Description of the Process

The series of discrete assignments is outlined in the calendar section. This section goes into more detail regarding the architectural process that will be followed during the semester.


Despite doing different projects, each student is part of the culture of the studio, learning architecture by learning the inner workings of its many different aspects. The objective of this studio is to make a project based on the consideration of forces and their vectors: gravity, material, nature, and tectonics. Performance possibilities, qualities of architectural elements, the site and the contextual environment, social and cultural issues: all serve as determinants of the project.

Dynamic Cycles

The making of architecture is a cyclical and dynamic process always growing and building on itself. It comes from within. Emotion is the connector of the mind with the senses, and it is remembered through experiences that must be drawn upon in design. Past experiences, losses and discoveries: all are necessary parts of the design process to ground it in a condition of reality. Without them there is only the imagined.  The modesty and directness of experienced emotions temper natural excesses. Intuition inspires creativity and clarifies the objective. Perfection is never achieved, but the attempt for it, the process, is the critical part. The process never ends; it constantly moves back upon itself to go forward.

The design process is not about making for its own sake, but about discovery through making. By making and remaking, the designer discovers the hidden qualities that are important, that resonate with both the conscious and unconscious mind.  It is this sense of astonishment, of discovery, that signals true quality in design. There is no place for metaphor or analogy in this process, other than verbal reference overlapping the actual fact of the building and its performance, where the mind meets the real.  The actuality of the experience, what it is to inhabit and be in a space, is of the utmost importance. The actual quality of the space matters: a specific inhabitation by the occupant through the material properties of the structure and the material qualities of the space.  It is inhabited by the “performance of being,” of living in the space, in time and in the presence of nature.  This inhabitation creates a conscious experience of our existence through architecture.

Two parts: The Conscious and Unconscious

There are two parts to this process:  the conscious and the unconscious, the physical and the mental.  Both are necessary underpinnings of architecture, and together they create a feedback loop in which each constantly informs the other.  By trying to rectify these two conditions, the architect is always trying to discover that unachievable state of perfection.  Architecture becomes then a process not of doing or making, but of finding and discovering.  In this way, the final product has some measure of depth.  Both the subjective and the objective are taken into account. The architect is transcending beyond the limits of the physical to the metaphysical.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2004
Learning Resource Types
Image Gallery
Projects with Examples
Design Assignments