Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture

Degree Level





Sexton, Kim

Committee Member/Reader

Rudzinski, Russell

Committee Member/Second Reader

Hare, Laurence



As a student of architecture, conducting precedent research before diving into the design phase of a project is something that I am very familiar with. But, following each project’s precedent research, is often an overwhelming feeling of uselessness for the material found. For each project, assignments call for students to find a certain number of buildings on which to base their project. While historically this step makes sense, 21st-century architecture students are taught that there is no “new” architecture, and that copying and collaging together existing buildings is the best way to achieve a successful design. This post-modern method of thought which is very common in American schools of architecture puts future generations of architecture at risk of producing a mess of collaged buildings with meaning no deeper than the metal wallpaper they are wrapped in. This thesis, therefore, has its origins in personal experience as well as a deep concern for architecture’s future. I have conducted this research in part with the hope of encouraging academia to reconsider the effectiveness of two-day, project-specific, internet-based, precedent research and to focus instead on the precedent as being more than just a building that helps solve “problems.”

In order to demonstrate how architectural precedents can have a much more profound impact on building design, this thesis will study the use of precedents by two architects who became icons of groundbreaking movements and revolutionaries in the history of architecture: Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) and Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris (1887-1965) better known as Le Corbusier. This study begins by introducing the training and architectural styles of the respective architects as the backdrop to their thorough incorporation of precedents as models and processual methods in their architectural designs. I then conduct in-depth formal analyses of two buildings from each architect’s oeuvre to demonstrate how in two distinctly separate time periods the use of precedent was essential in creating an architecture for future generations to learn from. In doing this research, I hope to shed light on the need for a reevaluation of the way today’s design curriculums have simplified precedent research, when, in fact, they should be focusing on it on a much deeper level.


Brunelleschi, Le Corbusier, contemporary architecture