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
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
Materiality of Design

An introduction to the influence of materials in artistic, architectural, and product design. Primarily focused on the artist, architect, and designer who want to know more about materials and the principles of materials science and characterization. This class is also for the engineer who wants to study more about design. Focus will be on how technical properties, aesthetics, sustainability, manufacturability, and ergonomics relate to material properties and selection.

Instructors: James S. Smith
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, Mario Moore
Designing Sustainable Systems: Understanding our environment with the Internet of Things

The course presents anthropogenic global changes and their impact on sustainable design. The course focuses on understanding the underlying principles from natural and applied sciences, and how new basic Internet of Things digital technology enables alternative system analysis and design. Material is presented in 2 parts: 1) Global Change and Environmental Impacts: studying our influences on basic natural systems and cycles and how we can evaluate them, and 2) Designing Sustainable Systems: synthesizing the environmental science with new IoT in an applied design project.

Instructors: Forrest Michael Meggers
Introduction to Architectural Thinking

The objective of this course is to provide a broad overview of the discipline of architecture: its history, theories, methodologies; its manners of thinking and working. Rather than a chronological survey, the course will be organized thematically, with examples drawn from a range of historical periods as well as contemporary practice. Through lectures, readings, and discussions every student will acquire a working knowledge of key texts, buildings and architectural concepts.

Instructors: Stanley T. Allen
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: 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.

Instructors: Elisa Silva
Geometry and Architectural Representation

This introductory course sets out two goals: the first is to examine and understand the status of architecture's relationship to geometry; the second is to develop representational techniques through four thematic drawing exercises engaging manual and computational processes. Each exercise is structured around an introductory lecture, a tutorial, and a group discussion focusing on specific readings related to the topic at hand. Work in progress will be discussed at individual desk crits and in small groups. Each exercise will culminate in a course-wide review.

Instructors: Erin Dayle Besler
Reality R&D: Designing Speculative Futures

Operating at the intersection of art, science and technology, this course investigates how scientific theories shape aspects of culture and society. We will engage in the practice of "speculative design", creating sculptures, wearables, and objects that envision different futures, while reflecting on social, political, and ethical implications of various technologies. Students will develop skills in industrial design, physical computing, and fabrication, as well as sensing and responsive technologies (including hardware/software integration, sensors, micro-projection, biometric sensing, etc), while applying them to critical social discourse.

Instructors: Ani Liu
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
Architecture and the Visual Arts

This course will explore the relationships between architectural discourse and the visual arts from the historical avant-garde to the present. Architectural discourse will be considered here as the intersection of diverse systems of representation: buildings, projects, drawings, but also architectural theory and criticism, exhibitions, photographs, professional magazines and the popular press. The visual arts will be seen to include not only painting and sculpture, but also photography, cinema, fashion, advertisement and television.

Instructors: Florian Fuchs
Wall Street and Silicon Valley: Place in the American Economy

This course examines two places that play an outsized role in the American economy: Wall Street and Silicon Valley. They are distinct and similarly enduring locations. They embody a divide between urban and suburban, East Coast and West Coast, skyscrapers and office parks, tradition and innovation, conservative and liberal. Despite the ubiquity of electronic trading, firms still congregate in Lower Manhattan. Tech workers fight traffic to maintain a presence in Mountain View. What makes these places endure? How do their histories, architecture, economic dynamics, and distinct cultures shape them as places?

Instructors: Aaron Peter Shkuda
History of Architectural Theory

This course offers a history of architectural theory, criticism, and historiography from the Renaissance to the present, emphasizing the texts, media and institutions that have supported architecture's claim to modernity since the late 17th Century. Architectural thought is examined in its social and cultural context as it relates both to the Western philosophical tradition and to design method and practice.

Instructors: Kurt Walter Forster
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 Architecture of Race

This seminar explores the varied ways American architecture and design have lent themselves to processes of racialization, from embodied experiences of race within the built environment to racialized representations of architecture. How might the built environment change how we perceive, understand, and experience race? How does architecture not only reflect race but constitute a way of seeing and feeling race? To expand our understanding of architecture's relationship to race, our approach will be interdisciplinary, including readings from fields such as but not limited to urban studies, Critical Ethnic Studies, and performance studies.

Instructors: Ashlie Andrea Sandoval
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: Stefana Parascho, Jesse A. Reiser
Computational Design

This course provides an introduction to computing in architectural design and develops novel methods for the generation and evaluation of architectural forms. The course introduces students to a range of computational design methods, while at the same time questioning the status of computational design today. The semester is organized around a series of tutorials and exercises for students to gain the required technical expertise, experiment with algorithms and push the boundaries of existing computational design methods. Concepts introduced include: parametric modelling, growth algorithms, optimization methods and machine learning.

Instructors: Stefana Parascho
Collage Making in Architecture

A graphic skills course that focuses on the techniques, craft, and ideologies of collage as a form of architectural representation. There are in-class workshops and weekly projects involving (handmade) collages. There are also a limited number of supplementary readings to situate our work within the context of architectural history and theory.

Instructors: Marshall Bashant Brown
The Zoning of Things

Zoning has preemptively defined what is possible to build, occupy, and design in the largest cities in the United States for over one hundred years. In the 21st century, zoning also enters cities and regions as a means of interpreting and defining effects of climate change, parameters of protest, movement of water, and economic investment. This course introduces students to zoning as an urbanistic tool related to representation, classification, and design. Readings investigate zoning as a form of both ideation and technology.

Instructors: V. Mitch McEwen
Comparing the Urban in the Americas and South Asia

This course bridges the gap between pedagogy on Western cities, and that on cities of the so-called Global South, to compare urbanization and social movements across the Americas and South Asia. Specific course units will examine the development of informal settlements, urban segregation, enclave urbanism, privatization of public spaces, evictions, gentrification, homelessness, and the criminalization of the urban poor. Attention will also be paid to social movements focused on the right to the city. It asks how these processes and phenomena are similar, different, and / or interconnected across contexts.

Instructors: Priti Narayan