Elective Opportunities

Below is a list of Architecture elective courses that have been taught in the past two years. Elective offerings vary from semester to semester and not all will be repeated; Fall 2020 offerings can be viewed publicly through Class Search.

Many elective courses are restricted to upper level students, but you may wish to plan to enroll in an elective of interest in future semesters. 

 

ARCH 30311: Architecture which Hurts and Architecture which Heals

Eligible to Register: Architecture majors

Semester Typically Offered: Fall

Description: Traditionally architects and urban designers typically failed to integrate input from disciplines such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, and the health sciences when designing buildings. This course addresses questions about the nature of the relationship between the environment that people inhabit and human experience; and whether building design (both the structure and the interior design) contribute to positive/healing effects on those who inhabit the space. The lens through which these issues will be examined is the San Patrignano Rehabilitation Community near Rimini in Italy - an intentional community which has been designed to produce an environmental healing/therapeutic effect. Academic component: Understanding the theoretical (neuroscientific, psychological, and sociological) and philosophical background to the design and implementation of San Patrignano its effectiveness in dealing with addiction. Exploring the phenomenological complexity and dialectics of building, dwelling and understanding. Identifying the key principles that can be applied more broadly to other forms of community life. Community engagement: visiting San Patrignano and meeting with staff and community members to gain first-hand experience of the environmental therapeutic effect.

 

ARCH 40141: Tesla Elective Design Studio: The Study of Human & Material Circulation Through the Largest Building

Eligible to Register: Junior, senior, and fifth-year students

Semester Typically Offered: Spring

Description: This is a studio course in which cross-disciplinary teams of students from Architecture and Engineering work with faculty and the Project Architect from the Tesla Gigafactory to develop ideas that can apply directly to the design and building of the largest factories in the world. The design questions include the movement of people and materials through the largest buildings in the world, addressing both factory logistics and development of the surrounding community. The learning goals include the process of "First Principles Thinking," a study of the parallels of human and materials movement through large structures and urban environments, create a guide to help a region to accommodate the phased arrival of tens of thousands of new residents, and propose a series of layouts for movement through the Gigafactory accounting for phased growth. The course will include structured and unstructured sessions where students will develop layouts, designs, and patterns for growth that balance efficiency of movement and place-making.

 

ARCH 40312: Social Factors & Sustainability: Effects of the Built Environment on Health & Well-Being

Eligible to Register: junior, senior, and fifth-year students

Semester Typically Offered: Fall

Description: This course focuses on the interaction between people and the physical environment on human health, well-being, behavior, and sustainability. Social and physical factors across multiple scales - from specific environments (residential, educational, work, healthcare, and commercial), urban and natural settings, to the planet - are explored. Issues of public health, environmental justice, universal design, and culture are included throughout. Lecture and discussion class with hands-on assignments and quizzes. Upper level undergraduate and graduate students from across the University and especially in architecture, the sustainability minor, design, pre-professional studies, social sciences, and business are encouraged to enroll.

 

ARCH 40621: Heritage Architecture Sustainability

Eligible to Register: Sophomore, junior, senior, and fifth-year students

Semester Typically Offered: Spring

Description: This course is about learning from buildings and cities past and the present to design for the future. The course will establish a synergy between students from Architecture and Engineering, who will learn to collaborate in ways that their professional practice will demand post-graduation. Students will combine efforts using their unique and complementary skill sets to tackle issues of the 21st century --such as energy, sustainability, resilience, traffic and transportation, natural hazards, social factors, building techniques, as well as urban morphology and typology-- and derive conclusions in terms of costs within the complex dynamics of our modern society. The course will broaden students’ perspectives by exposing them to cultural differences and local responses to cities and buildings; challenging them with critical geographic thinking, location-based data collection, analysis and management, and visualization; and inviting them to chart the outcome of their own experiences. This will allow students to come up with a theoretical framework for tackling problems that are -by their very nature- universal in nature but always contingent in application and to create new and more resilient and sustainable systems. The students will work within a holistic method of analysis and synthesis by exploring both the urban scale and the building scale. The ultimate goal of this course is to inspire students to develop theories for sustainable design (calculate, conserve, compensate, reduce, reuse, recycle, environment, economy) in the light of contemporary environmental concerns.

