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Current Course Offerings

Each semester, the Architecture section offers seminars, option studios and other elective courses which focus on topics that complement the core MArch curriculum. These courses may also serve students from the other sections of the Knowlton School or across the University. New topics are always in development in order to afford students the opportunity to pursue elective courses whose content is both timely and of particular interest to them.

To see the program's full course catalog, click the curriculum link above. To see the full list of courses offered by the section for a particular term, visit the Schedule of Classes on BuckeyeLink.

Spring 2017

ARCH 5290: Advanced Specifications


With the advent of digital technology/computational methods and the growth of internationalization of professional practice that revolutionized both the service profession and boutique architectural design practice around 1990, the factors that kept most boutique practices with cultural and/or discourse-driven ambitions comfortably distinct and separated from the service sector as a mode of practice - the basic business model, the relative status of standard formal typologies, relative costs, the vagaries of the regulatory environment, the regionalization of building delivery systems - quickly began to fade forever into the past. Today, with the advent of BIM, a National CAD Standard, and Fast Track production and soon the general adoption of Integrated Project Delivery as well as an equally broad and increasingly standardized regulatory and financial environment for the building industry, boutique design practices must work on virtually the same terms as service/commercial practices.  

Thus it is no longer adequate for an architect so inclined to experiment and investigate in the hopes of expanding the catalog of well-established professional formal and technical norms to rely on a mastery of history and theory to support his or her investigations, even if these venerable modes of knowledge are further augmented with technical intelligence.  Though the proposed design may harbor the potential to perform in ways that far exceed the quotidian demands and expectations of clients and communities, it is of little significance if the construction environment, including not only the relevant trades, but the legal and financial components, environment itself precludes the possibility of realizing any of project.  Thus, to gain a foothold, even a possible advantage in our current environment, we must also understand the elements of the profession with the same theoretical perspective as we do our discipline. Insofar as specification writing stands as formal representation of the qualitative "dialogue" of the legal documentation that sets a building into motion, it seems a reason place to begin such a case study.

3 credit hours

ARCH 5290: Color & Light


Color & Light are two of the most impactful materials in architecture and design, yet they are often considered ephemeral qualities that eschew theory and practical research inquiry. While these phenomena are credited as essential to venerated architecture by Le Corbusier, Luis Barragan, Louis Kahn, Tadao Ando, Renzo Piano, Steven Holl, SANAA, Peter Zumthor, Odile Deqc, Kengo Kuma, and many other renowned designers, they are more difficult to analyze than form, ideology, and symbol.  

This workshop format seminar will begin with theories of color pigment (Isaac Newton, A. Boogert, Geothe, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Johannes Itten, Albert Munsell, Le Corbusier, Josef Albers, Mark Rothko, the Impressionists, the Fauvists and other art collectives) and investigate influences of quality and temperature of light to establish a basis for optical principles and applied practices. The majority of the term will be devoted to experimentation and discovery, involving varying media, subjective evaluation and aiming to heighten sensitivity to the aesthetics of color and light in space.

3 credit hours

ARCH 5590 / LARCH 4410 / LARCH 7410: Site Planning Through the Lenses of Architecture and Landscape Architecture


From antiquity to contemporary times, site planning has been a means for the thoughtful arrangement of disparate structures and the careful shaping of the spaces between them.  Site planning, as a significant type of design for both architecture and landscape architecture, is driven by both poetic intentions and functional, ecological and cultural concerns.

This seminar shall investigate, through case studies, sketch projects and current site planning conceptual strategies and techniques, a range of scales and program types, with particular emphasis on exploring the distinctions between the approach to site planning found in architecture from that of landscape architecture, then considering how a more synthetic practice might be conceived.

3 credit hours

ARCH 5590: Architecture : Games : Culture


There is no doubt that video games are a major force in early 21st century popular culture. Less well known are the ramifications of debates within architecture that resonate with such gaming concepts as character, platform, level, scenario, and world building; particularly with regard to what might be seen as the emergence of Post Modern and Post Humanist theories of the nature of architecture. Cultural artefacts such as video games do not emerge out of a vacuum as the technologies upon which they are based are intertwined with developments occurring in other fields of human knowledge. An example of this interconnection between games and architecture is the way that systems of representation first developed and theorized within the context of architecture and engineering have been adopted by the makers of video game technology. Simply put, videogames have not developed outside of the larger forces of history that have simultaneously affected architectural, geographic, engineering, cinematic and art history.

The influences between technologies and disciplinary practices flow both directions; as can be seen in the way that architecture responded to the development of cinema in the early 20th century by adopting montage techniques and cinema-like movement narratives (Corbusier’s promenade architecturale) as organizational, programmatic, and formal strategies of composition. There are corresponding analogical cross-contaminations between contemporary game technology and architecture that have their closest parallel in the influence of cinema technology on Modern Architecture. This seminar is designed to look at these cultural and disciplinary overlaps and to explore their ramifications for the future of architectural discourse. The course will be structured as part lecture/seminar and part practical workshop where actual technologies of representation are explored and examined to understand their deeper cultural implications.

3 credit hours

ARCH 5590: The Thing

Instructor: Jonathan Rieke

This seminar will take as its point of departure recent literature centered on material culture and objecthood. We will begin by establishing literary corpus of concepts, forms, techniques, and theories surrounding the conceptual apparatus of The Thing, to guide our explorations and inquiries into the formal possibilities of an unusual architectural material: EPS foam. Students will explore the potentials of this cheap and disposable material in a series of scalable architectural interventions, with the final project culminating in a series of large things (follies) to be fabricated and installed in or around Knowlton Hall. This course will consist of lectures, discussions and presentations focused on the theoretical framework of thingness and in class workshops and design charrettes which explore contemporary modes of consumption and production vis-à-vis the architect’s ever expanding technical diaspora – Maya, Rhino, Grasshopper, computer vision, 3d printing, 3d warehouse, hot wire cutting, CNC milling. As it is a class about the production of things, there will be weekly physical prototyping and image-production assignments.

3 credit hours