Classes

Explore all classes offered by the Department  — use the filters in the right column below to view classes by discipline groups or by semester.

The Department of Architecture is “Course 4.” The method of assigning numbers to classes is to write the course number in Arabic numerals followed by a period and three digits, which are used to differentiate courses. Most classes retain the same number from year to year. Architecture groups its numbers by discipline group.

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4.120

Furniture Making Workshop

Provides instruction in designing and building a functional piece of furniture from an original design. Develops woodworking techniques from use of traditional hand tools to digital fabrication. Gives students the opportunity to practice design without using a building program or code. Surveys the history of furniture making. 

Additional work required of students taking for graduate credit. 

Sasha McKinlay
Spring
2022
2-2-5
G
Schedule
WF 9:30-11
Location
N51-160
Prerequisites
permission of instructor
Preference Given To
Course 4 students
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
Document Uploads
4.120

Furniture Making Workshop

Provides instruction in designing and building a functional piece of furniture from an original design. Develops woodworking techniques from use of traditional hand tools to digital fabrication. Gives students the opportunity to practice design without using a building program or code. Surveys the history of furniture making. 

Sasha McKinlay
Spring
2023
2-2-5
G
Schedule
WF 9:30-11
Location
N51-160
Prerequisites
permission of instructor
Preference Given To
Course 4 students
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
4.123

Architectural Assemblies

Fosters a holistic understanding of the architectural-building cycle, enabling students to build upon the history of design and construction to make informed decisions towards developing innovative building systems. Includes an overview of materials, processing methods, and their formation into building systems across cultures. Looks at developing innovative architectural systems focusing on the building envelope. Seeks to adapt processes from the aerospace and automotive industries to investigate buildings as prefabricated design and engineering assemblies. Synthesizes knowledge in building design and construction systems, environmental and structural design, and geometric and computational approaches.

Spring
2022
2-2-5
G
Schedule
F 9-12
Location
3-133
Required Of
MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
Document Uploads
4.123

Architectural Assemblies

Fosters a holistic understanding of the architectural-building cycle, enabling students to build upon the history of design and construction to make informed decisions towards developing innovative building systems. Includes an overview of materials, processing methods, and their formation into building systems across cultures. Looks at developing innovative architectural systems focusing on the building envelope. Seeks to adapt processes from the aerospace and automotive industries to investigate buildings as prefabricated design and engineering assemblies. Synthesizes knowledge in building design and construction systems, environmental and structural design, and geometric and computational approaches.

Spring
2023
2-2-5
G
Schedule
F 9-12
Location
3-133
Required Of
MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
4.130

Architectural Design Theory and Methodologies

Cancelled

Note: Subject 4.228 will fulfill the requirement for 4.130 for Fall 2022.

Fall
2022
3-3-6
G
Required Of
SMArchS Design
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
4.140
MAS.863
6.9020

How to Make (Almost) Anything

Provides a practical hands-on introduction to digital fabrication, including CAD/CAM/CAE, NC machining, 3-D printing and scanning, molding and casting, composites, laser and waterjet cutting, PCB design and fabrication; sensors and actuators; mixed-signal instrumentation, embedded processing, and wired and wireless communications. Develops an understanding of these capabilities through projects using them individually and jointly to create functional systems.

Neil Gershenfeld
Jen O'Brien
Fall
2022
3-9-6
U
Schedule
Lecture: W 1-4
Lab/Recitation: R 5-9
Location
E14-633
Prerequisites
permission of instructor
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
4.151

Architecture Design Core Studio I

Explores the foundations of design through a series of bracketed methods of production. These methods exercise topics such as form, space, organization, structure, circulation, use, tectonics, temporality, and experience. Students develop methods of representation that span from manual to virtual and from canonical to experimental. Each method is evaluated for what it offers and privileges, supplying a survey of approaches for design exercises to follow. First in a sequence of design subjects, which must be taken in order.