 

ARCH 41021: Digital Drafting & 3D Modeling: Reconstructing the Acropolis in Eleusis

 

Eligible to Register: Senior and fifth year students

Semester Typically Offered: Fall

Description: The course focuses on practical applications in digital drafting and 3D modeling. By using a studio setting, we will analyze and reconstruct selected buildings on the Acropolis in Eleusis.The course will combine 2D drafting, 3D modeling, texturing, 3D printing, and animations in both 2D and 3D environments.The selected building on the Acropolis in Eleusis will be first approached in plan, section, and elevation. These graphic information will provide the references to create 3D models - their methodology depending by the complexity of surfaces and details. While the models will be processed by a 3D printer, their digital counterpart will be prepared for texturing by unwrapping their three-dimensional surfaces through UV-Mapping. When completed, the textured models will be animated and prepared for a video presentation offered at the end of the semester.To reach these goals we will be working with the following software: ArchiCAD (for 2D drafting and preliminary 3D modeling); Blender (for advanced modeling, UV-Mapping, rendering, and 3D animations); Photoshop (for texturing); After Effects (for video presentations and 2D animations). No preliminary knowledge in computer applications is required for this class. Each of the software above will be introduced and approached by practical applications.


 

ARCH 43211: Alternative Modernities: The history and theories behind the architecture of our age

Eligible to Register: Senior and fifth-year students

Semester Typically Offered: Fall

Description: As you develop your own practice of architecture, you will need to be able to explain your position, to defend yourself against criticism, and to develop a well-informed understanding of how your work relates to broader cultural concerns. No matter where you stand with regards to classicism, being able to place your work in relation to broader ideas about what it means to be a modern architect will give your work intellectual heft. This course will introduce you to the various ideas about modernity that were developed during the twentieth century. Some of these ideas thrived and others faded out, but they all left a legacy for the way we build today. By reading a selection of excerpts you will gain exposure to the key texts of modern architectural theory. We will test them against the architectural production they inspired. You will learn to identify the strengths and weaknesses of these various arguments and to reason out your own opinions.This course is reading intensive. You should set aside time to read every week. I suggest reading in small bursts - these are heavy texts and you will probably digest them better if you read in segments rather than all in one go. The course is also writing intensive. A short one-page response every week will help you organize your thoughts: What is your immediate reaction to each author/idea? These are ungraded, but I will ask you to read them aloud at the beginning of each class. There will be a midterm paper and a final paper. (If you prefer, one of these can be presented as a visual analysis).The course is designed to be skills building. You will get better and faster as you go along. By the end of the course, you will know what's out there and where to go in the future when you want more information on an idea. You will know how to dodge faulty logic and make a strong architectural argument. You will learn what good architectural writing looks like. You will begin to be able to script your own opinion and to stand your ground against architectural opponents.

 

ARCH 45711: Case Studies in Real Estate Development: A Study Through Different Stakeholder Lenses

Eligible to Register: Sophomore, senior, and fifth-year students

Semester Typically Offered: Spring

Description: Immerse yourself in the interdisciplinary nature of real estate development by examining a built project through the lens of multiple stakeholders. Course objectives include: Development Process Overview: Identify the stages of a real estate development project and the primary considerations of each stage; Stakeholder Perspective: Understand who the key stakeholders are in the process and the intersection of differing priorities between the parties; learn to think beyond stereotypes; Reflection: Project how your area of study intersects with the other disciplines and how you can use this information moving forward. This course meets six times on campus, mixed with independent studies throughout the semester. The primary focus of the class is a required field trip to Washington, DC over spring break. On this field trip you will engage in an intensive study of an active real estate development project. Field trip activities include, touring the building site, meeting with project stakeholders and professionals from all aspects of the project, as well as assessing aspects of the project and preparing short presentations. Active class participation is expected. Flight and hotel accommodation costs will be covered. Contact instructor for permission to register.

 

ARCH 50511: Preservation Practice

Eligible to Register: Senior and fifth-year students

Semester Typically Offered: Spring

Description: The examination of the practice of historic preservation within an architectural firm or other professional pursuits. Through a project-based approach, the course will integrate preservation philosophies, programs, financial incentives, project research, documentation, and design through the lenses of private, non-profit and governmental roles.

 

ARCH 51411: Research and Documentation of Historical Buildings

Eligible to Register: Architecture majors

Semester Typically Offered: Fall

Description: The course provides a detailed reference to the recording methods and techniques that are fundamental tools for examining any existing structure. It also includes information on recent technological advances such as laser scanning, new case studies, and material on the documentation of historic monuments. The students will get to work on a live project and help serve in saving a historic building in the city of South Bend.

 

ARCH 53111: The Classical Interior

Eligible to Register: Junior, senior, and fifth-year students

Semester Typically Offered: Fall

Description: The aim of the course is to direct the same sort of attention to the design of interior spaces that is typically directed to the design of building exteriors. The principles of designing classical rooms have historically not been emphasized in the literature of classical architecture; for example, these issues have received scattered and secondary attention from the treatises. Since the ascendancy of Modernism, our understanding of classical design has had to be reconstructed in terms relevant to our contemporary experience, and this course aims to provide a suitable theoretical framework for the specific issues raised by the design of interior spaces.The class explores the design of rooms in the classical tradition, ranging historically from antiquity to the present, and typologically from private residences to public monuments.

