Introduction to the Practice of Architecture

This graduate level course introduces basic aspects of the architectural profession and challenges students to locate and critically examine ethical and other problems within current practice. It covers a variety of architect, client, site, and program types to expose students to a wide spectrum of problems. Some of the topics include: obtaining commissions; conflicts with a client over construction costs; specialist and generalist practice types; new forms of project delivery; the peculiar challenges of practicing abroad; resolving design conflicts between the community and the client; the administration of the construction contract; and new technology in the design process. Ethical discussions center on conflicting duties to clients, knowledge, colleagues, and the public. They range from the notion of professional detachment, to the moral role of aesthetic principles, to when architects must challenge their clients. Each topic comes out of a case that describes the real experience of practicing architects, including several architects of national and international reputation. There are eight units, each with a case study, supporting readings, and a think-piece or \”rocket\”, which launches possible issues for discussion. The units also include research, fieldwork, and interview assignments, for which students produce written reports and corresponding oral presentations.Note: Course enrollment is limited to 4th semester MArch I students and other MArch I students who need to fulfill the professional practice requirement. More information on the course can be found at the course website: