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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4.154

Architecture Design Option Studio — Collective Architecture Studio: Roxbury with Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, The Food Project, and Boston Plan for Excellence (Miljacki)

15 minutes southeast of MIT (a short trip on the #1 bus plus a bit of walking) is a Roxbury neighborhood of mostly small residential houses, white and pastel colored—­wooden New England triple-deckers and some single-story, single-family homes—as well as a few brick apartment buildings. At the time when other parts of Roxbury, Mattapan and Dorchester were hit hard by the housing and market crisis in 2007-2009, the area around Dudley Street fared well. Here, in the urban triangle governed by the Dudley Street Land Trust (Dudley Neighbors Incorporated-DNI) and the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), relative resilience to the housing market dive was secured by the existence of over 200 “permanently affordable” housing units provided in the form of those single-family (as well as multi-family) structures. They are owned in a particular way, as stipulated by the Dudley Street Land Trust, such that the Trust continues to own the land underneath them in perpetuity, while the equity to owners accrues more slowly than elsewhere. Both mechanisms enable the land trust and DSNI to develop the neighborhood without displacing its inhabitants and thus (with their collective involvement) stave off gentrification. There is also a lovely park, a community green house, an urban farm as well as commercial and non-profit spaces. It might be hard to grasp the importance of all this from street-view, but the “radical imagination” convened for the formation of DSNI and DNI in 1984 is legend for a reason—important not only for what it has already achieved, but also for what it continues to effect.  

From the 1950s to 1980s, this part of Roxbury, the heart of Boston’s African American community, suffered the dire consequences of redlining, the Federal Housing Administration’s discriminatory mortgage insurance policies, swindling contract mortgages, widespread vacancies, and neglect. In response, this trailblazing campaign, led by the inhabitants of this corner of Boston and the sustained political organization (and commitment) that followed, seeded and now maintain this particular US model of social ownership and urban stewardship.

The Collective Architecture Studio will work to understand, internalize, and celebrate this model as we begin to work alongside DSNI and its partners: The Food Project and The Boston Plan for Excellence.

There was a saying, I want to call it an “old saying” the way science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson did recently in his The Ministry of the Future, that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism. This notion, now part of Leftist folklore, attributed alternatively to Fredric Jameson and Slavoj Žizek, was also important for Mark Fisher’s framing of “capitalist realism”. Fisher was concerned with the “widespread sense that not only is capitalism the only viable political and economic system, but also that it is now impossible even to imagine a coherent alternative to it.” What he calls “capitalist realism” is precisely the naturalization of this notion; that the politically mutable has become immutable. A few years after Fisher’s (2009) writing on the topic, many cataclysmic climate events later, and two years into the global pandemic that has locked us down, the cliché seems to have grown teeth and started biting. Thankfully, alternative models like Dudley Street do exist, and it is precisely within the logic of capitalist realism to ignore them, but each of them is—like Dudley Street—real, tangible, specific. We, and by “we” I mean members of the discipline of architecture, who want to transform the status quo, look for ways to sidestep the naturalizing force of “capitalist realism” (and of the market). Those of us in the Collective Architecture Studio need such alternative models to fuel the rewriting of architectural and pedagogical values. These values are vital precisely because they are not merely figments of an imagination, though they had to start that way.

Architecture has had (and will continue to have) an important role in the work of DNI and DSNI, always constrained by the financial realities of DNI and its partners. The Food Project and the Boston Plan for Excellence are considering different ways of expanding their activities and collaborating on a food and neighborhood social hub, and we will work with them to offer architectural proposals and systemic hacks that support their missions.

We will begin by constituting an archive of alternative modes of city- and architecture-making out of the Dudley Street experience and history, as well as from other US land trusts, including among them lessons from cooperative ownership and living elsewhere. With these we will consider architecture’s role in various forms of commoning, caring and surviving. Like in its first edition, the Collective Architecture Studio will experiment with forms of group authorship. For this, too, we will tap into important local examples. Collective authorship is not easy, the studio will both study it, and perform experiments (on itself) about it.