Myles Sampson
Carrie Norman
Zhicheng Xu
Fall
2022
0-12-9
G
Schedule
TRF 1-5
Location
studio
Prerequisites
permission of instructor
Required Of
MArch
Open Only To
1st-year MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
Document Uploads
4.152

Architecture Design Core Studio II

Builds on Core I skills and expands the constraints of the architectural problem to include issues of urban site logistics, cultural and programmatic material (inhabitation and human factors), and long span structures. Two related projects introduce a range of disciplinary issues, such as working with precedents, site, sectional and spatial proposition of the building, and the performance of the outer envelope. Emphasizes the clarity of intentions and the development of appropriate architectural and representational solutions.

Anda French
Silvia Illia Sheldahl
Cristina Parreno
Spring
2022
0-12-9
G
Schedule
TRF 1-5
Location
studio 7-434
Prerequisites
4.151
Required Of
1st-year MArch
Open Only To
1st-year MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
Yes
Document Uploads
4.152

Architecture Design Core Studio II

Builds on Core I skills and expands the constraints of the architectural problem to include issues of urban site logistics, cultural and programmatic material (inhabitation and human factors), and long span structures. Two related projects introduce a range of disciplinary issues, such as working with precedents, site, sectional and spatial proposition of the building, and the performance of the outer envelope. Emphasizes the clarity of intentions and the development of appropriate architectural and representational solutions.

Spring
2023
0-12-9
G
Schedule
TRF 1-5
Location
studio
Prerequisites
4.151
Required Of
1st-year MArch
Open Only To
1st-year MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
Yes
4.153

Architecture Design Core Studio III

Interdisciplinary approach to design through studio design problems that engage the domains of building technology, computation, and the cultural/historical geographies of energy. Uses different modalities of thought to examine architectural agendas for 'sustainability'; students position their work with respect to a broader understanding of the environment and its relationship to society and technology. Students develop a project with a comprehensive approach to programmatic organization, energy load considerations, building material assemblies, exterior envelope and structure systems.

Fall
2022
0-12-9
G
Schedule
TRF 1-5
Location
studio
Prerequisites
4.152
Open Only To
2nd-year MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
Document Uploads
4.154

Architecture Design Option Studio — On Vessels (O'Brien)

On Vessels is a studio concerned with architecture as an act of subtraction and the articulation of voids, rather than a process of addition and the making of objects. Space-making will be conceptualized as acts of removal, displacement, carving, sculpting, excavation, and erosion of material in contrast to the more typical methodologies associated with building; those oriented toward the assembly and orchestrations of parts, products, and constructions systems. The studio will find inspiration outside of the western cannon of architectural precedents in order to ground the studio’s research in, for example, industrial designed objects, works of land-art, and subterranean spaces not typically deemed “architectural.” At the outset of the studio, we will explore the “vessel” as a conceptual model for the containment of space, that will expand the way we imagine the shaping of space at an architectural scale.

The emphasis on the designing of voids is, in significant part, a pedagogical apparatus to draw focus to, and bring new modes of formal/figural rigor to, a relatively yet-undisciplined (this term to be unpacked and debated throughout the semester) realm of form-making in subterranean architecture. Historically, underground space-making has been informed by industrial, utilitarian, militaristic, apocalyptic, and sacred motivations. The studio will eschew programs that are deterministic and/or singular in their means to generate underground space, and instead identify programs that are more more pliable, ambiguous, and enigmatic in order to prompt students to develop new forms of discipline/guiding principles for the designing of voids.

Another important aspect to the pedagogical apparatus of the studio is the aim to distill the architectural problem to fewer, yet-more-fundamental, layers of consideration within architecture studio pedagogy. On Vessels is a studio intended to focus students’ attention and effort on the conjuring of form, light, experience, atmosphere, and the engagement with myriad modes of representation that will aid in bringing students’ imaginations to life. Although this studio is one which is ultimately concerned with voids, the studio will be heavily invested in the modeling of objects as a way to depict the voids students are conceptualizing, designing, and developing. The reciprocal relationship between the making of casts and the making of molds/formwork will provide a conceptual space within which students will revel during the testing of, the rehearsal of, and the refining of underground worlds.

