Undergraduate Courses

An Introduction to the History of Architecture

A survey of architectural history, from ancient Egypt to contemporary 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: Samuel Holzman, 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

The great thing about drawing is you can do it anywhere! This course approaches drawing as a way of thinking and seeing. We'll introduce basic techniques while also encouraging experimentation, with a focus on both drawing from life and drawing as an expressive act. Students will be introduced to the basics of line, shading, proportion, composition, texture and gesture. You'll also maintain a drawing journal, and use it as a regular space for observation and personal expression. Through exposure to a variety of mediums and techniques, you'll gain the skills and confidence necessary to develop an individual final project of your choosing.

Instructors: LexB Brown, Troy Gene Michie Jr.
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: Anda French, Paul Lewis
Painting I

An introduction to the materials and methods of painting, addressing form and light, color and its interaction, composition, scale, texture and gesture. Students will experiment with subject matter including still life, landscape, architecture, self-portraiture and abstraction, while painting from a variety of sources: life, sketches, maquettes, collages, photographs and imagination. Students will progressively develop personal imagery that will inform an individual final project. Princeton will provide all materials for the painting class.

Instructors: Pamela E. Lins
Geometry and Architectural Representation

This course sets out two goals: to examine and understand the status of architecture's relationship to geometry; and to develop techniques of architectural representation, documentation, and communication. The course is organized around three drawing exercises. Each provides an introductory lecture, tutorial, and group discussion related to the topic at hand. Students will present work in progress at individual desk crits and in small groups for discussion and feedback. Each exercise will culminate in a course-wide review.

Instructors: Erin Dayle Besler
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
History of Comparative Architecture: What Color is the Modern?

Color is the 'great repressed' of modern architecture. Rather than being concerned with how this chromophobia came about, this course explores the multiple ways it conditions our perception of works of architecture which exhibit a chromaticism, and even a chromophilia incompatible with the modernist ideology of whiteness. Starting from this premise we explore basic concerns of architectural modernism - the relation to nature and to materials, the affective impact of vision, the complex question of the relation of color and functionality, the mediation of color involving various forms of notation, coding and representation.

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: Erin Dayle Besler
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
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
Unlikely Architects in Plantation Landscapes

This seminar explores architecture in out-of-the-way places through the perspectives of an unlikely set of historical actors: counterinsurgency experts, guerrilla fighters, Indigenous resistance groups, government officials, religious activists. Thinking from the intellectual traditions of the global South, the course explores the ways in which architecture was employed as a narrative device in twentieth century environmentalist movements.

Instructors: William Michael Davis
African Urban History

This course examines how cities, and city-dwellers, across Africa have changed over the past 500 years. We consider how local, regional, and global forces have structured African cityscapes, jobs done by urban workers, and the relationship African urbanites had with changing environments. By doing so, students develop the tools to analyze urban spaces and explain the different ways cities have structured Africa's past, present and future. Students will examine how people experienced, built, and transformed urban landscapes across Africa and unpack the social, economic, political, and spatial structures that have structured African cities.

Instructors: Gregory Hallie Valdespino
Implications and Complications of Embodied Energy Analysis

Reducing the Embodied Energy (EE) of new and retrofitted buildings is a crucial part of addressing the climate crisis. Early classes will be devoted to the pros and cons of various methods of measuring EE. Questions: Can we curb EE without being able to measure it accurately? What if the things we do to make buildings more operationally efficient -- including following Passive House guidelines -- vastly increase their EE?

Instructors: Fred A. Bernstein
Siegecraft: Architecture, Warfare, and Media

Siegecraft was an art more complex than painting, more powerful than sculpture, and more
monumental than any building in the early modern world. This seminar confronts the discomfiting reality that the period long known as the Renaissance was defined as much, if not more, by brutal and collective warfare than it was by the rise of the individual. The class has no prerequisites and is open to all, including students of architecture, engineering, art, history, media, and literature. Seminar sessions will include hands-on study of original artworks in campus collections.

Instructors: Carolyn Yerkes
Climate Change, Floodplains, and Adaptation Design

This seminar is organized in three parts: an overview of the impacts of climate change and general approaches to adaptation and transformation in floodplains; a study of several regions that have had to adapt to increasing flooding; and a series of five specific local case studies, coastal and riverine. The topic of climate adaptation is of course vast and of necessity the scope of this seminar is limited to one already major impact of climate change.

Instructors: Guy J.P. Nordenson