Every student will participate in the constitution of our studio’s own archives, work and broadcasts. We will read, plan and play together. Everything we make (including our building proposals) will also function as critical broadcasts, catalyzing discussion and/or revelation among our projected audiences. Commitment to the collective (in the studio organization and as a topic of investigation) and architectural follow-through are critical components of each individual student’s, as well as the Collective Architecture Studio’s, success.

  1. Deep dive into the history and archives of DNI and other land trusts, which we will share in the form of interactive broadcasts.
  2. Research on Collective Authorship in Architecture and production of (physical and digital) tools for working together.
  3. The Food Project (mission, operation, and context) research and production of Architectural Proposals for the Dudley Miller Park site, as well as for Adaptive Reuse sites that we identify.

If you are thinking about this studio, or have time for and interest in reading some SciFi novels before the semester kicks off, here are some recommendations:

  • Octavia Butler’s: The Parable of the Sower (1993), The Parable of the Talents (1998)
  • Kim Stanley Robinson: The Ministry of the Future (2020)
  • Marge Piercy: Woman on the Edge of Time (1976)

See reference article.

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 (Clifford)

The Ghost House Studio breaks the 30-year timeline of residential architecture into two modes: temporal and eternal. The existing model is sold through a false idea of permanence, one that is shored up by societal constructs such as settling-down, land-ownership, and capitalism financed by 30-year mortgages. While we suggest homes are built for forever, the reality of construction tells a different story. In North America, we build homes in 90 days: fast for forever. Not only does construction mis-align with the use proposition, but the suggestion that nuclear families purchase land, build a house, and hand that house down to their children is also a misnomer. The average homeowner lives in their home for only 8 years before selling. Whether it be through necessity of climate migration, or through societal shifts, we are a nomadic civilization. 

Alternatively, North America’s foundational architecture is arguably mound-building: eternal structures created by nomadic civilizations. These enigmas upend the assumption that nomadic architecture is dedicated to light-weight, deployable, temporary structures. Therefore, this studio will explore how alternative models of architecture can shift residential timescales. It requires students to design homes to last a short amount of time, while leaving a legacy behind for future residents, community, and society. By designing for two timescales: immediate and eternal, students will confront the societal constructs that have shaped our default approaches to residential architecture. 

Travel: The Ohio River Valley contains many of the most well-preserved mounds in North America. These range from ring mounds to conic, constellation clusters, and effigy mounds. Over the course of 4-5 days, students will experience the relationship between these multi-thousand-year-old mounds, their sites, and the impact they have beyond the immediate occupation of the grounds as well as the societies that created them. The goal of this experience will be to impart the students with a better understanding of scale and legacy that come naturally with these mound sites.

Mandatory lottery process.

Fall
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 — 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 — 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 — 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
4.163
11.332

Urban Design Studio

The design of urban environments. Strategies for change in large areas of cities, to be developed over time, involving different actors. Fitting forms into natural, man-made, historical, and cultural contexts; enabling desirable activity patterns; conceptualizing built form; providing infrastructure and service systems; guiding the sensory character of development. Involves architecture and planning students in joint work; requires individual designs or design and planning guidelines.

Mary Ann Ocampo
Lisbeth Sheperd
Spring
2022
0-10-11
G
Schedule
T 1-6
F 9-1
Location
10-485 studio
Prerequisites
permission of instructor
Required Of
SMArchs (Design)
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
4.181

Architectural Design Workshop (Half-Term) — Networked Urban Design for Resilience in NYC’s Public Housing

Merely to think about cities and get somewhere, one of the main things to know is what kind of problem cities pose, for all problems cannot be thought about in the same way.
– Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Chapter 22, “The kind of problem a city is.”

While we have begun to understand the interconnected properties of our cities, we still lack the tools and methodologies to engage cities as designers along the grain of these insights. This has consequences not just for the inclusion of physical factors at different scales, but also to the lack of influence of those most affected by climate change on design for resilience in their communities.

In this workshop we will explore digital tools and methodologies to conceive distributed, environmentally validated design proposals, connecting principles behind urban networks with systematic design and evaluation of a large number of distributed design interventions. We will introduce Local Software, a set of tools and workflows to imagine, evaluate, and implement networked urban designs by connecting GIS and parametric CAD software.

The course will provide a critical introduction to computational tools and approaches for urban design. Students will familiarize themselves with design workflows that integrate geospatial information, parametric modeling, and geospatial modeling to develop networked urban proposals. We will also discuss the conceptual, social, and political framework for such networked action in urban environments.