Spring
2022
0-10-11
G
Schedule
RF 1-5
Location
3-415 studio
Prerequisites
4.153
Required Of
MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
Document Uploads
4.154

Architecture Design Option Studio (Bucci)

(Detailed descriptions for Spring 2023 sections coming soon)

Offers a broad range of advanced-level investigations in architectural design in various contexts, including international sites. Integrates theoretical and technological discourses into specific topics. Studio problems may include urbanism and city scale strategies, habitation and urban housing systems, architecture in landscapes, material investigations and new production technologies, programmatic and spatial complex building typologies, and research centered studies.

Spring
2023
0-10-11
G
Schedule
TR or TF or RF 1-5
Location
studio
Prerequisites
4.153
Required Of
MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
4.154

Architecture Design Option Studio (Cadogan/Nahleh)

(Detailed descriptions for Spring 2023 sections coming soon)

Offers a broad range of advanced-level investigations in architectural design in various contexts, including international sites. Integrates theoretical and technological discourses into specific topics. Studio problems may include urbanism and city scale strategies, habitation and urban housing systems, architecture in landscapes, material investigations and new production technologies, programmatic and spatial complex building typologies, and research centered studies.

Spring
2023
0-10-11
G
Schedule
TR or TF or RF 1-5
Location
studio
Prerequisites
4.153
Required Of
MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
4.154

Architecture Design Option Studio — Blueprints of Justice Vol. 2: Human Rights. The Weaponization of Space Against the Body (Stanescu)

“The birth of the body in the 17th century also marked its end, as the concept of the body would cease to define a specific organic reality, and become instead a political signifier of class relations, and of the shifting, continuously redrawn boundaries which these relations produce in the map of human exploitation.”

Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch

Half a century ago the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman's liberty to choose to have an abortion, a landmark decision known as Roe v. Wade. Throughout the past 50 years the decision has been challenged continuously, a tug o' war between different actors, instead of being firmly cemented as a human right and health care issue, culminating in the last decade in a particularly effective political tool. Today Texas, the second largest state and home to 30 million people (a size equaling half the population of Italy), succeeded in banning abortion. There are six additional bans that have been signed into law but are not currently in effect in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio. Yet According to the WHO (World Health Organization) restricting legal access to abortion does not decrease the need, but increases the number of womxn seeking illegal and unsafe abortion. Nearly a fourth of womxn in America will have an abortion by age 45, yet 6 states have only one abortion-care provider, an emergency situation which falls especially hard on people with low incomes. 

What does Space have to do with it?

Given Roe v. Wade, politicians have been seeking round-about ways of banning abortion, as they were unable to do so directly. Space became a primary weapon in the Texas Omnibus Abortion Bill, known as HB 2, signed into law in 2013, which required all abortions to be done in ambulatory surgical centers. Essentially mini-hospitals, these spaces have very specific code requirements regarding width and size of spaces, mechanical equipment and others. This automatically disqualified most if not all Planned Parenthood and other clinics. The entire established medical profession, both in Texas and nationally, disagreed that such provisions were necessary. The law faced immediate legal scrutiny, and in July 2016, the United States Supreme Court held some parts of the law to be unconstitutional in its decision on Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt. 

“When a State severely limits access to safe and legal procedures, women in desperate circumstances may resort to unlicensed rogue practitioners. ... Laws like H. B. 2 that 'do little or nothing for health, but rather strew impediments to abortion' cannot survive judicial inspection.” 

Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt

In addition to codes, the clinics have become a quite literal battle ground and both people seeking healthcare services, as well as healthcare providers are harassed and attacked by protesters who disagree with one’s choice over their own body. What should be a routine gesture in any developed country, let alone the richest in the world, that of seeking medical care, is more dangerous before one makes it to the door of the clinic, then anything happening inside. Nobody should be persecuted for seeking medical care, and nobody providing care, either. This results in added costs, stress or outright inability to access medicare care to those most in need and with the least resources, as well as severely limiting the day-to-day activities of abortion clinics and in time require them to shut down.

The studio will be working in partnership with sexual health care clinics in the US that struggle to exist within the restrictions in order to examine how law and space interact, understanding the ways in which space is being weaponized against the body.

