Cultural Landscapes Seminar Outline Winter Term, 2017

Cultural Landscapes Seminar Outline Winter Term, 2017

Cultural Landscapes Seminar: ARCH 566 (3 credits)

Robert Mellin, CM, RCA, Ph.D., Hon. D. Litt., FRAIC, NLAA

Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director

School of Architecture, McGill University

Seminar meets Wednesdays from 2:35am-5:25pm in room 420

Office hours by appointment: 398-6719 or by email

Catalogue Description:

An overview of cultural landscapes studies, methodologies, and resources. Comparative studies of the connection between people, particular places, and artifact systems are interpreted through architecture, critical regionalism, and material culture. Precedents for the interpretation of cultural landscapes by architects, ethnologists, anthropologists, folklorists, historians, writers, filmmakers, photographers, and artists are presented.

Course webpage:

Please note that the course outline and schedule will be updated weekly on the web page, so you should check for clarifications, possible schedule changes, and for supplementary references. PDF files for many of the assigned readings (except for the novels of Sebald) and for some supplementary readings will be available online.

Pedagogical objectives:

This seminar provides an overview of cultural landscapes studies, methodologies, and resources, including analysis and discussion of the work of architects embracing critical regionalism in architecture and housing. Comparative studies of the connection between people, particular places, and artifact systems are interpreted through architecture, critical regionalism, housing, urban design, material culture, and intangible culture. Rather than focusing on the study of individual buildings, the focus of this course is on understanding and interpreting the artifact system at all scales, reaching beyond the study of form to syndetically interpret meaning and address values.

Required submissions:

Fieldwork Project: (student presentations begin on March 29)

You will prepare a small project that interprets and represents a particular cultural landscape in Montreal or elsewhere. Be prepared to present your work to your colleagues during the last seminar session. The end-of-term project should have the similar size format of Anne Meredith Berry’s Gros Morne Time Lines (see the pdf file linked to the web page).

Web page book: Gros Morne Time Lines is a fold out book, but you will produce a web version that requires scrolling to the right (continuous images) on a standard Dreamweaver web page template I will provide that uses a simple table for positioning images. If you are not comfortable using Dreamweaver or if you do not have this program, you may submit jpg images. This piece (text, photos, drawings) will feature your documentation and interpretation of a particular area, building, condition, way of living, or artifact in Montreal (or elsewhere if you have access during the term), with reference to time, place, space, and possibly with reference to other aspects like light, materials, and details. As you will find from your readings on Sebald (see Searching for Sebald), the visual character / layout of text and graphics is very important for this assignment.

Each “page” or image on the sample of the assignment format on the course web page is a jpg image 6” wide by 8” high at a resolution of 100dpi. Folded paper in a book was used for continuity in the original document. However, you can enhance the continuity by presenting a continuous image with graphics and text arranged accordingly. For example, if you decide to have 20 pages with the dimensions shown above, you can present one final image that is 120” wide by 8” high at 100dpi (you must use width multiples of 6”). The final image must be in jpg format (colour or grayscale) at 100pdi for the web page. Your name and your project title must be integrated in the graphic design of your images.

Printed hard copy book: You will also produce a printed book. This will have images at 300dpi (same dimension constraints as above: 6” wide x 8” high) must be provided for printing purposes. This must be a conventionally bound book with a “perfect” type binding, not a folded paper book as described above. Your name and your project title must be integrated in the graphic design of your images. Every student will produce a book with the same cover stock and content stock and with the same dimensions and same portrait orientation and same size narrative text font. The model for this book is the small book “The Schvembly House” (author Tristana Martin Rubio: CL Seminar Project). In other graphic design/layout aspects, you may depart from the constraints of Tristana’s book in consultation with Robert Mellin. Before the end of the term, collaborate with your colleagues to investigate the logistics of printing with just one printer for this small book- not only to save time, but to ensure consistent results.

A point of departure for independent study that may help you to prepare for your end-of-term project for this course involves the novels of Sebald (Austerlitz, or The Rings of Saturn, or The Emigrants) and a particular secondary source (Searching for Sebald: Photography after W. G. Sebald: The Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Los Angeles, 2007). Sebald’s novels are readily available either from the library or bookstores. I hope you fill find time to read at least one novel by mid-term. I will request Searching for Sebald for reserve books at the library. Tristana’s small book (cited above) is reminiscent of the atmosphere of Sebald’s books with regard to text and graphics- elegant simplicity, and memorable work! Also, see Clare Melhuis, “Editorial: Why Anthropology?” in Architectural Design Profile: Architecture and Anthropology [New York: VCH Publishers, 2000, folioNA2543 S6A6 1996], 7.).


