on page .

City and Regional Planning

Architecture Seminars

Spring 2019

ARCH 5290 Topics in Architectural Theory | The City (3) 

Douglas Graf

The seminar will look at the history and structure of the city and the impact of various ideas on the organization, appearance, and functioning of the city.  Within a general framework, there will be a particular focus on a smaller group of cities which have had a significant impact on the structure of other cities, on the imagination, or are particularly interesting over long periods of time.

Topics will include:

The general history of cities

Significant types and exemplars

The specific histories of representative cities

Issues of geography and its relation to cities

Formal invention and it's impact on cities

Peripheral inventions and their consequences (the train, the automobile, water power, the elevator, the internet, etc.)

Unintended  consequences in general (war [Berlin, Coventry], developing industries [Detroit], declining industries [Detroit]

The economies of cities

The role of planning, it's successes and failures

The various forms of housing and their relationship to the structure of the city

The impact of transportation and other innovative technologies

The relationship of the city to architectural and landscape ideas, in general, and select specific buildings and landscapes particularly.

The history of environmental issues, and especially the challenges of climate change.

The image of the city and its significance in politics, the arts, and popular culture.

Readings will be assigned and discussed and a general critical framework will be developed.

There will be no paper or exam, but periodic presentations will be made by the seminar participants on particular issues or particular places to further our investigations and facilitate class discussion.


ARCH 5290 Topics in Architectural Theory | The Architecture of Organization: Visualizing Archives, Inventories, Cycles, Switches and Other Ordering Operations (3)

Karen Lewis

This course will engage the history, politics, and aesthetics of organizing information in various material and immaterial forms. Using the representation skills of architecture, students will develop a series of visualizations that describe the architecture of several organizational systems that engage physical, temporal and social structures. Case studies, and corresponding site visits, will look to the physical organization of materials at the Albrecht Library of Rare Architecture Books, the Central Ohio Mail Processing Center, and the Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW); timing structures of people, airplanes and weather via the Port Columbus International Airport; and the social and human systems that structure the Wexner Medical Center operations.  The case studies will explore the mechanisms and techniques that institutions engage for organizing physical (books, shoes, mail), temporal (travel schedules) and social (human) systems, and will seek ways to represent these material and immaterial systems through a series of rigorous drawings.

To synthesize this field work, students will make books, diagrams, books, maps, indexes, timelines, charts, and three-dimensional models that describe the structure and organization of these systems. By drawing the architecture of what shapes the archive, for example, we untangle questions about the politics and aesthetics of organization. Working between the immaterial and the dimensional, students will describe physical and intangible networks using the visual and technical vocabularies of their own disciplines.

OPEN to Architecture and Landscape Architecture students. Familiarity with Rhino, InDesign and Illustrator is required

ARCH 5290 Topics in Architectural Theory | Not Europe: Architecture in the Rest of the World: II (3)

Jane Murphy

Assuming a substantial grounding in the history of western architecture, this seminar will provide an opportunity to study the architecture of other places:  Asia, Africa, Latin America and indigenous cultures of North America. Both great monuments and everyday building will be part of the investigation.  The class will be organized roughly in thirds:

  1. Pre-15th Century: ancient civilizations and great monuments
  2. Colonialism: East/West influences
  3. Post-colonial and contemporary architecture outside of Europe and North America: the 21st century phenomenon of globalization and its localized interpretations in places such as Vietnam and China.

The first offering of the seminar topic was a broad overview. This course will allow a more targeted look at specific locations or topics.  Students who participated in the first offering of the seminar are welcome to join again.


Ann Pendleton-Julian

If cities build and inhabit the overlap of a Venn diagram of multiple influences: 

• material infrastructure and form; 

• socio-political, -economic and -cultural behaviors, norms and systems; 

• environmental resources, constraints and systems; 

• the desires, identities and cultural constructs we hold and adapt in constant response to these other things; 

• and the urban processes of their own emergence – top-down and bottom up . . .

and if we recognize that our cities are under stress — that all things disrupting contemporary life are changing all things inside that Venn diagram . . .

and if indeed “the city is like a great house and the house in its turn a small city” . . . 

then housing, which is a collective act of ‘house’, can be seen as both the canary in the coal mine and the Hopeful Monster* of a critical inflection point in our history of cities.

Approach: In philosophy, the sciences, art, and specifically within complexity theory, emergence refers to a very specific process; one in which simple interactions among individual parts or agents form complex behaviors and patterns at the systems level. From slime molds and coral colonies, to settlements, cities and social affordances like Twitter, “emergence is this sense of much coming from little.” (J Holland) Drawing from a deep reading of a series of semi-utopian ‘manifestos’, each representing a different degree of top-down to bottom-up (formal to informal, ‘hard’ to ‘soft’) affordances, we will see what happens when we intersect them with a real project in DC–a public-social-private partnership between a major developer and university, foundation and private sector partners–that is proposing a new programmatic model of living with, and for, diversity.

*hopeful monster is a term from biology that refers to a hypothetical individual organism that, by means of a fortuitous macromutation permitting an adaptive shift to a new mode of life, becomes the founder of a new type of organism and a vehicle of macroevolution. 

ARCH 5590 Topics in Building Technology | An Atlas of Novel Comforts (3)

Andrew Cruse

Human comfort is a vital yet understudied aspect of architecture’s environmental history. The dominant idea of comfort embedded in contemporary architecture holds that there is an ideal interior climate at which people are most productive and most content. Such a climate  remains constant across space and time, and does not vary with social or environmental differences. Global climate change is heightening our collective consciousness of comfort as it becomes increasingly difficult to separate such stable interior climates changing exterior ones. This seminar will examine the connections between different forms of comfort and different forms of architecture. It’s premise is that comfort, like climate, is not a stable index of energetic balance, but instead a condition of flux on which human activity has a direct impact. Buildings sit at the intersection of metabolism and meteorology, culture and climate. They are ideally poised to help understand and creatively respond to the environmental changes. Understanding the socio-technical role of comfort in architecture’s environmental history can disturb our certainties about interior and exterior climates, design and energy, the body and the environment. It removes us from our comfort zone, and allows us to get comfortable in the evolving climate around us.

ARCH 5590 Topics in Building Technology | SUPER-SIPs II: THERMO-FOAMING (3)

Justin Diles

This seminar will explore the rich potential of two uncommon architectural materials: fiber-reinforced plastic composites and a new type of recycled foam that can be shaped with heat. By creatively joining these materials with advanced digital fabrication strategies, students will design and prototype an innovative, self-supporting architectural enclosure system. Loosely centered on structural insulated panel (SIPs) technology, coursework will involve the analysis and transformation of historical and contemporary construction systems as well as direct, hands-on experimentation with plastic, foam, a strip-heater and the vacuum former. In addition to learning about the history of plastic materials in general and architectural plastics specifically, the class will visit a factory in Ohio that currently makes large and lightweight composite walls for the military. Student prototypes will be submitted to the 2019 Composites Challenge competition, organized by the American Composites Manufacturers Association. Successful entries may be included in an exhibition at the 2019 AIA convention. (Knowlton students took 2nd Prize in the most recent competition.) Materials needed to build prototypes for the seminar will be largely donated by local and national industry partners.

ARCH 5590 Topics in Building Technology (3)

Karla Trott

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

This seminar will investigate, through case studies, competition comparisons, diagramming and design projects a range of site planning conceptual strategies and technical components.  We will investigate a range of site planning scales and program types with an eye to exploring any distinctions between the approaches to site planning found in architecture from that of landscape architecture, we will then consider how a more synthetic practice might be conceived.

Crosslisted with LARCH 2780/7890