Spring
2022
0-10-11
G
Schedule
TR 1-5
Location
3-415 studio
Prerequisites
4.153
Required Of
MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
Document Uploads
4.154

Architecture Design Option Studio (O'Brien)

(Detailed descriptions for Spring 2023 sections coming soon)

Offers a broad range of advanced-level investigations in architectural design in various contexts, including international sites. Integrates theoretical and technological discourses into specific topics. Studio problems may include urbanism and city scale strategies, habitation and urban housing systems, architecture in landscapes, material investigations and new production technologies, programmatic and spatial complex building typologies, and research centered studies.

Spring
2023
0-10-11
G
Schedule
TR or TF or RF 1-5
Location
studio
Prerequisites
4.153
Required Of
MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
4.154

Architecture Design Option Studio — Repositioning: Design and Repositioning of Skyscrapers in New York City (Simmons)

This past century we have seen skyscrapers proliferate throughout cities worldwide. The realities of climate change, the global pandemic, the drive for renewable energy and their corollary in high-performance, energy efficient electrified buildings has precipitated a massive unprecedented movement towards the comprehensive repositioning of skyscrapers. Whether necessitated by obsolete and failing mechanical systems and building envelopes, by structures that require remediation and augmentation, by spaces and environments that are outdated and fail to meet contemporary market expectations — there are now powerful cultural, technical and economic forces that have catalyzed the need and desire for the radical transformation of existing tall and large-scale buildings. A global design and construction industry has emerged around the world to meet these fascinating opportunities.

Spring
2022
0-10-11
G
Schedule
RF 2-5
Location
3-415 studio
Prerequisites
4.153
Required Of
MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
Document Uploads
4.154

Architecture Design Option Studio (Garcia-Abril)

The fall studio seeks to analyze the location and through the #mattertodata methodology develop an architectural project for artist residences in La Illa del Rei, Menorca. The analysis of traditional materials and building practices in conjunction with experimental #mattertodata techniques will allow the student to explore and push the boundaries of architectural design.

The program of Artists' residences will form part of the creative process. The student after a thorough analysis of referential material and context will propose the relation with Hauser Wirth gallery beside.

#mattertodata is a space for experimentation. A testing ground that seeks to connect our head with our hands and our hands with the materials that build architecture. It is through this intimate encounter that we can understand, learn and unlearn, maybe then innovate. A space for  Action. 

#mattertodata explores the extraction of valuable creative resources from the manipulation of matter, and the exposure to the common forces and energies that constitute the spatial event, to be transformed into data, source to engineer, detail, and prescribe architecture documentation. This reverse process of design will allow students to explore the immense complexities of play with matter, the observation and analytical outlook that architects develop to read the spaces that the game generates, and how to transform them into architecture.

Location
The location will be in Illa del Rei, Menorca. An Island situated within the bay of Mahon with a rich history that reflects the complexity of Menorca’s history and culture.

Started as the first touching point of King Alfonso III of Aragon during the Christian conquest of the island, then moved on to be a British naval hospital, passing to the French and Spanish. Finally, in the 21st century, it has since 2021 become a cultural hotspot where the Spanish branch of the art gallery Hauser and Wirth is located.

This rich cultural baggage that is carried on to contemporary culture is an indicator of how any intervention should be consequential in its nature.

Mandatory lottery process.

Fall
2022
0-10-11
G
Schedule
TR 1-5
(+ some Fridays)
Location
3-415 studio
Prerequisites
4.153
Required Of
MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
Document Uploads
4.154

Architecture Design Option Studio — Serra da Capivara (Bucci/Salgueiro Barrio)

The proposal of the studio builds upon Amazonia Studio 1, carried out last year, which engaged the archaeological site of Monte Alegre in the State of Pará in the Amazon region. That previous studio relied on the participation of archeologist Edithe Pereira, who has been researching Monte Alegre for three decades, and Raoni do Vale, who researches rupestrian inscriptions (rock markings) with an anthropological lens and indigenous researchers. In addition, we had the support of the University of Manaus, through Professor Marcos Cereto.