In the workshop, we will be engaging with Green City Force, an AmeriCorps program that engages young adults from New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) communities in environmental service. The workshop will begin to prototype a set of distributed interventions – ‘eco-hubs’— across NYCHA properties. NYCHA sites represent a distributed landscape throughout New York City whose population approaches that of Atlanta, and which are in areas of the city most vulnerable to the effect of climate change. Participating students will have the potential to apply to join this ongoing collaboration after the conclusion of the workshop as well.

Open to DUSP and Architecture students, others by instructor permission as well.

For more information email Carlos Emilio Sandoval Olascoaga.

Carlos Sandoval Olascoaga
Spring
2022
3-0-3
G
Schedule
W 9-12
Location
5-233
Prerequisites
permission of instructor
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
4.181

Architectural Design Workshop — The Deep Time Project

The Deep Time Project aims to expand architecture timescales of perception seeking to re-position architecture as a more sensitive response to its environment. The course is structured around an interdisciplinary series of guest lectures, screenings, readings and precedent analysis on time literacy with particular focus on art and philosophy. Looking at the multiple repertoires of subjectivities and agents involved in the architectural process each student will develop design experiments on time aiming to explore a different constellation of temporalities that architecture must account for.

Undergraduate students welcome!

Units: UG: register for 3-0-6 (9 units)
Units Grad: register for 3-0-9 (12 units)

Fall
2022
3-0-6
U
3-0-9
G
Schedule
T 9-12
Location
3-329
Prerequisites
Permission of instructor
Can Be Repeated for Credit
Yes
4.182

Architectural Design Workshop — Gay for Pay — designing architecture for queer economies

Clients, funding, consultants, contracts–architects are enmeshed in financial mechanisms that forever remind us of our direct reliance on local and global economies. Money talks and architecture follows: our work articulating the interests of those served while fluctuating with the rapidity of the market. And while this relationship may be fixed, perhaps we can find ways to resist its normative logics, which exacerbate social inequalities and consolidate power in the hands of the few and the privileged. This workshop will explore alternative economies and financial arrangements through the the lens of queer practice, with its history of instrumentalizing the language of power against itself, to find ways to re-code capitalism’s tendencies, desires, and outcomes.

We will ask whether in addition to designing architecture, we can also design the market that demands architecture–to produce economic scenarios under which we might build. Each week we will pair readings in economic anthropology (studying how economies are shaped by behavior, cultural values, and social relationships) and queer theory (identifying strategies of planned failure, makeshift assembly, and re-orientation) to invent atypical demand-chains, work against models of optimal performance, and instrumentalize culture to undercut efficiency. We will look at how we might produce clients, programs, and actor networks rather than responding to the whims of the market. We will consider how we might think of economic arrangements as tools for designers.

We will read, write, and compile a compendium of case studies for a publication on the topic. Students are encouraged to find broad reaching examples–from the domestication of post-war military technology to the proliferation of sharing economies to recent trends in reuse and the circulation of materials. We will focus on buildings, materials, and products, largely drawn from North America in the 20th and 21st centuries, but may also look further afield. And while queerness provides a shared framework for the workshop, students are encouraged to consider analogous lenses through which we might rewrite the relationship between practice and service. The course will focus on real examples of immaterial and material phenomena, inventing new languages and representational strategies along the way.

*A workshop not just for queer students, but for students curious to work with queer intention.

Jaffer Kolb
Fall
2022
3-0-9
G
Schedule
TBA
Location
TBA
Prerequisites
Permission of instructor
Preference Given To
MArch, SMArchS, SMACT, DUSP
Can Be Repeated for Credit
Yes
Document Uploads
4.182

Architectural Design Workshop — Augmented Historical Pedagogies: Tiergarten’s Hidden Urban Narratives

Augmented Historical Pedagogies: Tiergarten’s Hidden Urban Narratives is a collaborative workshop bringing together three institutions: the MIT Department of Architecture, the Institute for Architecture at TU  Berlin, and The Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. The collaboration will foster a VR- and AR-based, interdisciplinary study of the Tiergarten, Berlin’s largest park and a site which has undergone unique historical transformations. Because of its complex history, not just in field of architecture and urban planning, but also within the history of film, literature, politics, zoology, hydrology, and botanics, Tiergarten is an exemplary location for a critical exploration of the ways through which urban history is written and produced.

