Spring 2021 Undergraduate Studios

ARCH 3017 | Sonit Bafna

Manner and Style

How do architects shape buildings to be about something, not just places to be in? One route is that of the design concept—an idea, or a metaphor, or an image imposed on the design to give it intellectual heft. Another route, which we will explore in this studio, is that of the personal style, an approach where the architect’s way of seeing and understanding the world is made manifest in the way the project is shaped. What the design is about, then, is this personal take on the world, and the way it illuminates the given project.

Students will be set on this route by being asked to work in the manner of an architect or firm of established critical repute. Working immersed in this way, students will not only learn directly from masters but also be able to test the fit of the perspective they receive against their own sensibilities and beliefs, adjusting them till their own takes on their studio projects are sharpened enough for a distinctive character to emerge in their designs.

ARCH 3017 | Mark Cottle

Structure of the Ordinary: Housing in Barcelona

The Ajuntament of Barcelona seeks to build new infill housing in the city center. The need is especially pressing, since, over the past few years, increasing global gentrification and short-term rentals for tourists have severely reduced the inventory of housing available for people who actually live and work in the city.

The Ajuntament is asking for flexible and adaptable accommodations, sensitive and responsive to a wide range of situations. Accordingly, like recent design competition briefs and calls for housing proposals in many European municipalities, they specifically request designs with rooms that are non-hierarchical, function-neutral, and do double duty. The brief also calls for significant communal spaces, including a kitchen, laundry, lounge, work rooms, play areas, and gardens.


ARCH 3017 | George Johnston


This studio will explore the physics and metaphysics of water as an essential generative consideration for urban dwelling. How can we rethink our wasteful habits of intensive water use through the design of more regenerative systems of flow, form, and life? The studio will interrogate the socio-cultural conventions of habitation through a liquid lens - from source to sink to stream, and back again. How can we rekindle an awareness of dwelling as being part of a larger cycle, not merely as so many bodies and buildings and sites shedding water but as mindful practices of stewardship of an extended, inhabited watershed?

ARCH 4017 | John Peponis

Museums as Interactive Environments: How Do Visitors Perceive Exhibition Works?

Museums and galleries deliberately bring together, for the benefit of their visitors, two of the fundamental meanings of the verb “to see”: to perceive with the eyes and to perceive or apprehend with the mind. Implicit in the nature of museums and galleries is a further conjunction between seeing and moving. We move to see displays from different points of view, whether a different angle or a different distance. As collections grow larger, we move to see objects placed in different rooms or classified in different compartments. The conjunction of seeing and moving produces patterns of spatial and visual narrative, of meaningfulness unfolding over space and time.

Museum space thus becomes a communicative medium in its own right. We can distinguish three authorial voices: the displays themselves; the arrangement and the architecture of an exhibition; and the design of the museum or gallery building. The aim of this studio is to design exhibition space taking into account the architecture of the museum building and the character of the exhibits. The collaboration with industrial design with allow us to also integrate interactive technologies and media that enhance visitor experience, perception and understanding.

ARCH 4017 | Ryan Roark

Mechanicsville 2030

In this studio, students will explore the relationship between groundup building and renovation of older buildings by developing a series of proposals for the stretch of Whitehall Street at the northern boundary of Mechanicsville, a neighborhood just south of downtown Atlanta. Whitehall Street is currently comprised of many empty lots and derelict or partially used buildings (as well as some intact, functioning buildings) and will likely be developed in the near future. Our two primary objectives for proposals along this stretch will be (1) to investigate how our treatment of existing building fabric alongside new building telegraphs a specific view of history (and the architect’s role in shaping that view) and (2) to mitigate gentrification, which so often goes hand-in-and with revitalization.

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