The accumulation of information gathered in the last year, primarily through our guests' lectures, as well as the collection of projects developed by the students during the studio for the Monte Alegre site, combined with the wealth of archaeological information organized by the Museu do Homem Americano, FUMDHAM in Serra da Capivara, make it now possible to advance the elaboration of architectural propositions in this significant frontier between artifacts and landscapearchitecture and geomorphology, between the vastness of archaeological time and the immediacy of our environmental urgencies.

Site

The Serra da Capivara National Park — created in 1979 and expanded in 1990 — is located in the south of the state of Piauí, on the eastern margin of the Brazilian Amazon, just outside the Amazon biome. With an area of 135,000 hectares, the park is surrounded by the municipalities of São Raimundo Nonato, to the south, Coronel José Dias, to the southeast, João Costa, to the northeast, and Brejo do Piauí, to the northwest. The park is located between two important hydrographic basins, 100km north of the Sobradinho dam lake, on the São Francisco river in state of Bahia and 250km south of the Nova Esperança dam lake, on the Parnaíba river on the border between the states of Piauí and Maranhao.

Roi Salgueiro Barrio
Spring
2022
0-10-11
G
Schedule
RF 1-5
Location
3-415 studio
Prerequisites
4.153
Required Of
MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
4.154

Architecture Design Option Studio (Cassell / Yao) — Parallel Play | Pedagogy, Form, and Daylight

“Perhaps our largest challenge [as teachers] is to overcome the fear of disequilibrium – our own and that of our students – and trust that those instances in which the bedrock of our assumptions and understanding begins to waver mark the edge of new understanding” Naomi Mulvihill. How Do You Say Twos in Spanish, If Two is Dos? Language as Means and Object in a Bilingual Kindergarten Classroom. 

This is an intensive studio with an emphasis on experimentation and production. There is no pre-determined or expected solution to the problem; students will delve deep into the intersection of pedagogy of dual-language learning, architectural form, and daylight, and take calibrated risks to produce new and extraordinary outcomes. As practicing architects, we synthesize detailed information and multiple ideas in the design of buildings. The studio will promote programmatic and formal invention through an iterative design process that is grounded in deep engagement with how people use and experience architecture. How do we gain new understanding of the relationship between the child and the community through design?  

The program will be a dual-language lab school, of approximately 22,000 square feet, located in Roxbury, MA. The school will serve students from kindergarten through second grade and provide spaces for the broader community. Dual-language schools are grounded in an approach to teaching young children their home language as well as English, in parallel. Beyond the classroom, this school model supports families within diverse immigrant and indigenous communities. We will engage directly with teachers from the community who specialize in dual-language learning, to better understand the nuances of the neighborhood and complexities of teaching multiple languages to young learners.  

The studio’s methodology will synthesize four areas of exploration sequentially: Within the classroom unit, how will engaging the specific pedagogy of dual-language learning lead to innovative design? How is the rigorous study of daylight integrated with the performative and programmatic design of the classroom and the entire building? How does the aggregation of classrooms create a larger organizational strategy for the building that supports the community of teachers and students? How does the identity of the building relate to the larger community of the neighborhood and city?  

Daylight conditions will be modeled using both Climate Studio software and physical models. The small size of the project will enable each student to study multiple design alternatives and variations for the program, site, massing, and envelope, using feedback gained from both analog and digital tools. 

The studio will meet twice weekly, Tuesdays and Fridays (50% virtual, 50% in person). The studio will be taught primarily by Stephen Cassell and Kim Yao. Their partner, Adam Yarinsky, will attend key pin-ups and reviews. There will be a studio trip to New York City to visit relevant projects and Architecture Research Office (ARO).  

Stephen Cassell
Kim Yao
Spring
2023
0-10-11
G
Schedule
TF 1-5
(50% in-person, 50% virtual)
Location
studio
Prerequisites
4.153
Required Of
MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
4.154

Architecture Design Option Studio — 36 Chambers: Exploring Deep Knowledge of Site, and Implementing Audio Technologies in Architectural Representation (D. Garcia)

