ARC551 Comprehensive Architectural Design Studio / fall 2015

This architectural design studio focuses upon comprehensive design and serves as the culmination of the fulfillment of students’ performance criteria through the integration of all major building and urban systems while addressing human, social, and environmental issues. There are two sites for this project and both are located in the State of Maryland, one within the city of Baltimore and the other in the country side. By elaborating these projects the purpose is, besides exercising all the requirements contained in the programs, to compare and realize how a same architectonic program could be developed in this two sites with very particular results.

This comprehensive studio will require each student to provide a much higher level of technical development and documentation than might have been expected previously. While an exception among studios, these requirements will be the norm in a professional environment. As such, this studio is a critical component in preparation for moving on to a career in the profession. ARC541 is organized to complement and support this studio’s efforts, and the two courses are highly coordinated to help you achieve a successful outcome. Both courses share a focus on tectonic culture (the art of the construction of architecture) and building technology and practices.

The studio will require applying both a breadth and depth of knowledge to the design process. Breadth refers to the range of considerations embraced in design process and exploration of history, theory, site analysis, program analysis, regulatory requirements, building technology, and environmental issues/energy analysis as they apply to your project. Depth refers to the maturity, clarity, and sophistication of ideas, thorough development of the project, and efficient, clear, and successful representation and communication of your ideas.

The products in this Studio are mainly two: a Master Plan proposal developed by groups and a Building Architectural Design to be developed individually. However, there are some additional preliminary assignments which give support and create an important data base for the first.

To see the preliminary assignments and Projects included in the present course click here.


 ARC351 Design III: context/ fall 2015

Design III studio is devoted to the context. We have a context in a town structure according to social, political and economic components. At the same time, there is a context according to the Government and the community that contains us. We also have the urban context expressed in terms of the city profile or skyline with all its image characteristics and, what most frequently discussed, we have a natural context of the landscape elements (ecology) surrounding our plot. All this is the context that surrounds us and which we must take into account in design process. However, taking it into account does not mean to imitate it or continue it, not necessarily. Therefore, context is that important factor to always consider. This studio contains 2 cases seeking to exercise the idea of context from different points of view. The main objective behind this is to strengthen the intention of considering the context as a basic component in all architectural design exercise. 

1. The first assignment is to design a new auditorium for the town of New Harmony. The Robert Lee Blaffer Foundation is requesting for this project in this outstanding settlement of Indiana and the whole mid-west. The main interest on this new facility is to offer better and more adequate spaces for theater plays and other distinguished ceremonies, these counting not only partakers from Indiana but also from Kentucky and Illinois. Visitors’ attraction to this charismatic town has been increasing on the last years, and that together with a strong theatre tradition since 1800’s has motivated the foundation to undertake this new challenge with renew eagerness.  See the results here.

2. The second assignment is to create a Zero-Waste System Homestead Housing and productive development based on Permaculture here in the Carbondale area, in Southern Illinois, where natural conditions are very appropriate for such labors according to Wayne Weiseman, an instructor on Permaculture who lives here at Carbondale and will be collaborating with us in class. He is also director of Kinstone Academy of Applied Permaculture, an educational organization teaching Permaculture and whole systems design, located in Fountain City, Wisconsin. Five distinct ecosystems create a spectacular backdrop in Southern Illinois consisting of rich geological history and countless botanical and animal life forms. That’s the reason why farms that produce food using organic and sustainable methods are popping up around the region. See the results here.