The Design of Real Estate

This lecture course highlights the intersection between design and real estate through the focus on building typologies that are fundamental instruments for constructing urban patterns and spatial forms. In the discourse of modern architecture and urbanism, the study of building typologies often functions as a useful methodology to interpret the condensed interrelationship between the physical attributes of building forms and spatial representation of social and cultural forces of a society. The purpose of this course is, once again, taking this methodology to offer a necessary perspective on the linkage between the physicality of design practice and the operational perspective of the market economy, specifically, the capital markets (Wall Street). It aims to enable students to understand how building typologies can serve as intersections of design prototypes, real estate products, and commodities of capital investment in the context of physical planning and the design of architectural form.

Through lectures, slide presentations, readings, and case studies, this course will survey four prototypes of real estate development/investment: residential (single- and multi-family housing), retail, office and mixed use. Students will learn the critical principles of different building typologies\’ design trajectories, programmatic patterns, compositional innovations, and ordering considerations, as well as the practicality of these physical attributes in the eyes of other active participants of the building environment, particularly developers and capital investors. The focus also will be on the physical patterns that the building types embody at the level of the urban context: the neighborhood, the street, and the site.

The course is intended for both designers and non-designers, to acquaint them with a perspective that incorporates and goes beyond the formality of design associated with each of the product types. The relationship between design aesthetics and the economic viability of buildings will be central to the course – how design creates value for investors, owners, and tenants of real estate, as well as society at large, and how the architectural/urban morphological power contributes to the success of economic performance and operations as units of the market economy. This course is a 2-unit module (but was previously offered as a 4-unit course.).