This studio will design audio-focused building interventions, focusing on sites near or around the traditional territory of the Wampanoag Nation. We will consider site and landscape as narrative mediums. In the same way that we think of museums, galleries, monuments and archives as vessels of knowledge, we will equally acknowledge the stories that exist outside of them. We will inquire into the existence of counter-narratives in the land around us that require new forms of interpretation, display, and communication. This studio will emphasize site analysis, the development of building drawings, and the expression of an architectural character that intervenes in the physical environment, while incorporating an education in the fundamentals of electronics and acoustics. Students will learn how sound reproduction works, how to build circuits, and design and build loud-speaking architectural models. The studio will be divided into weekly topics including soundscape ecology, acoustic epistemology, oral history, digital materiality, and others. Screenings, readings, and discussion are supported by hands-on workshops in capturing, manipulating, and reproducing sound for integration into architectural models. The live remix, as both media state and storytelling technique, will be employed as a presentation methodology as the studio will culminate in a listening party of architecture’s ghost stories.

Spring
2022
0-10-11
G
Schedule
TR 1-5
Location
3-415 studio
Prerequisites
4.153
Required Of
MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
Document Uploads
4.154

Architecture Design Option Studio (Stanescu)

(Detailed descriptions for Spring 2023 sections coming soon)

Offers a broad range of advanced-level investigations in architectural design in various contexts, including international sites. Integrates theoretical and technological discourses into specific topics. Studio problems may include urbanism and city scale strategies, habitation and urban housing systems, architecture in landscapes, material investigations and new production technologies, programmatic and spatial complex building typologies, and research centered studies.

Spring
2023
0-10-11
G
Schedule
TR or TF or RF 1-5
Location
studio
Prerequisites
4.153
Required Of
MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
4.154

Architecture Design Option Studio — CARBONFJORD: Center for Biogeochemistry in the Anthropocene (CBA) — Re-thinking Materials + Modes of Habitation for a Despoiled Planet: Friluftsliv + Dugnad (Goulthorpe)

Studio Focus
Carbon Cycle , Bio Systems, Dwelling, Hydrogen, Composite Production, Energy/Climate Policy/Principle, Carbon Nanotube, Carbon Foam, Numeric Command Machining, Finite Element Analysis, Life Cycle Analysis, Parametric Modeling, Automated Production, Integrated Services, Anti-Tectonics, More from Less

CarbonHouse is an on-going research initiative funded by ARPA-e (the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the US Dept of Energy) that involves MIT and 9 groups of international scientists, researchers, composite fabricators, all focused on emerging forms of Carbon for their holistic use in benign, high-performance buildings. The lead MIT architecture team is tasked with inventing a new material/production potential as a means to supplement hydrogen production at vast scale: only the building sector is held to be able to absorb carbon at the scale of C21 projected global energy production, with renewables seen as falling well short of global demand. 

In Towards a New Architecture, le Corbusier gave vision to steel and concrete buildings, evidenced in elegant pioneering prototypes (Villa Savoie, Phillips Pavilion, etc). The studio will be tasked with imagining a now-carbon material paradigm, similarly learning from boats and planes, but deploying the brilliant 6th element for its full architect potential, uniquely polyvalent and vividly polyfunctional. 

The site will be the arctic coastline of Norway's stunning but desolate Lotofen archipelago, recently subject to a government moratorium on exploratory drilling for oil owing to the environmental activism of young Norwegian activists, yet poised atop the vast oil and gas reserves that have supplemented the enviable lifestyle of the small Scandinavian populace. The history of the region is animated by successive commercial exploitation of natural resources, from fish to timber to whales and now to hydrocarbons, each time facing economic hardship as reserves have been depleted, often being forced to innovate to remain competitive. Here we seek innovation well in advance of depletion in response to the looming environmental threat posed by hydrocarbons: we seek to build-with rather than burn the precious organic legacy.  

You will devise a research institute, akin to the Aspen Institute (humanitarian issues), the Rocky Mountain Institute (Energy/CO2 Policy) or the Salk Institute (Biomedical Research) — all serene research retreats that have exerted profound influence on their respective fields. But this will be a Center For Biogeochemistry In The Anthropocene (CBA), looking to instantiate a carbon architecture as a means to lock carbon in solid form to help restore the magisterial but increasingly fragile carbon cycle described by the Norwegian biologist, Dag Olav Hessen, who heads the CBA Center. It is poignantly sited in an evidently fragile and despoiled ecosystem.  

