Fall 2013 Electives

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

FALL 2013.

Architectural Acoustics 1

Providing an overview of the essentials for architectural acoustics design of performance and public spaces, including concert halls, theaters, museums, classrooms, sports arenas, courtrooms, and religious buildings. The course may be used as a concentration in an architecture student’s professional electives, or the beginning of a master’s degree in acoustics. Covering basic principles of sound, room acoustics, sound absorption in rooms, sound isolation and privacy, acoustics of mechanical systems, and sound quality. After Architecture Acoustics 1 & 2, students should be prepared for a basic entry-level position in either acoustics in architecture, or in acoustical consulting. Todd Brooks F 10–11:50, F 12–1:50 pm. Cr 4. (can be used towards a minor in Acoustics).

Duchamp Seminar: Anarchism Umped

Explore the life, work and influence of Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), inventor of the readymade and father of conceptual art. By examining his ideas and those of his peers we will critically map his influence on 20th century art and architecture. Speculated as “the world’s first feminist artist” by curator Helen Molesworth, Duchamp continues to impact art discourse, 44 years after his death. Readings, response papers, field trips (to the Philadelphia Museum of Art) and discussions with two of the world’s leading Duchamp authorities, Francis Naumann and Michael Taylor. Michael Oatman. W 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. This course is suitable for both engineering and architecture students as well as others who are interested in sustainability, climate change and how buildings influence both. Oliver Holmes. Cr. 2. M 6:00 – 7:50 pm.

Principles and Practices of Landscape Architecture

The seminar will introduce design theories, principles and elements of landscape architecture, including site, landform, plant materials, paving, water, circulation, eco-technology, elements and principles of design, and the design process. The course is composed as a series of lecture and workshop modules, based upon complimentary historical periods, principles and practices. Julia Watson, Cr. 2. W 12:00 – 1:50 pm.


Sumblime bodies (codes, objects, and effect)

TBA Matias del Campo, Cr. 2. W 10:00 – 11:50 am.

Sensors and Senses: Mapping the Urban Condition

The course will focus on the comparative mapping of Italian cities using directed exercises in phenomenal perception, recording techniques, and smart phone-based multi-sensor platforms. The objective of the course is to both develop acute observation skills and the ability to gather, evaluate, and communicate the subtle and the unperceivable. The work of the seminar will be collectively developed into a multi-media presentation. Ted Krueger, Cr.2 (Taught in Italy)

Bedford Sem: Advanced Building Structures (Civil)

The course will be interdisciplinary with students from both the school of architecture and civil engineering department. The lectures are based on technology as a form generator with particular emphasis on structural engineering and advanced structures. The course will examine how architectural concepts can be enhanced with appropriate structural systems. The students will be exposed to the collaborative methods inherent within the architect/engineer relationship. The class content will focus on the modern history of structural engineering and engineers, structural models, structures in nature and demonstrations of analysis techniques. Many examples will be presented including projects from the instructor’s past and current work experience. Field trips to offices and construction sites will occur during the course. Limited Enrollment: 8 Arch/8 Civl students (selection will be based on seniority) Prerequisites: Arch Students: Arch2330 & 4330. Civil Eng Students: Civil2670. R 6-8:50 pm – meets 4 wks per semester (tba). Michael Stein. Cr 2.

Urban & Architectural History: Rome

On-site investigation of architectural and urban history of Rome beginning with an overview of Etruscan culture and architecture, Republican and Imperial Roman Architecture, Early Christian and Medieval Architecture, followed by a focused study of 15th & 16th century Renaissance Roman architecture and urban development as a manifestation of the theoretical ideas, sociopolitical context, and historical circumstance of the period.
(Italian Studies Program Students only)
TBA. Cr 4.