In addition to engaging with the site’s history through readings and archival research, students will use advanced simulation techniques–such as environmental sensing, laser scanning, and photogrammetry–as well as game engines, and produce immersive representations of Tiergarten. These projects, virtual- and augmented-reality installations, will be conceived as digital spaces that present the multiplicity of the park’s historical narratives through a variety of mediums, techniques and materials. The aim is not to make a passive reconstruction, but to use these digital spaces as the sites for insightful historical investigations. The final results, a collection of virtual tours and ‘incisions’ through the layers of knowledge and representation, aim to provoke discussion not just about Tiergarten’s past, but also about a re-envisioned future.

Spring
2022
3-0-9
G
Schedule
R 9-12
Location
9-450A
Prerequisites
permission of instructor
Preference Given To
MArch, SMArchS, SMACT, DUSP
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
4.183

Architectural Design Workshop — World Heritage, Climate Inheritance

The impacts of climate change on World Heritage—from floods in Venice Lagoon to extinction in Galápagos Islands—have garnered attention in a world that has mostly otherwise failed to respond to the urgency of the climate crisis. In UNESCO reports, climate change has emerged as a top threat impacting the conservation of hundreds of heritage sites, with an array of risks including rising sea levels, wildfires, extinction, droughts, air pollution, melting glaciers, material vulnerability, unchecked tourism and the massive displacement of communities.

What world and heritage are possible through the climate crisis? Heritage sites are designated for their natural or cultural significance, considered to be of outstanding universal value, and protected for the benefit of future generations. However, the climate crisis renders it unclear what that future is and how to curate a world with inherent uncertainty and disaster. At a moment when the promises to arrest or reverse further decay are unsustainable in the face of planetary destruction, what are other possible experimental preservation practices—material and semiotic—both to live on a damaged planet and, to imagine other worlds that are possible, urgent, and necessary? How to devise a plot, how to give it a certain direction or intent of meaning, when climate change actively eludes, confounds, and evades narrative closure?

How do designers inherit a world in crisis?

“Climate Inheritance” is a design research and speculation workshop that investigates how to conceptualize, visualize, project and narrate the impacts of climate change on World Heritage.

The work is along the three axes below;

  1. Construct: interdisciplinary conceptual framework and experimental design practices; including Caitlin DeSilvey, Rodney Harrison, David Gissen, Lucia Allais, Superstudio, Jorge Otero-Pailos, Amy Balkin, DAAR (Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti), Azra Akšamija, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Bryony Roberts.
  2. Represent: visual atlas of World Heritage and Climate Change from UNESCO reports and data sets. Diagrams, and architectural chart primary climate factors affecting such properties and existing adaptation strategies. [Collaborative. See WORKac, 49 cities]
  3. Project: Each student selects and researches an existing World Heritage site impacted by climate change (its history, mediatic “aura”, etc.) to propose a speculative future narrative in three drawings. [Individual. See DESIGN EARTH, Climate Inheritance]
Spring
2022
3-0-9
G
Schedule
M 1-4
Location
7-429
Prerequisites
permission of instructor
Preference Given To
MArch, SMArchS, SMACT, DUSP
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
4.183

Architectural Design Workshop — The Big Zero

This course asks: what if a familiar typological object—a chair, table or other common wooden element of furniture—could be designed to create its own energy sufficient to offset its manufacture, use lifetime and re-cycling. The Big ZERO Workshop brings together speculation, research, design and making at the scale of the human body and household object to explore whether and how it might be possible to design for carbon zero. 

Our present culture of fulfillment, of instant and seemingly effortless acquisition and consumption of products is built upon a not-so-hidden stream of energy expenditures across vast scales of extraction, production, and consumption of designed goods. Motivated by the challenges, the seemingly elusive chimera and mandate to find ways to design and implement furniture at carbon zero, students will study and re-evaluate the forms and aspirations of iconic plywood furniture precedents that were originally designed for mass-manufacture in the modern post war period. We’ll explore needs for typological transformations and energy “edits” to these precedents. Students will identify that which is essential to the design and eliminate many inherited familiar components of a table or chair.  We’ll work with flexible solar materials and kinetic energy scavenging to design and test if/how solar and kinetic energy could become integral to furniture objects that self-power, self-form, and self-compost. 

