4.104 | Spring 2004 | Undergraduate

Architectural Design: Intentions


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 3 sessions / week, 3 hours / session

Course Description

This is the second undergraduate design studio. It introduces a full range of architectural ideas and issues through drawing exercises, analyses of precedents, and explored design methods. Students will develop design skills by conceptualizing and representing architectural ideas and making aesthetic judgments about building design. Discussions regarding architecture’s role in mediating culture, nature and technology will help develop the students’ architectural vocabulary.


There are two major projects for the semester, which will be broken up by two drawing exercises, the first a freehand sketch of the body, and the second a set of constructed perspectives.

Exercise 1: Drawing the Body

Draw a body at full scale. You may draw your own, a friends or a body of your choice. The aim of this exercise is both to create a beautiful and dynamic drawing, as well as use the drawing as an opportunity to analyze and document information (seen and unseen) about the body.

Project 1: Public Toilets in the Boston Common: “Private Acts in Public Spaces”

Public toilets are difficult if not impossible to find in America’s urban centers for a variety of reasons. Stated and un-stated concerns about hygiene, maintenance public safety, illicit activities, and lack of public funding have all contributed to limited access to public toilets. Yet there is a real need for such facilities by all members of society, from the homeless to Boston’s business elite. Instead, public buildings such as the public library are over-burdened by the needs of the homeless and our pubic parks and leftover public spaces (such as highway overpasses) become de-facto public restrooms.

Boston’s Mayor has taken an initiative to address this problem by soliciting design proposals for new public toilets from the City’s pool of emerging design talent. The first facility is to be built close to the Park Street subway entrance in the Boston Common. The mayor is assuming that the project will be managed by the City’s Parks and Recreation Department, and that City employees will clean and service the facilities daily. Nevertheless the Mayor must be conscious of economic and budgeting issues, and asks all designers to consider the use of durable materials and easy maintenance.

Exercise 2: Sketch Drawings and Constructed Perspectives

We will spend an intense week doing perspectives and sketches of buildings around campus.

Project 2: Quantanomo Bay: Intervention and Detention

For the next project, we will be investigating design issues associated with Quantanomo Bay in general and more specifically with Camp X-Ray, the detention center. The Quantanomo Bay Naval Base is located on the south eastern section of the Cuba, and covers 71 square miles of a strategically located harbor and surrounding land. There are more then 7,000 people stationed on the base, 3,000 of which are military staff.

The detention center currently houses in excess of 600 prisoners from over 40 countries. They are identified as “unlawful combatants” and therefore do not share the legal status and privileges of prisoners of war. Their future status and rights are not clearly defined, raising important issues associated with international law and the precedent this may establish for future conflicts.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2004
Learning Resource Types
Projects with Examples
Written Assignments
Design Assignments