This course is a second-semester undergraduate design studio comprised of a series of projects and lectures that provide a solid ground from which students can develop their architectural interests.  While emphasizing fundamental skills such as diagramming, hand-drafting, and physical model-making, students will also build their ability to conceptualize, develop, and communicate spatial ideas.  Beginning with an in-depth analysis of architectural precedents, students apply their insights to a series of abstract, formal exercises, developing systems of order and design logic that form the basis for their final design project of a hybrid building in San Francisco.

The course fosters design as a medium of speculation, and it challenges students to explore architecture’s potential to generate experience, shelter, accommodate program, and respond to its broader context.  Design is approached as an iterative process through which the act of crafting, evaluating, and refining is a core value.  This course teaches students to make thoughtful, informed decisions about how to solve design problems while realizing their artistic visions.


Student Project By: Sladek Jaroslav

Student Project By: Amy Velez

Course Learning Outcomes


  • Produce critical analysis of case study recognizing their significance to the discipline of architecture
  • Analyze and interpolate concepts from a case study
  • Identify and illustrate spatial ordering principles
  • Articulate and extend conceptual thinking through diagrams
  • Develop a rigorous material logic for model-making to test ideas
  • Develop methodologies to generate and evaluate an architectural order and formal language
  • Translate programmatic analysis into an architectural proposal
  • Develop architectural proposals sensitive to site context in scale and use
  • Translate conceptual thinking into an architectural proposal
  • Produce architectural drawings with appropriate drawing conventions to convey spatial qualities and design intent
  • Demonstrate an understanding of materiality through making
  • Construct drawings and models with a high level of craft and attention to detail
  • Clearly communicate concepts and design ideas in written, spoken, graphic, and model forms
  • Clearly explain and defend design projects in verbal presentations
  • Create presentation boards, slides, and/or printed materials which exhibit logical sequencing and a hierarchy of information
  • Develop effective representational strategies to convey information that build towards an argument
  • Determine appropriate media to describe the spatial qualities and human experience of the design proposal
  • Student work from this course will meet all or part of NAAB SPC A.5 Ordering Systems: Ability to apply the fundamentals of both natural and formal ordering systems and the capacity of each to inform two- and three-dimensional design
  • Student work from this course will meet all or part of NAAB SPC A.6 Use of Precedents: Ability to examine and comprehend the fundamental principles present in relevant precedents and to make informed choices about the incorporation of such principles into architecture and urban design projects