis Tower, formerly Sears Tower (Bruce Graham)

MetLife Building, formerly Pan Am Building (Emery Roth and Sons, Walter Gropius, Pietro Belluschi)

TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy Int. Airport (Eero Saarinen)

The Interlace (Ole Scheeren)

Villa Savoye (Le Corbusier)

Reversible Destiny Lofts (Arakawa and Gins)

Case Study House #22, or Stahl House (Pierre Koenig)

Kaufmann House (Richard Neutra)

Empire State Building (William F. Lamb)