ARH 350 Studio 6 Site Conditions and Building Performance



Design a visitor’s center attuned to its natural habitat and historical context. Physical site environments provide opportunities for design synthesis and responsible energy use. You will incorporate passive design principles in response to climate, orientation, topography, vegetation, views, building materiality, and constructability.

Prerequisites: ARH 399 (may be concurrent), ARH 239, ARH 240, ARH 315, ARH 320 & LA 249 (C- or higher)


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

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 3 Ecological Knowledge and Responsibility How the program instills in students a holistic understanding of the dynamic between built and natural environments, enabling future architects to mitigate climate change responsibly by leveraging ecological, advanced building performance, adaptation, and resilience principles in their work and advocacy activities.
  • 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.
  • SC 4 Technical Knowledge (understanding) How the program ensures that students understand the established and emerging systems, technologies, and assemblies of building construction, and the methods and criteria architects use to assess those technologies against the design, economics, and performance objectives of projects.
  • SC 5 Design Synthesis (Ability) How the program ensures that students develop the ability to make design decisions within architectural projects while demonstrating synthesis of user requirements, regulatory requirements, site conditions, and accessible design, and consideration of the measurable environmental impacts of their design decisions.