Fall 2017 Electives

Elective Courses available:

ARCH4020/CIVIL4020 Bedford Seminar: Advanced Building Structures (Civil)

This interdisciplinary seminar consists of students from both the School of Architecture and Civil Engineering department. Presentation of a variety of structural typologies bears direct relation to practical experience and the necessity for constructive interdisciplinary discourse. Specific structural typologies are examined through historic and contemporary project examples that are critically deconstructed and critically analyzed with respect to their basic engineering principles and architectural concepts. Students will be exposed to the collaborative methods inherent within the architect/engineer relationship. The course consists of lectures concerning each topic, case studies and presentations of relevant projects, an interdisciplinary design project and discussion of the projects and presentations with respect to interdisciplinary discourse. Content and delivery may vary by instructor. Staff W 10-11:50 pm. Cr. 3. Taught with CIVL4020. Prerequisite: Arch2230 Structures 1.

ARCH4730 Sustainable Building Design Strategies

An in depth analysis of conceptual planning strategies as well as building system strategies that produce environmentally responsible buildings. Building physics and environmental phenomena including solar, wind and geothermal; passive and active systems and addressing those defensive (e.g. insolation) vs. offensive strategies (e.g. energy harvesting) will be covered. Case studies will be utilized to demonstrate the integration of sustainable strategies into the design process. Oliver Holmes. T 8-9:50 pm. Cr. 2

ARCH4840.01 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 2 – 5:50 pm. Cr 4. (can be used towards a minor in Acoustics).

ARCH4958.01 Contemporary Furniture Design

This course provides a platform, in the form of furniture, to execute and deploy digital design, material and engineering principles at full scale. It will be conducted as a seminar and workshop and will introduce design methodologies that are unique to product design through the process of designing a chair. The course will engage in many of the considerations that are affiliated with CAD/CAM production; material optimization and human factors. Students will conduct research into industrial design processes, found especially in the automotive, aviation and maritime industries, and will adapt these processes into techniques to design a prototype for limited production. Instruction will include: the full scale production of a prototype, its detailing; Color/Material/Finishes (CMF), design for Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM), and the possibility of mass customization. Rhett Russo. F 10-11:50 am Cr. 2.

ARCH4961.01 The Man Next Door: Hitchock

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. M 7 – 9:50 pm. Cr. 2.

ARCH4962.01 Sculpting the Intangible

Architecture mediates our body with the environment. It describes the way we understand our position in the world and how we perform within it. Light, intrinsically attached to the spatial experience, is able to affect, transform and stimulate not only our visual, but our mental and even bodily perception of things. As designers, we must understand the specifics of a given ambiance, its affects and mechanisms to cultivate a formal precision necessary to reproduce concrete experiences that we might be looking for. How can we use light, an intangible matter, as building material? How color, form and texture affect the ways light is diffused, reflected or aggregated? In other words, how they condition its different manifestations? What are the effects and the affects of the absence of light, shadow or twilight? This seminar intends to refine our ways of seeing and test these new observations through making. It is not about the use and interpretation of light through architectural history. It is about the study of light as a device that transforms or even generates space. It engages with the phenomenological and will compare different artifacts, buildings, and expressions that give an answer to similar questions with independence of the time and location they were created. We will study these different forms of light and their implicit meanings; their capacity to create different illusions, rhythms and relations. Elena Perez-Guembe. R 10 – 11:50 am. Cr. 2.

ARCH4963.01 Informal Urbanism

Informality is often regarded as a phase of underdevelopment, a threshold on the continuum of modernization that Third World cities must pass. In Latin America the unprecedented rural-urban migration waves of the 1900s and the persistence of diverse form of informal practices (commercial, housing, transportation) demonstrate otherwise. More than an immature type of capitalism waiting to bloom, it is a key ingredient of globalization and late capitalism. Complemented with critical readings and discussions, this course aims to continue an on-going survey and cataloging of non-formal urban settlements within some selected cities, mapping its history and development from its colonial origins until today, and documenting critical examples of non-formal settlements and innovative initiatives that have been developed in recent years. Gustavo Crembil. M 10 – 11:50. Cr. 2.

ARCH4968.01 I am an architect. I am a breeder.

We have entered the era of synthetic biology. The discoveries that are occurring before our eyes reveal the unity of the biological and the digital language. This opens up unimaginable possibilities. We will no longer copy nature, we will create it. It seems that everything can be possible and attainable. By constructing new DNA in a computer and then translating it to several bottles of chemicals, we will be able to create living organisms about which evolution never dreamed. They will be born and will grow in laboratories. Their development will not be decided by natural selection, it will be decided by you and me. This means that the position of the architect-creator who shapes matter will be moving towards the architect-researcher. The architect will be a well prepared observer who creates scientific conditions that allows the matter to flourish. In the seminar we will explore the future of architecture, architecture that will grow. Zbigniew Oksiuta. M 12 – 1:50 pm. Cr. 2.

LGHT4230.01 Lighting Design

A design studio that explores the roles of light in architecture and its applications by design.  Students conceive, evaluate, and synthesize solutions that contribute to successful lighting and architectural design. Brons. TF 12:30 – 3:30 pm.Cr. 4

LGHT4840.01 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. Bullough. MR 10 – 11:50 am. Cr. 3

LGHT4770.01 Lighting Technologies 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. Freyssimie. TF 10 – 11:50 am. 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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