Spring 2013.

Please see here the list of elective courses available for next semester:

Architecture Acoustics 2

In the spring semester, students will have the opportunity to design their own performance hall. This process will include continued studies of acoustics measurements, simulated sound fields, community noise issues, and professional practice in acoustics consulting. The course will also have detailed lectures on concert hall acoustics, sound quality, and synthesized sound fields. Students will be introduced to a variety of simulation software and measurement equipment in the Acoustics Research Laboratory. After both Architectural Acoustics 1 and 2, the student should be prepared for a basic entry-level position in either acoustics in architecture or in acoustical consulting. Prerequisite: ARCH4840 or instructor approval. Todd Brooks. F 10–1:50 pm.  Cr 4.

Structural Morphology

This course explores design and developments of complex, static and dynamic free forms in context of their structural feasibility.  Efficiency of topologies is of the special interest. The form finding investigation and the evaluation will include iterative process of, building physical models, use of laser scanner to generate computer models, and refine the models based on results of load-deformation tests. Various optimization techniques will be explored. Fragility of the forms will be conceptually addressed. This course is a based on research projects and is open for explorations of specific student interests. The course may include a field trip and international collaborators. Ivan Markov. T 12-1:50 pm. Cr 2.

The Man Next Door: Alfred Hitchcock + the Architecture of Fear

This seminar will explore the cinema of Alfred Hitchcock via the urban condition.  The narrative structures of Hitchcock’s films often move the characters from pastoral settings to urban contexts, and vice versa.  These allegories track naive or innocent characters as they move into self awareness, a transition always reflected in the costumes, music, lighting, editing and direction.  Famously averse to shooting on location, Hitchcock invented and refined techniques for controlling shifts in scale, perspective and space – all part of his reliance on the studio for a kind of ‘world building’. For example, as a way to save on location costs, Hitchcock developed back-lit film transparencies at the scale of architecture. His techniques of sonic and visual abstraction, defamiliarization, continuous takes, color saturation and disorienting perspectives all have analogs in the operations of the modern city.  His themes of voyeurism, doubling, mistaken identity and paranoia are hallmarks of the modern human condition.  He made the first film to address psychoanalysis as a subject (Spellbound, 1945), shot an entire film on one set (Lifeboat, 1944), and his dark comedy Frenzy (1972) looked at the urban phenomenon of serial murder. From the 39 Steps to Rear Window to Psycho, Hitchcock torqued the city  grid as a symbol for both freedom (anonymity) and oppression (chaos).The Master of Suspense has also been seen as a misogynist, sadist, humorist and cultural critic.  We will critically engage his works via screenings, writing and our own attempts at storyboarding and set design. Michael Oatman. T 7–9:20 pm.  Cr 2.

Modular Thinking: Ceramics & Architecture

The path that goes from clay to ceramics traces the history of masonry. Similarly, in the path from the unit to the multiple, a significant part of the history of building has been written . This hands-on workshop will merge low and high tech approaches to develop critical and innovative investigations of ceramics techniques and their processes (forming, drying, firing). The material focus will be on slip casting methods as a way to speculate about the possibilities of “vessel space” — the negative body shaped by the mold and the continuous surface of the slip material – searching for an epistemological inversion in the way that architectural form is thought and designed. The final project will consist in the design and development of three-dimensional units that challenge the idea of what a “brick” could be. Basic knowledge on digital fabrication desired but not required. Gustavo  Crembil. M 10-11:50 am. Fab Shop. Cr.2

Bedford Seminar (taughtw/CIVL4020)

The Bedford seminar is an interdisciplinary Architecture and Engineering course. The course is focused on technology as a form generator with particular emphasis on structural engineering and advanced structures. The content of the lectures bears direct relation to practical experience and are considered to be supplementary to the other courses in the respective engineering and architecture departments. Specific types of structures will be examined with the help of suitable existing project examples clarifying and critically analyzing the basic engineering and architectural principles behind them. The course consists of a lecture by the instructor about the actual subject, presentations by the students of relevant projects and immediate open discussion of those projects and presentations. The students will be exposed to the collaborative methods inherent within the architect/engineer relationship. Limited Enrollment: 10 Arch / 10 Civil Eng students (selection based on seniority). Prerequisites: Architecture Students – ARCH2330 Structures 1, ARCH4330 Structures 2. Civil Engineering Students – CIVILl2670 Intro to Structural Engineering. Michael Stein R 6-8:50 pm. Cr 3.

Living Versus Artificial Living

Based on the universal Darwinism, studies will investigate differences and similarities between living and non-living systems; if and to what degree they are incompatible, and whether the possibilities exist of coalition, or even merging of these systems.  Grounded within contemporary discourse regarding the future of planet Earth, the seminar will try to compare the exponential expansion of human technologies and the infinitely slow, yet perfectly precise forces of evolution. Zbigniew Oksiuta. W 10-11:50 am. Cr 2

Indigenous Landscape Systems

This is a trans-disciplinary undergraduate research seminar that explores a new convergence of vernacular landscape and architecture. It is inspired by the “other”; the anthropological landscapes of the Indigenous and their vernacular innovations to landscapes and ecosystems. The collaborative format for the seminar will engage instructor-led lectures and student-led discussions and presentations, exploring emergent critical theories in the fields of human landscape architecture, ecology, conservation and sustainability. Students will discover new indigenous technological innovations from around the globe involving indigenous materials and construction systems, human- animal symbiotic relationships and resource management practices that are inspired by indigenous innovation. Assignments will investigate and document research-driven design adaptations of undocumented indigenous ecological innovations for the most biodiverse corners of the world. Julia Watson. R 10-11:50 am. Cr. 2

Procedural Materialism: Emerging Techniques of Digital Fabrication

This seminar will provide a survey of the relationship of emerging digital fabrication processes and their affect on building techniques, performances and economies. The ability to access a new range of tools from low cost CNC fabrication to robotic driven assemblies has engendered new scales of consideration and new categories of material performances. The seminar will investigate the implications of theory, performance and practical application of these new techniques. Research will include the examination of assembly techniques that are enabled or accelerated through digital processes thereby establishing new categories of material performances. Lonn Combs. M 10-11:50 am. Cr 2.

