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University of Oklahoma



History 3543: Myth and Measure

In this class, we explore the paths by which Greek and Roman mythology, numerology, and geometry permeated medieval architecture and urban design. The work of Vitruvius—the consolidation of Greek treatises on architectural proportion and his own theories on the topic—enjoyed its first revival under Charlemagne in the ninth century, and became an important basis of design from that point forward. Plato’s work in geometry was incorporated into neo-Platonic Christian theory beginning in the fourth century, and according to some contemporary authors, was one of the primary drivers of church design in the Middle Ages. There are many other examples of these threads of continuity presently undergoing scrutiny by medieval scholars. With respect to geometrical analyses, students of architecture are particularly well-suited to join the debate, as their CAD skills and knowledge of construction processes enable them to contribute in a unique way.


Students were encouraged to apply Platonic and Vitruvian theories of geometry to contemporary architectural work. Some of the examples they chose included the work of Louis Kahn, Le Corbusier, Frank Gehry, and Marlon Blackwell. All students presented their research at the University of Oklahoma Undergraduate Research Day. For a sample presentation, click here. Keaton Cizek won the Phi Kappa Phi Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Research from the Honors College. For his paper, click here.


The University of Oklahoma History of Science Collection contains several editions of Vitruvius from the fourteenth century forward, which meant that we had the good fortune to work with some ancient texts.

M. Arch Thesis by Rebekah Ulm: The Walcourt

A project for a new affordable housing unit development next to an existing historic structure in Oklahoma City.

Architecture 5595: Corpus Felix

For this capstone studio, students designed a Senior Wellness Center for Norman, Oklahoma, using guidelines developed for the MAPS3 projects in Oklahoma City.

Architecture in Rome 2013

In the Spring of 2013, Dr. Pilat and I led twenty third-and-fourth-year students on a Study Abroad Program in Rome. The studio project was the redesign of the Ara Pacis Monument, and students also took classes in Italian Culture and Language, History, and Controls. They also kept a Blog. To read, click on:

Sooners in Rome

During our stay, we made several field trips. We spent four days in Florence, and students were asked to analyze the urban and architectural elements of the city. For the Power Point presentations of their work, click on the following links:

For Volumes and Surfaces click here.

For Palazzi, click here.

For Urban Space, click here.

For River Relationships, click here


Plan and views of Piazza della Signoria by Klaas Reimann-Philipp

Architecture 5536: The Porter Avenue Project

Students studied existing zoning and use patterns in Norman and wrote their own programs for new structures at the intersection of Porter Avenue and Main Street. They also followed guidelines for street improvements that had recently been adopted by the City of Norman. Projects below by (left) Austin McCoy, and (right) Rebekah Ulm.

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