ARH 315 Studio 5 Advocacy in Design



Take a stance on the role of architecture in our urban environments. Through the design of a public building, you’ll advocate for and engage with under-served communities. Your honest inquiry of the urban fabric and the diversity of its inhabitants will create a responsive, empathetic program and a building proposal. In this Midpoint Review Studio you will develop your academic portfolio to highlight your skills and progress.

Homelessness, or the state of being unsheltered, does not have a simple solution, but instead is representative of a state that requires many, thoughtfully designed responses at different scales that encompass the sensitive nature of the human spirit. In this studio, we look at the housing crisis pervading San Francisco, resulting in record evictions, and an emergency of homelessness and affordability.  To study this issue, we will consider a range of definitions of unsheltered, as defined in a city where the average rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is almost $5000 per month, and a salary of $117,400 is considered low income for a family of four. In this city, homelessness may mean you are employed but cannot afford rent, or that you got evicted as you had to spend all your income on medical bills. It could mean there isn’t enough room in the family home for you, or that you had a fight with a roommate and are unable to locate new housing.

Considering this expanded definition of homelessness, this studio emphasizes empathy to develop multiple-scaled solutions, each appropriate to its context. To tackle and research this, you will develop two proposals. The first considers the intimate scale and will use your interviews of a person experiencing homelessness to design an Individual Guerilla ___ Unit, which responds to his/her/their specific needs and desires. From this, you will develop a proposal for a shelter to house a demographic of your choice, with a bold design that strives to make a shelter that’s connected to its neighbors, is stigma free and part of a new equitable and vibrant housing prototype.  And while a shelter represents a first step, humanity is not one note, but rather a symphony, and it is through interventions and conversations at both the intimate and building scales that this symphony is given a voice and audience.

Prerequisites: ARH 255, ARH 390, LA 219, LA 296, ARH 320, LA 292  (ARH 320 & LA 292 may be taken concurrently)

Student Project By: Stella Buckmann de Lima Netto, Yuanyuan Chen, Pablo Delarosa, Raul Higuera, Woohyung Kim, Erick Luna, Wenjie Lie, Zed Malmoux, Benjy Michel, Adam Nuru, Andrae Rumal, Markish Siojo, Nahoua Christian Jean-Raymond Sorho, Carrarheina Tjoa, Francisco Toca-Madrid, Robert Villanueva, Bobby Wijaya, Yang Xi, Shuangrong Zhong

Student Project By: Katie Tablada, Meng Fan, Zoe Zheng, Juliana Bento, Sarah Berting, Rheina Tjoa


Student Project By: Connor Bowes

Student Project By: Astireh Baradari

Student Project By: Jose Pineda

Course Learning Outcomes


  • Produce diagrams indicating critical analyses of users, programmatic typologies, and architectural precedents.
  • Develop and evaluate design strategies through criteria and iterative making in alignment with program research and stance.
  • Build an accurate and optimized digital model of the project.
  • Articulate work for both designers and non-designers, using appropriate graphic, written, and verbal language
  • Develop program and architectural proposals sensitive to both the user and the context through an empathetic engagement with under-served populations.
  • Produce architectural drawings with correct drawing conventions to convey spatial qualities and design intent.
  • Apply structural understanding of the design exhibited consistently in architectural plans and sections.
  • Accommodate basic accessibility and life safety requirements in the design of a building.
  • Compile, organize, and submit on-time process documents, portfolio and project work for the midpoint review by the expressed due dates

NAAB Criteria 


  • PC 2 Design How the program instills in students the role of the design process in shaping the built environment and conveys the methods by which design processes integrate multiple factors, in different settings and scales of development, from buildings to cities.
  • PC 6 Leadership and Collaboration How the program ensures that students understand approaches to leadership in multidisciplinary teams, diverse stakeholder constituents, and dynamic physical and social contexts, and learn how to apply effective collaboration skills to solve complex problems.
  • PC 7 Learning and Teaching Culture How the program fosters and ensures a positive and respectful environment that encourages optimism, respect, sharing, engagement, and innovation among its faculty, students, administration, and staff.
  • PC 8 Social Equity and Inclusion How the program furthers and deepens students’ understanding of diverse cultural and social contexts and helps them translate that understanding into built environments that equitably support and include people of different backgrounds, resources, and abilities.
  • SC 3 Regulatory Context (understanding) How the program ensures that students understand the fundamental principles of life safety, land use, and current laws and regulations that apply to buildings and sites in the United States, and the evaluative process architects use to comply with those laws and regulations as part of a project.