If you would like to collaborate with your colleagues, you can organize yourself into small research groups to investigate a particular area or neighbourhood or subject in Montreal. However, you will still have to make a substantial individual contribution for your project for this seminar in order to receive a grade. As there are students from different backgrounds participating in the seminar, there should be at least one or two students with a background in architecture or urban design on every student team if you decide to organize your work in small collaborative groups.


Text describing your proposed fieldwork project 15%

February 15 review of fieldwork project: 25%

Project Presentation March 29/April 5: 10%

End-of-term project (web page and printed book): 50% (DUE MARCH 29)

Seminar Schedule (see the course web page for updates)

McGill Policy Statements:

Please make sure you read the information in the section titled “McGill Policy Statements” on the McGill University web page below:


(note that you do NOT have to read all these books. They are presented here for your convenience and possible reference)

Library books on reserve in blue:

Cultural Landscapes: General

Aalen., F.H.A.; Kevin Whelan; Matthew Scott. Atlas of the Irish Rural Landscape (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997). folio G1831 G4 A84 1997

Abrams, Janet, and Peter Hall, eds. Else/Where: Mapping New Cartographies of Networks and Territories (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006). GA139 E48 2006(missing from McGill library).

Adams, Annmarie and Sally McMurray, Exploring Everyday Landscapes: Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture VII (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1997)

Alanen, Arnold R.; Robert Z. Melnick, eds. Preserving Cultural Landscapes in America (Baltimore: John’s Hopkins University Press, 2000). E159 P746 2000

Alexander, Christopher et. al. A Pattern Language (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977) NA9050A49x

Archer, Caroline with Alexandre Parré. Paris Underground (West New York, N.J.: Mark Batty Publisher, 2005).

Backhaus Symbolic Landscapes (Gary, John Murungi, editors, Springer, 2008) GF41 S96 2009.

Berke, Deborah and Steven Harris, Editors The Architecture of the Everyday (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1997) NA2543 S6A633 1997

Burns, Carol J. and Andrea Kahn, eds. Site Matters: Design Concepts, Histories, and Strategies (New York: Routledge, 2005). NA2540.5 B86 2005

Canizaro, Vincent B., Editor. Architectural Regionalism: Collected Writings on Place, Identity, Modernity, and Tradition (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2007). NA682 R44 A73 2007

Carter, Thomas and Elizabeth Collins Cromley. Vernacular Architecture: A Guide to the Study of Ordinary Buildings and Landscapes (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2005). NA705 C38 2005

Cauthen, Sudye. Southern Comforts: Rooted in a Florida Place (Chicago: Center for American Places, 2007).

Corner James, Editor; Recovering Landscape: Essays in Contemporary Landscape Architecture (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999). SB472 R385 1999

Cosgrove, Denis E. Geometry and Vision: Seeing, Imagining and Representing the World (New York: I. B. Tauris, 2008). G71.5 C67 2008

Cosgrove, Denis E. Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape (London: Croom Helm, 1984). GF90 C67 1984

Cosgrove, Denis E.; Stephen Daniels: The Iconography of Landscape: Essays in the Symbolic Representation, design, and Use of Past Environments (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988). NX650 L34 I26 1988

Coyula Havana: Two Faces of the Antillean Metropolis (Mario et. al.) HT384 C92 H387 2002

Czerniak, Julia; George Hargreaves. Large Parks (New York, Princeton Architectural Press, 2007). SB481 L37 2007

de Certeau The Practice of Everyday Life (, Michel, with Luce Giard and Pierre Mayol) HN8C4313 1984(try to find the U. of Minnesota 1998 edition if you decide to purchase this book)

Duany, Andres, Towns and Town Making Principles NA9015 C35G86 1991

Ewan, Rebecca Fish. A Land Between: Owens Valley, California (Baltimore: John’s Hopkins University Press, 2000).

Friedman, Avi. A Place in Mind: The Search for Authenticity (Montreal: Vehicule Press, 2010).

Glassie, Henry. Art and Life in Bangladesh (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997).

Glassie, Henry. Passing the Time in Ballymenone (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982) GR148 B34G55 1982

Gillis, John R. Islands of the Mind: How the Human Imagination Created the Atlantic World (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). D21.3 G55 2004

Gramp, Christopher. From Yard to Garden (Chicago: Center for American Places, 2008).

Groth, Paul and Todd W. Bressi, eds. Understanding Ordinary Landscapes (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1997). GF90 U53 1997

Hart, John Fraser. My Kind of County: Door County, Wisconsin (Chicago: Center for American Places, 2008).

