This course, for students in the fourth semester of the MArch I program, examines basic issues arising in contemporary architectural practice. The course challenges the students to examine critically a broad range of professional, legal, business, and ethical problems that they are likely to face in practice.
Each unit focuses on a case study that describes the actual experience of an architect, including several architects of national and international reputation. The subjects of the cases include: obtaining a commission, controlling construction costs, conflicts between the client and the community, the advantages and disadvantages of specialized practice, new forms of project delivery, monitoring a contractor’s performance, working in another country, methods of collaboration, and the impacts of new technology. Several architects whose cases are studied visit the class as guest lecturers.
Each unit contains material to supplement the case study, exposing the student to related topics such as the roles of professional organizations, standard AIA contract forms, government regulation and design review, the economics of practice, architectural competitions, etc. Many units also contain companion exercises that present ethical dilemmas for class discussion, centering on an architect’s conflicting duties to clients, the art and craft of architecture, colleagues, and the public.
Course requirements include participation in class discussions, a research paper, and a final exam. All course material is available without charge on the GSD website and in the library.