Architectural Design in Detail

 Architectural design encompasses multiple scales from that of the city to the smallest details of construction, transitions and surface. The excellence of design can be judged at all scales, but, most especially and most tangibly at the latter. It is here where the most respected of today’s architects lavish their attention and display their virtuosity.

This advanced course invites students to enter into the scale of the detail as an integral extension of their individual theoretical and compositional approaches. Students will be encouraged to excel in the pursuit of a design methodology which bridges scales and treats the importance of design objects and systems without reference to size. Indeed, the close-in scale will be seen as a prioritized subject for an architecture of relevance to both social and individual human needs.

The course method will employ a limited semester long partial building design exercise as a vehicle for exploring design. Each student will identify an individual ‘study subject’ of a portion of a building, either drawing from their previous studio portfolio or invented for the purpose of the course. The focus will be on relating small scale design to the objectives of a larger architectural composition while, at the same time, allowing for the detail to ‘feedback’ to the larger whole.

Class periods will provide a workshop setting with students largely working individually while receiving tutorial instruction in composition, contemporary technology and representation at the desk. There will be seminar meetings as needed to analyze emerging examples of the detail, including the student’s own, as well as debate the state of the art and its future.

Prerequisite: GSD 6203, equivalent academic coursework or professional experience