 

ARCH 53311: Issues in Sacred Architecture

Eligible to Register: 

Semester Typically Offered: Spring

Description: An upper-level seminar exploring themes related to issues in sacred architecture. The course is open to architecture students and students in other disciplines.

 

ARCH 53413: Sustainability & Energy Performances of Traditional Buildings

Eligible to Register: Junior, senior, and fifth-year students

Semester Typically Offered: Spring

Description: Traditional buildings are arguably sustainable in comparison to modernist contemporary buildings. There is a rush to design and build high performance buildings. Contextual benchmarking of energy performances of existing buildings against modernist building is a good methodology to evaluate this. This course has the objectives of providing architectural designers with tools and methods to make early design decisions that impact sustainability through the realm of energy performances. In addition, it will build a comparative database of energy performances of various traditional buildings. The course work will involve modeling and energy simulation of selected buildings in one of the suite of software: EnergyPlus, IESVE, Sefaira, eQuest, MITCoolVent, EcoDesigner STAR etc. to predict performances, depending on what is to be studied.

 

ARCH 53411: History of American Architecture 1630-1915

Eligible to Register: Senior and fifth-year students

Semester Typically Offered: Spring

Description: This course is a seminar on the history of architecture in the United States from the colonial period in the 1600s until World War I. The purpose of this course is to introduce some of the formative ideas, major monuments, and characteristic experiences of different building cultures in the United States and to investigate various problems of interpretation raised by the material under review. Architecture will be defined in the broadest possible terms to include vernacular as well as high architecture examples of buildings, distinctive urban configurations, and landscape design. Architectural History will be defined as the record of the rich diversity of human experiences evident in the different ways Americans have shaped the built environment to pursue social, civil, and religious ends. By the end of the semester, students should have an understanding of the cultural and historical factors that shaped American architecture from 1630 to 1915 and should have the ability to identify and distinguish between the different styles and periods of architecture from this period. They should have the research skills to prepare scholarly and theoretical papers and essays on the subject, and they will have experience with in-class presentations on topics related to their research.Course requirements consist of attendance at seminars, completion of required readings and writing assignments.

 

ARCH 53421: Historic Construction and Preservation

Eligible to Register:  

Semester Typically Offered: Spring

Description: This course explores the materials, methods and resources available to American architects of the eighteenth through the early twentieth centuries, and the means to preserve their structures today. Historic Construction and Preservation will provide preservation professionals with information needed to analyze, modify, and certify historic buildings for modern use. A survey of data on period structural components, such as foundations, masonry walls, and wood, wrought-iron, and cast-iron columns and beams will provide a basis to determine loads that structural components were originally designed to bear and methods to determine if they are still capable of performing as intended. Demonstrations of production or fabrication methods for stone, brick, mortar, paints and wood framing and trim will give first-hand knowledge to preservation specialists. Acceptable practices for structural rehabilitation will be discussed and evaluated. Students completing this course will have the basis for understanding the process used to build historic structures and the means to preserve them.

 

ARCH 53611: Traditional City: Theory and Reality

Eligible to Register: Senior and fifth-year students

Semester Typically Offered: Fall

Description: The seminar will uncover emerging theory of the traditional city for its relevance in urban design. In the pursuit of human, resilient and authentically local neighborhoods buildings and landscapes the Western traditional city is our inspiration. We will discuss and decipher concepts and theories, and how to reapply them as we retrofit existing and design new urban and natural environments. Along with short readings and previews of images, students will sketch and draw, during classes and independently, testing ideas brought out in the seminar and how they impact future resilient settlements. A sketchbook is required. The final assignment will be to compose graphic representations of an idea. Class Structure: lectures by professors, invited colleagues and professionals, round table discussions, sketching & drawing.

 

ARCH 53621: Nature and the Built Environment

Eligible to Register: Junior, senior, and fifth-year students

Semester Typically Offered: Spring

Description: This course explores the evolutionary roots of form and order in the built environment and the means to more sustainable approaches to design, particularly at the urban scale. While grounded in scientific evidence, a broad perspective of humanism is emphasized with discussions of how ideas, beliefs, experiences, ideals and human nature affect actions and decisions by individuals and societies and thereby affect the form of the things they make. Students will engage with readings, discussion, and written and graphic analysis to address contemporary issues in urbanism and culture, placemaking, sustainable design, and the design codes and ordinances which continue to impact urban form.