Hayden, Dolores. The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History (Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, 1997). F869 L857 H39 1995

Harmon, Katharine. You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2004).

Harp, Elmer Jr. Lives and Landscapes: A Photographic Memoir of Outport Newfoundland and Labrador, 1949-1963 (Montreal: McGill Queens Press, 2003). HE554 A3 H37 2003

Illich, Ivan and David Cayley. Ivan Illich in Conversation (Concord, Ont.: Anansi, 1992).

Jackson, J. B. “The Westward Moving House,” in Landscapes: Selected Writings of J. B. Jackson (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1970). HN57 J245

Jackson, J. B. A Sense of Place, a Sense of Time (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1994) F796 J27 1994

Jackson, J. B. The Necessity for Ruins, and Other Topics (Amherst: University of Massachussetts Press, 1980). GF91 U6 J32

Jakle, John A. My Kind of Midwest (Chicago: Center for American Places, 2009).

Lang, Glenna, and Marjory Wunsch. Genius of Common Sense: Jane Jacobs and the Story of The Death and Life of Great American Cities (Boston: David R. Godine, 2009).

Kalman, Maira The Principles of Uncertainty (New York: Penguin Press, 2007).

Kubler, George The Shape of Time (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1962) N66K8

Lanier, Gabrielle and Bernard L. Herman. Everyday Architecture of the Mid-Atlantic: Looking at Buildings and Landscapes (Baltimore: John’s Hopkins University Press, 1997). NA717 L36 1997

Lippard The Lure of the Local (Lucy) GF503L56 1997

Lippard On the Beaten Track: Tourism, Art, and Place (Lucy) G155 A1L57 1999

Longstreth, Richard W. Cultural Landscapes: Balancing Nature and Heritage in Preservation Practice (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008) (eBook)

Kennedy, John. Island Voices (Delft: Eburon Academic Publishers, 2006).

Marshall, Howard Wright. Paradise Valley, Nevada: The People and Buildings of an American Place (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1995.

McKinnon, Richard. Vernacular Architecture of the Codroy Valley (Hull: Canadian Museum of Civilization, 2002) NA746 N5 M22 2002

Mellin Robert. Tilting; House Launching, Slide Hauling, Potato Trenching, and Other Tales from a Newfoundland Fishing Village (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2003) NA7243 T55M45 2003

Melhuis, Clare. “Editorial: Why Anthropology?,” in Architectural Design Profile: Architecture and Anthropology (New York: VCH Publishers, 2000), page 7, folioNA2543 S6A6 1996)

Moore, Charles The Place of Houses NA7125M66Robinson, Tim. Stones of Aran: Labyrinth (New York: NYRB, 1997).

Nordahl, Darrin. My Kind of Transit (Chicago: Center for American Places, 2008).

Robert R. Page, A Guide to Cultural Landscape Reports (Washington, DC.: U.S. Dept. of the Interior, 1998) E159 P27 1998

Pocius, Gerald L. A Place to Belong (Montreal: McGill Queen’s Press, 1991): HN110 C29 P63 1991

Rasmussen, Steen Eiler. Towns and Buildings (Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, 1951). NA9090 R313 1969

Robinson, Tim. Stones of Aran (New York: New York Review Books, 1986).

Roe, Maggie H., and Taylor, Ken. New Cultural Landscapes (London: Routledge, 2014) GF50 N46 2014

Rosenberg, Daniel and Anthony Grafton. Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2010).

Scott, A.J and E.W. Soja, eds. The City: Los Angeles and Urban Theory at the End of the Twentieth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press. 1996).

Spirn, Anne Whiston. The Language of Landscape (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998). SB472 S685 1998

Stillgoe, John. Alongshore (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994).

Soja, E.W. Postmetropolis: Critical Studies of Cities and Regions (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 2000).

Soja, E.W. Thirdspace: Journeys to Los Angeles and Other Real-and-Imagined Places (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1996).

Soja, E.W. Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory (London: Verso Press, 1989).

Taylor, Ken. Managing Cultural Landscapes (London: Routledge, 2012) GF90 M34 2012

Thomson, Nato. Experimental Geography: Radical Approaches to Landscape, Cartography, and Urbanism (New York: Melville House, 2008).

Tuan, Yi-Fu. Religion: From Place to Placelessness (Chicago: Center for American Places, 2009).

Tuan, Yi-Fu. Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1977). G71.5 T8 1977

Waldheim, Charles. The Landscape Urbanism Reader (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2006). SB472.7 L36 2006

Ware, Chris. Jimmy Corrigan (New York: Random House, 2000). PN6727 W285 J56 2000