ARH 350 Studio 6 Site Conditions and Building Performance



This course explores the design of a visitor’s center in a natural setting with programmatic, climatic, and topographic challenges. Students will learn to assess and integrate the context and physical characteristics of the site such as climate, orientation, topography, vegetation, and views. In addition, Students will learn the fundamentals of building materiality and constructability.


Student Project by: Huilan Hu

Course Learning Outcomes

  • Investigate the relationship between buildings and their environment and exhibit the design methods and decisions used to make this relationship explicit
  • Communicate via diagrams their process and approach towards sustainable design
  • Integrate responses to topography, climate, ecology, and building orientation in the design process
  • Incorporate sustainable strategies in the design of a building and communicate using diagrams
  • Evaluate and select building materials which optimize, conserve, or reuse natural resources in the specific context of the site
  • Generate wall sections and models addressing the performative requirements of the building envelope
  • Integrate passive heating and cooling strategies, solar orientation, and natural ventilation appropriate for the specific site into their building design
  • Describe the evaluative criteria for sustainable design strategies using performance assessment tools
  • Student work from this course will meet all or part of NAAB SPC A.4 Architectural Design Skills: Ability to effectively use basic formal, organizational, and environmental principles 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 B.2 Site Design: Ability to respond to site characteristics, including urban context and developmental patterning, historical fabric, soil, topography, ecology, climate, and building orientation, in the development of a project design
  • Student work from this course will meet all or part of NAAB SPC B.6 Environmental Systems: Ability to demonstrate the principles of environmental systems’ design, how design criteria can vary by geographic region, and the tools used for performance assessment. This demonstration must include active and passive heating and cooling, solar geometry, daylighting, natural ventilation, indoor air quality, solar systems, lighting systems, and acoustics
  • Student work from this course will meet all or part of NAAB SPC B.7 Building Envelope Systems: Understanding of the basic principles involved in the appropriate selection and application of building envelope systems relative to fundamental performance, aesthetics, moisture transfer, durability, and energy and material resources