Undergraduate Courses

An Introduction to the History of Architecture

A survey of architectural history in the west, from ancient Egypt to 20th-century America, that includes comparative material from around the world. This course stresses a critical approach to architecture through the analysis of context, expressive content, function, structure, style, building technology, and theory. Discussion will focus on key monuments and readings that have shaped the history of architecture.

Instructors: Basile Charles Baudez, Carolyn Yerkes
Introduction to Urban Studies

This course will examine different crises confronting cities in the 21st century. Topics will range from informal settlements, to immigration, terrorism, shrinking population, sprawl, rising seas, affordable housing, gentrification, smart cities. The range of cities will include Los Angles, New Orleans, Paris, Logos, Caracas, Havana, New York, Hong Kong, Dubai among others.

Instructors: M. Christine Boyer
Drawing I

This course approaches drawing as a way of thinking and seeing. Students will be introduced to a range of drawing issues, as well as a variety of media, including charcoal, graphite, ink, oil stick, collage, string, wire and clay. Subject matter includes still life, the figure, landscape and architecture. Representation, abstraction and working from imagination will be explored. A structured independent project will be completed at the end of the term.

Instructors: Eve Michele Aschheim, Nathan A. Carter
Introduction to Architectural Design

The first in a series of design studios offered to students interested in majoring in architecture, this an introductory studio to architectural design. Issues and ideas about space and form will be explored through a sequence of projects based on specific architectural representational techniques. The students will be confronted with progressively complex exercises involving spatial relations. The course will stress experimentation while providing an analytical and creative framework to develop an understanding of structure and materials as well as necessary skills in drawing and model making. Two three-hour studios with lectures included.

Instructors: Annie Rachel Barrett, Paul Lewis
Painting I

An introduction to the materials and methods of painting. The areas to be covered are color and its interaction, the use of form and scale, painting from a model, painting objects with a concern for their mass and interaction with light.

Instructors: Eve Michele Aschheim, Colleen Asper
Interdisciplinary Design Studio

The course focuses on the social forces that shape design thinking. Its objective is to introduce architectural and urban design issues to build design and critical thinking skills from a multidisciplinary perspective. The studio is team-taught from faculty across disciplines to expose students to the multiple forces within which design operates.

Geometry and Architectural Representation

The goal of this course is to develop the ability to communicate confidently with visual language, learning how to use drawing as an analytical tool within the design process. The course introduces the fundamentals of drawing using freehand, hardline, and digital tools to explore the representation of material, object, and space. We will tune our ability to see with sketchbook assignments, and late semester drawings will engage ideas of time and narrative. Themes and techniques will be presented through lecture and tutorial supported by readings and discussions. Topics include viewpoint, light, volume, orthographics, and perspective.

Structures and the Urban Environment

Known as "Bridges", this course focuses on structural engineering as a new art form begun during the Industrial Revolution and flourishing today in long-span bridges, thin shell concrete vaults, and tall buildings. Through critical analysis of major works, students are introduced to the methods of evaluating engineered structures as an art form. Students study the works and ideas of individual engineers through their basic calculations, their builder's mentality and their aesthetic imagination. Illustrations are taken from various cities and countries thus demonstrating the influence of culture on our built environment.

Instructors: Maria Eugenia Moreyra Garlock
Structures and the Urban Environment

Known as "Bridges", this course focuses on structural engineering as a new art form begun during the Industrial Revolution and flourishing today in long-span bridges, thin shell concrete vaults, and tall buildings. Through laboratory experiments students study the scientific basis for structural performance and thereby connect external forms to the internal forces in the major works of structural engineers. Illustrations are taken from various cities and countries thus demonstrating the influence of culture on our built environment.

Instructors: Maria Eugenia Moreyra Garlock
Urban Studies Research Seminar

This seminar introduces urban studies research methods through two cultural capitals: Moscow and New York. Focused on communities and landmarks represented in historical accounts, literary works, art and film, we will travel through these cityscapes as cultural and mythological spaces - from the past to the present day. We will examine how standards of evidence shape what is knowable about cities and urban life, what "counts" as knowledge in urban studies, and how these different disciplinary perspectives construct and limit knowledge about cities as a result.

Instructors: Katherine M.H. Reischl, Aaron Peter Shkuda
The Arts of Urban Transition

This course uses texts and methods from history, theatre, performance studies, and dance to examine artists and works of art as agents of change in New York (1960-present) and contemporary "Rust Belt" cities. Issues addressed include relationships between artists, changing urban economies, and the built environment; the role of the artist in gentrification and creative placemaking; the importance of local history in art interventions; and assessing impacts of arts initiatives. A Spring break trip, and visits to key local sites, are included. Students will use data and methods from the course to produce final projects.