In this undertaking and work together, we will engage the architectural imagination to advance critical thinking and speculation on what a possible future world of the Big ZERO might hold and what its consequences—technical, cultural, and practices in everyday life-- might imply. To design for carbon zero is not an isolated technical problem of engineering. Nor is it a substitution of one piece of furniture for another. The enterprise will entail a radical rethinking and reconstruction of the architect’s relationship with design, production, and use.  When household objects in a Big ZERO world operate as hybrids of renewable biomass and infrastructure, new forms of partnership and care with their human owners can be explored-- more like living plants than products.

The workshop will include guest talks and hands-on sessions on wood sourcing, drying and design and computation for human scale hydrohygroscopic wood forming, a process that engages the inherent capacity of multilayered wood plies to self-form instead of being manufactured in a traditional high energy factory setting. Wood, solar and energy harvesting materials for this course will be provided.  Budget and COVID permitting, students will travel to Germany to share ideas and techniques of hydroscopic wood design and making.
 

Fall
2022
3-0-6
G
Schedule
R 9-12
Location
3-329
Prerequisites
Permission of instructor
Preference Given To
SMArchS
Can Be Repeated for Credit
Yes
4.184

Architectural Design Workshop

Note: More detailed description coming soon.

Addresses design inquiry in a studio format. In-depth consideration of selected issues of the built world. The problem may be prototypical or a particular aspect of a whole project, but is always interdisciplinary in nature.

Fall
2022
2-0-4
G
Schedule
T 10-12
Location
N52-399
Prerequisites
Permission of instructor
Can Be Repeated for Credit
Yes
4.184

Architectural Design Workshop — Embodied Computation

We will start with gathering individual research interests per student in the realm of computation with an emphasis on prototype-based experiments, then develop a hypothesis from it, create a preliminary precedent review, derive a design-based experiment to test the hypothesis, evaluate the experiment and summarize the method and results in a technical paper. The process is accommodated by labs that support the development of the computational approach bridging digital and physical using electronics and fabrication to develop prototypes in the sense of embodied computation.

Specific expectations and/or deliverable product resulting from course:

An experimental physical prototype and a technical paper reporting on the design experiment.

Spring
2022
3-0-6
G
Schedule
R 9:30-12:30
Location
4-146
Prerequisites
permission of instructor
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
Document Uploads
4.185

Architectural Design Workshop — Warm Wood

The workshop will include travel to local mills to choose hardwood pieces.
Students work will be showcased at the 2022 International MassTimber Conference.

WARM WOOD is an experimental, hands-on workshop where students will work with solid wood manufacturing processes and hardwood ‘thinnings’—small diameter trees and logs that are typically cleared and left to waste in forest clearing. This workshop will investigate a thermal paradigm shift in architecture, where heating (and cooling) may be provided through and integrated into solid wood (mass timber) radiant surfaces. Foreshadowed perhaps in Archigram’s 1961 proposal for an electric “plug-in” log, we will explore the aesthetics, thermal performance, and possible forms of hydronic, radiant WARM WOOD. This may include—designing the mass plywood Stack as a wood/form composed of layers and densities of hardwood species, pushing the boundaries of what Knot/Not wood can be, and exploring Effective/Defective wood.

The workshop will conduct research on cross-laminated timber (CLT) and mass plywood panel (MPP) manufacturers to understand sustainable forest management best practices and the automated production processes used in these mass timber industries.  Our shared objective will be to engage critical thinking and creative design to explore radiant heating/cooling in mass timber construction as a comfortable, tactile and embodied system with significant aesthetic, energetic and environmental benefits. Students in the WARM WOOD Workshop will create, test and fabricate small-scale wooden ‘hot-objects’ and design proposals for WARM WOOD furniture/infrastructure elements that can be installed for energy retrofits in public housing. Tools will include drawing in section, 3D modelling, heat imaging (thermography) and physical prototyping with local hardwoods and Mass Plywood panels.