Spring
2022
0-10-11
G
Schedule
TF 1-5
Location
3-415 studio
Prerequisites
4.153
Required Of
MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
Document Uploads
4.154

Architecture Design Option Studio (Aguirre)

AFTERSTUFF
We have made too much stuff. The pervasive production model of more, faster, cheaper has created a counterproductive muchness of simultaneous material excess and environmental precarity. This persistent push for newness makes what is culture today, product tomorrow, trash the next and is contributing to social inequity and climate crisis alike. From sites of extraction to storage units to distribution centers and Pinterest boards, architecture is implicated at all scales of this saturation.

AFTERSTUFF begins from this context of material excess, experimenting with tools and methods that point designers towards less extractive material paradigms, ones that divert resources out of existing commercial loops and towards an approach where resources are gathered, not purchased.

AFTERSTUFF proposes to design by rearranging what we have already made, by putting it towards different uses; by looking at the existing through a lens of newness rather than producing new. Instead of turning culture into a commodity we will use existing commodities and their sites towards the production of culture.

Throughout the term, each student will research the multiscalar world created by a commodity of their choice. From the Commodity itself (object scale) to Container (architectural scale) to Context (landscape scale) to Commerce (economic scale) and finally to Culture (socio-aesthetic scale). Students will pay equal regard to the material as well as the immaterial factors that affect it and our observations will span from the technical and the architectural to the aesthetic and the personal. Students will then design an intervention on a select scale of that research, by rearranging its components to point them towards more culturally beneficial outputs.

To do this, AFTERSTUFF proposes a specific 2 part formula for design which will divide the semester along 2 big exercises: First one titled ‘X1: Arranged (AS IS)’ which will serve mainly as the research portion and the second one titled ‘X2: Rearranged (AS IF)’ which will serve as the design portion.

1. X1: Arranged (AS IS): This phase will focus on mapping out how things are currently. Students will engage in creative research, accumulating not just information but gathering visual content, material samples, anecdotes, building components etc. Each week students will move up a scale with the goal of completing a fuller picture of the forces, sites and architectures that organize the circulation of this commodity. The exercise will ultimately take the shape of an amateur desktop documentary about their learnings, which will require them to develop a number of scenographic and animation skills. Students are expected to use this exercise as a prompt for research, as a time for representational skillbuilding, as a way to find new interests and unlikely sites of intervention towards meaningful change.

2. X2: Rearranged (AS IF): In the second half of the semester, students will select a scale upon which to intervene by rearranging the world of their commodity to serve less predictably commercial ends and instead pointing these resources towards more cultural outputs. Some students might choose to introduce a new way of distributing this commodity, some might choose to resassemble a building’s components while others might choose to introduce a new program to the site. Students may nudge the project towards their existing interests in design by choosing the scale and character of this intervention as long as it follows the commodity pointing towards the culture logics mentioned above. The output of this second exercise will vary from student to student but will all be required to make use of the animation / scenographic tools from the ‘X1: Arrange (AS IS)’ exercise, making the work of the semester cumulative. In addition to the research and design, we will develop a number of ‘low hanging fruit’ XR techniques to augment and further immerse the audience into the student’s final productions.

AFTERSTUFF will foreground designers and thinkers who set their practices in this moment of material reckoning and proposeother modes of operating within material culture. From adaptive reuse projects to those creating recycling tools to those advocating for a commercial antagonism. All in all, AFTERSTUFF focuses on developing creative architectural reuse strategies while using research as a way to get designers away from common sites of intervention and towards less likely candidates for architect’s design efforts.

This cumulative research and eventual design proposals will be published in a multi-year public website.

Fall
2022
0-10-11
G
Schedule
TR 1-5
Location
3-415 studio
Prerequisites
4.153
Required Of
MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
Document Uploads
4.154

Architecture Design Option Studio (Scott)

Islands are examples of landscapes, ecologies and communities on the delicate and leading edge of sustainability and the imminent challenges brought about by climate change. The Galapagos are a prime example. Often challenged but sustained by consequences of tourism, they tread a fine line between economic and cultural viability on the one hand and the impacts of environmental and climatic vulnerability on the other. In such scenarios, island communities, such as Cuttyhunk, work hard to survive and become resilient- but with a concern around the policies they need to implement in the future to achieve a new form of ecological balance and real sustainability.  

