4.112
Architecture Design Fundamentals I

Despite the myriad shifts in generative and representational methods in Architecture since Robin Evans uttered this sentiment twenty-five years ago, the core premise rings as true today: the way architects work engenders much about the work itself. The principal aims of this course are an introduction to many of these working methods, and the development of fundamental skills that will allow students to employ these methods toward the production of architecture.
The semester will be broken into three independent projects that intentionally bracket cultural context and reference. Within these three larger projects, a series of smaller, focused exercises serve to introduce necessary concepts at opportune moments. The genesis of each exercise will be a contemporary technique, and the output always a conventional architectural representation. This coupling lays bare the explicit relationship between means and ends, establishing a connection between radical new generative models and longstanding disciplinary concerns.

These discrete lessons act as a kind of disciplinary calisthenics. Designed to hone respective skill-sets, the exercises prepare students to approach ensuing design complexities in a strategic way. In addition to introducing methodologies, these exercises simultaneously address architectural representation’s capacity to convey ideas. Discussion will confront fundamental issues of convention, conceptual clarity, rhetoric, legibility and the like.
Students are expected to exhibit progress throughout the semester, improving the quality and quantity of their efforts with each exercise. This incremental improvement should manifest itself in the work itself, as well as in the presentation of the work and participation in discussion generally. Grading will reflect the quality of work, progress shown, and level of engagement. The class is essentially a discursive enterprise, wherein learning relies directly upon exercises, feedback and conversation, therefore it is imperative to attend every session.

At the completion of 4.112, students will be well prepared to approach complex design studios, having strengthened their capacity to represent and develop architectural propositions.