Workshop in Architectural Research

India Program Students Only. Cr 2.

Tool Theory

This seminar seeks an understanding of the relationship between humans and the tools they create and evolve drawn from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives. While tool use is no longer understood as a uniquely human activity, it is clear that humans excel at the production of artifacts and that we are enmeshed in technical as well as biological ecosystems. The Seminar will consider ‘tools’ under a broadly constructed definition that encompasses the classic hand-scale artifacts but includes as well, languages, computational processes, production systems, and environments. Design, as an activity, is fully implicated in the making of tools, and designers would benefit from a structured consideration the cultural, cognitive and ecological implications of tools. Ted Krueger. R 10-11:50 am. CR. 2.

Sustainable Building Design Metrics

A review of current and anticipated metrics associated with sustainable building design will be covered as well as changes in the building industry will be discussed. A review of how sustainable design practices can mitigate the climate change in a positive way will also be addressed. An understanding of energy terminology is useful for this course. Course Objectives: Impact of building design and construction on the environment and associated climate change concerns. Design considerations for architecture and engineering in new construction and renovations. Opportunities for improvements in renovation projects.  Oliver Holmes, T 9–9:50 pm. Cr 2.

ARCH4968.EXI India Architecture & Urbanism

CEPT faculty and David Bell (India Program students only) TBA Cr 2.

Eyes to the Ground – Spatial Studies in Counter Culture

The vast majority of the history of architecture can be viewed as the willful structuring of space, in order to serve the desires and needs of the privileged members of a given society. The act of forming a societal structure around the demands of a few, has typically led to a trickling down of values, which spread and slowly become the values of the society at large. While this condition may be equally applied to our own time, one can point to a large number of challenges that has forced us to rethink the above condition and seek new and alternative societal structures. The seminar will examine diverse groups and individuals, with the goal of revealing a number of alternative social orders. We will seek to understand the ideas and beliefs stemming from Romanticism and Bohemianism of the 19th century, the early 20th century experiments of The Futurist, Dadaist, Constructivist and Surrealist, the mid century movements of The Situationist, Beats and Hippies, the Punk and Hip Hop expressions of the late 20th century and the Occupy and Protest movements of the early 21st century. The social spaces that these diverse groups have created, has shifted the manner in which we both, see and represent our world. Engaging in a series of works and writings, we will explore the radical alternatives that have stood as challenges to the social status quo. Individuals such Charles Baudelaire, Wilhelm Reich, Henri Lefebvre, Theodore Roszak, Dick Hebdige and Greg Ginn will be studied.  Anthony Titus, M 10-11:50. Cr 2.

Indian Language & Culture

India program only.  David Bell. Cr 2.

India Studies

Cept faculty. (India Program students only) TBA Cr 4.

Design  Explorations 1

Case studies – Investigations into architectural knowledge using case study methods. Selective architectural works will be deconstructed are analyzed in order to uncover the knowledge invested in them. Case studies will be Individual buildings are subjected to modes of inquiry that will reveal their deep content from conception to realization, including the mental frameworks of the designers, The methods of representation, the technological knowledge employed, the methods of production, and the ingrained cultural values. Students to develop methods of inquiry that will enable them to pursue similar investigations of any architectural work. Jeremy Carvalho.  WF 12:00 – 1:5opm. Cr. 4

Built Ecologies 2

In this seminar, students develop and analyze an ecologically sensitive built system related to their thesis topic with particular attention to the architectural, social, and political implications of the work and their inter-relationships. An awareness of the political and economic forces that are instrumental in the development of contemporary built ecologies creates opportunities for innovation in the cultures of making. (Taught at CASE in NYC)  Cr 3.

Aural Architecture

In this course, design processes in architectural acoustics will be studied from a psychoacoustical perspective. Different concepts to create physical and virtual acoustic spaces will be discussed based on perceptual design goals. Topics include ecological psychoacoustics, sound quality, auditory virtual environments, and auditory computational modeling. Jonas Braasch. T 1- 3:50 pm.  Cr 2.

Lighting Techniques and Applications

This course provides students with an in-depth understanding of the components of advanced lighting systems and enables them to critically explore applications of those components. Through lectures, readings, assignments, and application projects, students acquire working knowledge of the relevant products and techniques for lighting application and develop solutions to lighting problems. Students will undertake practical applications of advanced lighting technologies and develop skills in the application of photometric data, use of manual and computer-based lighting calculations, and the development of lighting specifications. TF10–11:50 am. LRC Gurley Bldg.  Cr 4.


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Evan Douglis, Professor


School of Architecture
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 8th Street - Greene Bldg.
Troy, NY 12180 - USA

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