The delicacy of this ecological balance is also subject to an understanding of the ‘flows’, in and out / to and fro, that sustain this native island and its culture - and perhaps provide a framework for understanding interactions over variable time scales that create strategies towards a more resilient future. As an example, many smaller-scaled islands such as Cuttyhunk, have flows and changing seasonal cycles of people, resources, goods, waste, climate variations, animals, vegetation and beaches to name a few of the most obvious. Also these flows and cycles can be traced and mapped through history to reveal a palimpsest of physical responses by earlier generations that have inhabited the island. Set against this scenario, the studio for the semester will work with the island of Cuttyhunk in southern Massachusetts, to consider how as architects we must engage with such issues in considering how to impact change on an island through design and architecture. 

While the nearby twelve-mile-long Elizabeth islands are unique as they are mostly uninhabited for the purposes of preservation, Cuttyhunk is the exception and grows from a population of only about twelve people in winter to several hundred with summer visitors, in addition to the regular day-trippers and significant numbers of visiting boaters from July to September. The island is about 1.5 x 0.75 miles and is accessed by a daily ferry from New Bedford. 

The southern half of the island is wild in nature and is still is farmed with oyster beds, while the northern end has a protected boat basin surrounded by mostly moderately-scaled summer homes and a network of roads. During three summer months the island is busy and active with flows of people, boats, resources, waste and fuel, but quietens down as it faces the winter months when essential repair and infrastructural work is completed and the people disappear. As mentioned, Cuttyhunk is in a balancing act as it questions whether it is a community that can exist outside of the short summer months for visitors - and if so it will need to figure out how to survive while preserving the island's culture and ecology, flora and fauna, and the future impacts of a changing climate. The thesis of the studio is that in times of climate change, sea level rise and a more-volatile climate, the island can retain positive outlook on its future as a year-round community, including being a laboratory for observing changes to the land, landscape and ocean and fishing, while also being a resource for learning and testing new ideas that enable it be exist sustainably. 

The studio will use Cuttyhunk as the context for making architecture as a strategic and physical act on the island. We will consider two projects: a short project that consider show to rethink the summit ‘destination’ and high point on the island (with 360 degree views) that is in need of new design thinking; and a longer project that is a modestly-scaled residential ecological education center that poses the possibility of new directions for public engagement on the island’s future. The idea is for the center to be a resource for visitors of different ages and backgrounds to spend time experiencing and researching the island and to express this through a non-invasive, resilient and adaptive form of architecture.  

‘Sites’ (as different landscape profiles, orientations and microclimates) will be determine from a larger consider of the island climate and ecology, together with the ability to support specific architectural concepts. Such concepts will look for a formal clarity as typologies together with a tectonic language of material and assembly appropriate for building on an island (including the notion of all timber prefabrication for transportation) with a variable climate that suggest different modes of openness and privacy. It is anticipated that design projects will have to be climatically resilient and self-sufficient in terms of energy and resources. The studio will aim to visit Cuttyhunk relatively early in the semester for experiencing the island and making specific studies to enhance and understanding of the inherent ‘ecological flows’. 
 

Fall
2022
0-10-11
G
Schedule
TR 1-5
Location
3-415 studio
Prerequisites
4.153
Required Of
MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
Document Uploads
4.154

Architecture Design Option Studio (Miljacki)

(Detailed descriptions for Spring 2023 sections coming soon)

Offers a broad range of advanced-level investigations in architectural design in various contexts, including international sites. Integrates theoretical and technological discourses into specific topics. Studio problems may include urbanism and city scale strategies, habitation and urban housing systems, architecture in landscapes, material investigations and new production technologies, programmatic and spatial complex building typologies, and research centered studies.

Spring
2023
0-10-11
G
Schedule
TR or TF or RF 1-5
Location
studio
Prerequisites
4.153
Required Of
MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No