Instructors: Aaron Landsman, Aaron Peter Shkuda
Building Science and Technology: Building Systems

In preparation for a fluid and evolving contemporary design practice, this course introduces physical prototyping and strategies for fabrication in a computational era. Across platforms and instruments, exercises and readings emphasize process development as a core competency in architecture. A lecture component provides a technological overview, situated in a long-term cultural perspective and a theoretical framework. Focused lab modules provides exposure to a range of prototyping and fabrication resources at SOA, where students gain hands on experience.

Instructors: V. Mitch McEwen
Technology and the City: The Architectural Implications of the Networked Urban Landscape

The seminar explores the implications of technologically networked cities for architectural programming and the design of spaces and places, including: 1) how information technology is reshaping the nature of architectural programming and our ideas of spaces, places and community; 2) how programs for spaces, buildings, places, and the city are being transformed by the increasing mobility, fluidity, and "blurring" of activities in space; and 3) the history of ideas that shape our understanding of technology and urbanism, programming and architecture: the networked global city; the sentient city; smart cities; big data; and hybrid places.

Instructors: Andrew Laing
The Art of Living

Water in the bathroom, gas in the kitchen, heat in the living room: what Western Europe and North America consider basic needs in obvious, purpose-based, domestic spaces are relatively new. All appeared between the late 17th and early 20th centuries. What dynamic between society and family that made the emergence of the apartment building possible? What motivated authorities and private developers to support public infrastructures, from sewage systems to street lights, gas and water networks? This course will provide students with tools to criticize the notion of domestic comfort, public efficiency, urbanism, and "progress."

Instructors: Basile Charles Baudez
History of Comparative Architecture: Italian Architecture and the USA

Focusing on the mutual reception of Italian and American architecture 1920-2018, we take into account divergences of urban form and architectural tradition that separate the two cultures alongside convergences of theory and practice. Starting with the impact of Wright on Mollino and Moretti, we move to the critical fortune of Organic Architecture in the postwar work of Scarpa and to the diverse roles of Ponti and BBPR in the USA, culminating with the dialogue between the New York Five and Italy in the 1970s. The course ends with an overview of contemporary dialogues between Italian and American architects, theoreticians and critics.

Instructors: Daniel Sherer
Junior Studio II

This junior studio will focus on a number of specific design techniques in a highly regimented manner. We will continue to sharpen our skills in model-building, with emphasis placed on the value of accurate representation both by fostering craft and by exploring novel techniques of drawing and modeling.

Instructors: Jesse A. Reiser
Materials in Civil Engineering

An introductory course on materials used civil and environmental engineering. Lectures on structure and properties of construction materials including concrete, steel, glass and timber; fracture mechanics; strength testing; mechanisms of deterioration; impact of material manufacturing on the environment. Labs on brittle fracture, heat treatment of steel, strength of concrete, mechanical properties of wood.

Instructors: Claire Emily White
Spaces of Conflict and Everyday Life

This course examines the relationship between architecture and politics by focusing on the role of the built environment in twentieth and twenty-first century conflicts. We will examine how settler colonialism shapes places, how sectarian conflicts divide cities and how protest movements utilize urban areas. The class will pay particular attention to the everyday practices of the people who inhabit, appropriate and transform these sites. We will look at a number of case studies from the Middle East, Africa, and North America, and embark on ethnographic investigations of specific sites in New York.

Instructors: Noam Shoked
Design and Planning for Climate Equity: Urban Vulnerability and Adaptation

The seminar explores how cities are adapting to the threats of climate change. It introduces contemporary practices in climate adaptation planning; reviews theoretical debates related to urban hazards, vulnerability, and resilience; surveys design and planning responses to climate change in relation to historical modes of environmentally responsive design; and explores transformative and equity-focused adaptation approaches. We will discuss urban climate vulnerability and adaptation from three perspectives: pragmatic planning and public policy, design-oriented proposals, and mobilization for social transformation and equity.

Instructors: Zachary B. Lamb
Urban Futures and Scenarios

Urbanism requires anticipatory and transdisciplinary thought about the future, which is uncertain by definition. Scenario planning and futures studies provide the techniques and conceptual frameworks for developing strategy in spaces of uncertainty. This seminar will provide an introduction to fundamental techniques and concepts from the practices of scenario planning and apply them to specific questions about the future of cities and metropolitan areas.

Instructors: Marshall Bashant Brown
Topics in the Formal Analysis of the Urban Structure: Environmental Challenges of Urban Sprawl

As part of the search for solutions to climate, water and energy challenges in a rapidly urbanizing world, it is crucial to understand and reassess the environmental challenges and potential of the exurban wasteland. This interdisciplinary course aims to add theoretical, pragmatic and cultural dimensions to scientific, technological, and policy aspects of current environmental challenges, in an effort to bridge the environmental sciences, urbanism and the humanities focusing on the transformation of the Meadowlands, the large ecosystem of wetlands, into a State Park.

Instructors: Mario Isaac Gandelsonas