Design for Real Estate

This course provides a comprehensive understanding of the role of design and design professionals in real estate, from project conception to project delivery to post-occupancy evaluation. The goal is to provide developers and owners with the knowledge and methodological tools arising from design to conceive and execute distinctive, financially successful, socially responsible, and environmentally sustainable projects. The course will include lectures with class discussion, short exercises, field trips to recently completed and in-the-works projects, and several guest speakers.
The course begins with an overview of the design standards that shape contemporary building types within asset classes as demanded by building codes, development regulations, underwriting benchmarks, market preferences, and the global standardization of building components and furniture systems. Understanding the rationale for the plan configurations and circulation armatures of specific real estate types helps clarify the role of efficiency metrics as key determinants of building design and the way that space is best configured to create future financial, social, and environmental value. The course also covers the market and regulatory-driven logic of site planning, including the relationship between streets, blocks, and development parcels in urban and suburban contexts.

Beyond exploring the programmatic and spatial interdependency of the components that make up real estate, the course looks at a variety of methods for integrating financial analysis and design considerations especially at when projects are being conceptualized. Students will be asked to explore approaches that balance risk mitigation, typically accomplished by relying on pre-existing models (“comps”), with more innovative approaches that aim to capture market share by defining new needs and audiences and proposing unprecedented but financially viable spatial and aesthetic configurations.

The course explores the interplay between developer as client and designer as professional, with special consideration for how the knowledge and skills of designers can be utilized more effectively by real estate practitioners. This is a required course for students in the Master in Real Estate program, but is open as well to urban design, planning, architecture, and landscape students who are interested in learning about the many ways that various considerations, including efficiency metrics, risk mitigation, and land values, shape contemporary buildings and new urban districts.

Although this is a limited enrollment course, MRE students should enroll directly during the open enrollment period and not enter the Limited Enrollment Course Lottery.