Urban Data Analysis and Visualization

This course teaches students how to use data analysis and GIS software to collect, analyze, and visualize a wide variety of urban datasets. The course is intended for students who have an interest in assessing the sustainability of urban areas. It is grounded in understanding and analyzing complex urban systems such as urban metabolism, food security, water access, population growth patterns, urbanization patterns, ecological footprint of cities, environmental stress due to urbanization, and last but not least, energy consumption patterns at urban scale. Students will develop a critical intellectual framework and technical repertoire to engage in the on-going discussion on global climate change and sustainable development of cities.
Ted Ngai, W 12-2 pm. GR210 Lab. Cr. 2

Twisted Siblings: Relationships Between Contemporary Painting and Digital Architecture

Architecture and Painting are two of the oldest forms of societal expression and have been historically linked in complex and dynamic ways. In the 20th century, the movements of Cubism, Futurism, Neo-Plasticism, Constructivism, Purism, Surrealism and Dadaism consisted of dynamic dialogs between architecture and painting. These exchanges allowed each to have a profound and deep impact upon the other. By contrast, in early 21st century, there seems to be all but a mute relationship between the two. This course intends to help break that silence. This course will begin to bridge the divide by establishing new connections between the current preoccupations with materials, procedures and affects that are emerging in both, contemporary painting and architecture. Twisted Siblings seeks to explore and discover new relationships between the most cutting-edge digital technologies and how painting may influence the expressive capacities of these technologies. As contemporary painting and architecture seek to establish future directions, a new dialog and exchange of ideas should be emerging, to ensure a dynamic and radical future for both. The course will consist of a series of lectures, discussions and presentations. Students will be expected to research a number of individual architects, painters and writers who are producing work of related interest. Students will be responsible for completing a research project, which synthesizes the content of the course. Anthony Titus. Cr. 2. M 12:00–1:50 PM.

Built Ecol 1

Taught w/6320.80

Environmental Parametrics

Advanced 3D modeling workshop introducing algorithmic, parametric, and component based modeling methods. Students will gain a working and applied knowledge of using environmental and other datasets to drive their design model. Working knowledge of NURBS and polygonal modeling is required. Staff. Cr 2. (Offered at CASE in NYC)

Chinese Studies

Chinese Studies is a required course for students participating in the School of Architecture’s International China Studies Program. Through readings and discussion students will be introduced to the history and culture of China, recent news and events, geopolitical issues, rapid urbanization and how those changes, opportunities and challenges affecting the urban landscape. Readings will be supplemented by a series of films and related documentaries, complemented by an independent online Mandarin language studies program. Limited to students accepted into the S’14 China Studies Program. Cr. 2. W 10:00–11:50 am. Professor TBD.

Design Explorations 2

Ralph Ghoche. Taught w/6810 and 6964.

Design Explorations 3

Taught w/6810 and 6964 (meets wARCH6810 & ARCH6964)

Environmental History & Theory

This course has been conceived in tandem with the Integrative Materials Course and with Built Ecologies Design Research Studio, such that each student will develop a complementary written analysis that critically situates the new material system that the student is developing in design studio within historical, socio-political and economic flows. The written analysis will directly reference key themes contained within the required readings, lectures, and seminar discussions. Anna Dyson. Cr 3. (Taught at CASE in NYC).

Built Ecologies 1

In addition to concentrating on building performance as an exclusive internal operation this course will assess the external implications that built spaces produce to the exterior environment. In parallel to building systems, this seminar will probe into “landscape urbanism” strategies examining how open built urban interventions are impacting the environment. Via a simultaneous analysis of enclosed and open built systems, this seminar will scan laws of the ecosystem and biodiversity, thermodynamics, urban technological models of sustainability, ecological planning and contemporary sustainable design policies. Peter Stark (Taught at CASE in NYC w/4968). Cr 3.

Material Systems and Productions

This seminar will investigate emerging functional materials addressing physical adaptability to environmental and climatic fluctuations. Bio-climatic responsiveness via multi-scale intelligence will be examined from innovations on material simulation systems, low energy/low waste manufacturing, raw material reduction and material reduction and material consumption reduction within potential design applications. Design exercises will develop building systems or products that reduce material use, weight, volume or energy consumption with the goal of increasing the environmental performance of the system. Jason Vollen. Cr 3. (Taught at CASE in NYC w/4960)

Research Design Seminar: Criticism I

This seminar examines the historically rich exchange between architecture and the natural and biological sciences. The aim of the course will be two- fold: to develop a better understanding of the transformations of the concept of nature and biological life over the past two centuries, and to gain further insight into the way the ‘organic metaphor’ has impacted architectural theory and practice. Ralph Ghoche. Cr. 2. T 2 – 4, R 4 – 6. Taught with Arch6130.

Engineering Acoustics

This course provides introductory materials of engineering acoustics for students with basic knowledge in mathematics (at least on first-year college level). Much of the course material is taken from the textbook Acoustics for Engineers by Blauert & Xiang. The course includes mechanic and acoustic oscillations, electromechanic and electroacoustic transduction, magnetic- and electric-field transducers, the wave equations in fluids, governing equations for horns and ducts, spherical sound sources and arrays, piston membranes, diffraction and scattering, dissipation, reflection, refraction and absorption, isolation of air- and structure-borne sounds, noise propagation and noise control. Ning Xiang W 10–11:50. Cr 2. (can be used towards a minor in Acoustics).

Applied Psychoacoustics

The course covers the fundamentals of psychoacoustics with a focus on Architectural Acoustics. Topics include the functional overview of the auditory system, loudness, pitch, and timbre perception, masking, binaural hearing, auditory scene analysis, multi-modal integration, and auditory perception in rooms. Required signal processing methods will be covered as well. Jonas Braasch. T 10–12:50 pm. Cr 3. (can be used towards a minor in Acoustics).

Sonics Research Lab 1

The Lab is research based. Students will develop an understanding of the measurement equipment and analysis required in order to quantify qualitative aspects of various sonic environments, and examine the ISO standards for measurements in order to develop specific research goals. Students & professors travel to a performance hall to perform measurements, analyze the data and interpret the results. Dissemination of results will go toward furthering the practice of architectural acoustics and increasing the understanding of the resultant subjective quality of a room. Co req: ARCH4840 or instructor approval. Ning Xiang. MR 10–11:50 am. Cr 4.


Building on the perspectives explored in Criticism I, focused as it was on nature as an imperative internal to architecture, Criticism II will look at the question of nature as a broader cultural manifestation and discourse in architectural practice and theory. As such, nature will be examined as an already-artificial and man- altered phenomenon in landscape and garden history, ecology, climate, agriculture, urbanization and sustainability. Ralph Ghoche. Cr. 2. Tu 2 – 4 R 4 – 5. Taught with ARCH6130.

Lighting Design

A design studio that explores the roles of light in architecture and its application by design. Students conceive, evaluate, and synthesize solutions that contribute to successful lighting and architectural design. Russ Leslie. TF 2–4:50 pm. Cr 4. (Recommended for 4th and 5th year architecture undergraduate students – also can be used towards a minor in Lighting).

Human Factors in Lighting

An introduction to lighting and human factors, including classical literature and contemporary studies and development of skills needed to conduct and evaluate human factors research. Fall term annually. Mariana Figueiro. MR 10–11:50 am. Cr 4. (Recommended for 4th and 5th year architecture undergraduate students – also can be used towards a minor in Lighting).

Physics of Light

A comprehensive overview of the physics of light and its applications for lighting. The course uses a variety of instructional methodologies, including lectures, laboratory sessions, hands-on experimentation, and individual student projects and presentations to cover various areas of lighting study. Topics include geometric optics, physical optics, lighting calculations and measures, spectroradiometry, measurement techniques for advanced light sources, radiometry, and photometry. Nadarajh Narendran. TF 10-11:50 am. Cr 4. (Undergraduates must receive permission of instructor).


Comments are closed.


Evan Douglis, Professor


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

Main Phones

Front Desk: (+1) 518-276-6466
Dean's Office: (+1) 518-276-6460
Undergrad Admissions: (+1) 518-276-8478
Graduate Admissions: (+1) 518-276-6877