Degree Program: 
Design Communications

Course Description:

"We would do well to recognize that technology is not just mastery of a technique but a mental assimilation of the new, a fundamental cognitive shift. Digital technologies have changed our world markedly, both in a way to approach design, as well as in the technical mandate that we increasingly pursue. Certainly, our recent work is virtually inconceivable without digital technology."  - Mark Goulthorpe

His course promotes the further development of communication techniques for the study and presentation of architectural ideas. Advances in digital modeling, animation and rapid prototyping allow architects to investigate, test and assemble their designs in the computer. This data can then be used to generate drawings, presentation images, analytical information, as well as a direct export to fabricate an output. The course will be an overview of all these methodologies, culminating in an architectural assembly. The first half of the course will focus on advanced modeling technologies; testing the assembly through animation. The second half of the course focuses on digital fabrication and BIM; assemblies will be constructed from actual materials, fabricated using rapid prototyping and CNC technologies and assembled for final review.


To develop a constructive relationship between the different media of architectural communication.
To advance skills of diagramming in two and three-dimensional media.
To understand the mechanics of digital modeling, parametric modeling, and digital fabrication.
To promote the experience of space in a virtual reality environment.
To think critically about the appropriate use of these architectural skills/tools.

Course Structure & Topics

Phase 1: diagramming / graphic communication
Phase 2: digital modeling
Phase 3: digital visualization: rendering and animation 
Phase 4: digital fabrication
Phase 5: parametric design / smart models / BIM
Phase 6: web-design
Phase 7: analysis software / algorithmic design

Course Requirements

Class Preparation: The laboratory activities and requirements for presentation will be discussed each week in lecture/laboratory, with supporting handouts distributed as necessary.  As the laboratory's activities are considered cumulative, completion of all activities in sequence is mandatory to receive a passing grade.

Assignments, Readings, and Presentations:  Student work will consist of in-class exercises and critiques. Readings will be assigned to develop skills but also to provoke discourse.  The readings will assist with understanding the goals and requirements of the activities and phases of the laboratory, and to gain real skills in the communications methods and different platforms.   Electronic presentations of work will be projected in the auditorium periodically in order to critique and further the progress of this course work.  Projects will be developed in both individual and collaborative contexts in the laboratory component of this course.

Process Binder: The process binder will be actively engaged as a means of translating critical thought.  It will provide a record/trace of the inquiry and project development referenced in the execution of the projects.

Regular grades are awarded for this course: A B C D E