This workshop will provide local hardwoods, mass plywood panels, material supplies, hydronic radiant technologies, fittings, and tools to support prototype fabrication by participating students.

Spring
2022
3-0-9
G
Schedule
R 9-12
Location
5-216
Prerequisites
permission of instructor
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
4.187

SMArchS Architecture Design Pre-Thesis Preparation

Preliminary study in preparation for the thesis for the SMArchS degree in architecture design. Topics include literature search, precedents examination, thesis structure and typologies, and short writing exercise. 

Spring
2022
0-1-2
G
Schedule
M 2-4
Location
3-329
Prerequisites
permission of instructor
Required Of
SMArchS Design
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
4.189

Preparation for MArch Thesis

Preparatory research development leading to a well-conceived proposition for the MArch design thesis. Students formulate a cohesive thesis argument and critical project using supportive research and case studies through a variety of representational media, critical traditions, and architectural/artistic conventions. Group study in seminar and studio format, with periodic reviews supplemented by conference with faculty and a designated committee member for each individual thesis.

Advisor
Fall
2022
3-1-5
G
Schedule
see advisor
Prerequisites
permission of instructor
Required Of
MArch
Open Only To
MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
4.189

Preparation for MArch Thesis

Preparatory research development leading to a well-conceived proposition for the MArch design thesis. Students formulate a cohesive thesis argument and critical project using supportive research and case studies through a variety of representational media, critical traditions, and architectural/artistic conventions. Group study in seminar and studio format, with periodic reviews supplemented by conference with faculty and a designated committee member for each individual thesis.

Mohamad Nahle
Spring
2022
3-1-5
G
Schedule
W 2-5
Location
7-429
Prerequisites
permission of instructor
Required Of
MArch
Open Only To
MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
Document Uploads
4.210

Positions: Cultivating Critical Practice

Through formal analysis and discussion of historical and theoretical texts, seminar produces a map of contemporary architectural practice. Examines six pairs of themes in terms of their recent history: city and global economy, urban plan and map of operations, program and performance, drawing and scripting, image and surface, and utopia and projection.

Fall
2022
3-0-6
G
Schedule
W 2-5
Location
10-401
Required Of
MArch
Open Only To
1st-year MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
Document Uploads
4.213
11.308

Ecological Urbanism Seminar

Examines the urban environment as a natural phenomenon, human habitat, medium of expression, and forum for action. Subject has two related, major themes: how ideas of nature influence the way cities are perceived, designed, built, and managed; and how natural processes and urban form interact and the consequences of these for human health safety and welfare. 

Anne Spirn
Fall
2022
3-0-9
G
Schedule
M 2-5
Location
10-401
Prerequisites
permission of instructor
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
4.215
11.309

Sensing Place: Photography as Inquiry

Explores photography as a disciplined way of seeing, of investigating urban landscapes and expressing ideas. Readings, observations, and photographs form the basis of discussions on light, detail, place, poetics, narrative, and how photography can inform design and planning. 

Anne Spirn
Fall
2022
3-0-9
G
Schedule
W 2-5
Location
10-485
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
4.221

Architecture Studies Colloquium

Aims to create a discourse across the various SMArchS discipline groups that reflects current Institute-wide initiatives; introduce SMarchS students to the distinct perspective of the different SMarchS discipline groups; and provide a forum for debate and discussion in which the SMarchS cohort can explore, develop and share ideas. Engages with interdisciplinary thinking, research, and innovation that is characteristic of MIT's culture and can form a basis for their future work. 

Fall
2022
2-0-1
G
Schedule
W 9-11
Location
7-429
Prerequisites
permission of instructor
Required Of
SMArchS
Open Only To
1st-year SMArchS
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
Document Uploads
4.222

Professional Practice

Gives a critical orientation towards a career in architectural practice. Uses historical and current examples to illustrate the legal, ethical and management concepts underlying the practice of architecture. Emphasis on facilitating design excellence and strengthening connections between the profession and academia. 

Robert Mohr
Rebecca Berry
Fall
2022
3-0-3
G
Schedule
F 9-12
Location
1-135
Prerequisites
permission of instructor
Required Of
MArch
Open Only To
MArch
Can Be Repeated for Credit
No
Document Uploads