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Master's of Sacred Arts Degree, Bundle

SAC 511 Fundamentals of Beauty in Architecture (1 credit)

Geoffrey Yovanovic
Purchase for $300

Fundamentals of Beauty in Architecture 




Fundamentals of Beauty in Architecture 


Pontifex University

MSA Program


1 credit /4.25 CEUs

.Professor:. Geoffrey Yovanovic


The course is offered asynchronously on our LMS, NEO.  To access the course and complete it successfully, you will need an internet capable device with sound and a current internet browser: either the current or the previous release of Chrome, Firefox and Safari, or Internet Explorer 11+ (for Windows 8 and previous versions), and Microsoft Edge (for Windows 10+) to run the LMS.  In addition, courses require the use of microphone and webcam, a PDF viewer, word-processing software compatible with Microsoft Office suite and a current email address. For help with the NEO platform see the Help Center in the LMS, found by clicking on the “?” in the upper right hand corner after you have logged in.  For log in questions, registration questions, or problems with missing content or content malfunctions, contact the teaching assistant, Elizabeth Froula at



Through the study of buildings as well as Ancient and Renaissance writings, we will explore beauty in architecture. The class will examine guiding principles in design such as proportion, nature, geometry, and number. It will also provide a framework to view architecture beyond ‘style.’     

This one credit course will introduce the theory and practice of architecture from Antiquity to the present day. It will rely heavily on Ancient and Renaissance writings to develop a framework to view architecture.



To critique architecture through the application of a trained understanding of beauty as traditionally recognized from Antiquity to the Renaissance.



In Classes 3-4 and 10-12, we will study the following books. It is important that students find whatever means possible of following along during the lectures.


The Ten Books on Architecture, by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio

(There are many versions of this book, I will be using the translation by Hickey Morgan, Dover Publications, 1960) 


On the Art of Building in Ten Books, by Leon Battista Alberti

Translation by Joseph Rykwert, Neil Leach, Robert Tavernor, MIT Press, 1988




Progress in each lesson will be assessed as we progress through quizzes, discussion forums and case studies.  These are weighted as follows to make up the final grade:


Quizzes 84%

Discussion Forum 14%

Case Study 2%


Grading Scale






























Below 60

* Grades will be rounded up or down to nearest whole number based on 10th percent





Lesson 1: Architecture Drawings:

The lesson focuses on the fundamentals of architecture through the introduction of building types, forms, and reading orthographic drawings. 


Lesson 2: The Ancient City:

Through an understanding of the Copernican Revolution, the planning of the ancient city, especially Rome, is discussed as a symbol of the Cosmos. 


Lesson 3: Introduction to Vitruvius

Through the writings of Vitruvius, the fundamental principles of architecture in a pre-Christian society are explored. 


Lesson 4: Eurythmia, Symmetria, and Decor

In a continuation of the study of Vitruvius, the ancient principles associated with architecture are discussed further, and the canonical orders are introduced. 


Lesson 5: The Canonical Orders:

Understand the origins, meaning, and differences of the Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite orders.


Lesson 6: Our Roman Tradition:

Ancient Rome’s architectural heritage and its continuation to today. 


Lesson 7: Sacred Geometry and Numbers

The meaning and symbolism of geometry and numbers in history. 


Lesson 8: Geometry and Building Forms

Learning to recognize the symbolism of number and geometry present in architecture. 


Lesson 9: History of the Renaissance

Background of the Italian Renaissance and the primary figures who influenced its theory and practice. 


Lesson 10: De Re Aedificatoria

Through the writings of Leon Battista Alberti, the fundamental principles of Renaissance architecture are explored. 


Lesson 11: Beauty and Taste

Continued study of the writings of Leon Battista Alberti and beauty.


Lesson 12: Nature and Design

Understanding of the Renaissance view of nature in architecture.


Lesson 13: Proportion and Design

Introduction to ratio, proportion, and traditional applications. 


Lesson 14: Methods of Proportion

A survey of different ratios and proportions typically applied in architecture. 


Lesson 15: Andrea Palladio

Introduction to Andrea Palladio, his work, and influence upon American architecture.    



The classes will be a mixture of lecture videos and voice-over power points. Occasionally, a class will have a supplementary image included. These images will be referenced in the lecture videos. 




Faculty are permitted to refer to notable past work and achievements (including publications and educational activities not offered by Pontifex University, and even those offered for personal profit) in their published biography on the Pontifex website and course promotions. In the context of educational activities undertaken for Pontifex University, including videos, live or recorded, teachers, can recommend or bring to the attention such work for students (even if for personal profit, for example, books or podcasts) but only with approval by Pontifex University and when it is related to the teaching purpose of the class.  An instructor’s related work will be noted in the syllabus as appropriate.  Instructors may use their own materials as required in their courses and learning events as long as the materials are appropriate for the particular learning event.


Failure to comply with this policy will result in a warning or administration modification of course materials. Violations of this policy should be reported to the Provost.





If you are looking to enroll in the Masters degree in Sacred Arts please complete the application and we will contact you shortly.


If you are a professor interested in joining our faculty or an institution interested in partnering please email our Provost:  


If you would like to Audit this class, then Contact Us here.

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Pontifex University Course: A History of Architectural Design in the West-3 Payments of $100/month

Here is the class outline:

1. Introduction

Course Introduction

2. Architectural Drawings

Lesson 1

3. The Ancient City

Lesson 2

4. Introduction to Vitruvius

Lesson 3

5. Eurythmia, Symmetria, and Decor

Lesson 4

6. The Canonical Orders

Lesson 5

7. Our Roman Tradition

Lesson 6

8. Sacred Geometry and Numbers

Lesson 7

9. Geometry and Building Forms

Lesson 8

10. History of the Renaissance

Lesson 9

11. De Re Aedificatoria

Lesson 10

12. Beauty and Taste

Lesson 11

13. Nature and Design

Lesson 12

14. Proportion and Design

Lesson 13

15. Methods of Proportion

Lesson 14

16. Andrea Palladio

Lesson 15

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