New York Architecture


This New York Architecture course analyzes major architectural ideas and projects that shaped New York City. We will trace development of the city since its foundation in 1609 until today by discussing the work of some of its most influential architects. We will develop a critical view on architecture and learn how to “read” buildings both from their exteriors and interiors. We will examine the evolution of New York and at the same time try to understand the recent challenges and opportunities for architecture and the city.
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This course has the option for on-site architectural tours of New York that are scheduled on demand and paid separately. We will visit selected areas of Manhattan, an urban laboratory for history, economics, social context, construction, and design. Participants will learn the progression of development from a village to a contemporary metropolis and hence to a world city. We will draw, read, take pictures and engage in exiting online and in-person discussions about the architecture of New York.

New York Architecture Course Structure

1. Introduction to New York Architecture
2. Lower Manhattan form the origins to the new WTC
3. Lower East Side, the Bowery and SoHo
4. The Village, Chelsea and the High Line
5. Midtown Beaux-Arts and the city of towers
6. Lincoln Center, Central Park, and Upper East Side

Learning Objectives

Course participants will develop an understanding of the development of the city, including an overview of economic and market realities, the needs of infrastructure, the imposition of regulatory code requirements, as well as the “filter-up” of aesthetics in the overall construct of the City. Physical shape began with the very initial colonial claims on the land, but has also been formed by various cultural interventions over the past 400 years.

Understand the act of Building to be a complex reflection of a specific Time and Culture. Recognize specific Values that drove development, the Legislation that shaped physical change, and the Inventions that enabled the development of New York City.

Explain all of the above in an individual research projects, using both text and graphics.

Distinguish key 19th or 20th century buildings and urban plans that influenced Manhattan’s development.

Articulate the meaning and significance NY architecture in a final research assignment.


The online course consists of video lectures, readings, quizzes, etc. The on-site course consists of 5 afternoons of walking around Manhattan 4 hours per day.


Students will do research and critical analysis of architecture. They will analyze and comment on the projects presented in each chapter of the course. They will also explore buildings in the cities where they live and visit, according to the concepts introduced in the course, by taking pictures and making videos. The work will be posted every week on the course forum and discussed with others. A selection of the best projects and posts will be featured in an exhibit after completing the course.


The course certificate by Build Academy could be purchased separately by people who complete the course. The two certificates available for the course are: basic, CEU-CPD. You can include the certificate in your CV and LinkedIn profile. We can also provide you with reference letters for job or school applications and promotions.

New York Architecture course prerequisites

The course is both for the general public and for people with experience in architecture, so any person can take it. Basic knowledge of architecture is recommended but not necessary. If you were already a student of architecture, this would be a way to expand and further your studies in the context of New York City.


Prof. Ivan R. Shumkov PhD

Dr. Ivan Shumkov is a New York based architect, professor, curator, leader in online design education, and the founder of Open Online Academy. He has taught architecture, design, history and theory at Harvard University GSD, Pratt Institute School of Architecture, Parsons the new School for Design, International University of Catalonia, and ETSA Barcelona. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Harvard Alumni Association and President of Harvard Architectural and Urban Society Alumni. He graduated with masters degrees from ETSA Barcelona, University of Florence, and Harvard University GSD, as a Fulbright scholar. He completed his PhD in Architecture at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and Columbia University GSAPP, as fellow of the Fondation Le Corbusier. Dr. Shumkov is a licensed architect in Spain and Italy and principal of ISA – Ivan Shumkov Architects, a company working in the fields of architecture, urbanism, landscape and design with offices in New York and Barcelona. He has worked, lectured and exhibited his projects and research in Europe, Brazil, Colombia, China, and the USA.

Additional information


Basic Certificate, CPD-CEU Certificate