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This is an overview of what is covered in the course each week.  Please go to Lectures for links to each week's lecture.

Week Agenda Readings
1 Tu Lecture Presentation: "Introduction: Building a Second World Within the World of Nature" Nature and the Idea of a Man-made World, p. xiii-xviii, and 4-27: "Preface" and "The Idea of a Man-made World"

Seminar Discussion:

  1. How does one’s concept of human nature effect one’s thinking about what is natural and what isn’t?
  2. What for you would constitute “the ideal domicile” in which to live?

2 Tu Lecture Presentation: "The Quest for Order in the Man-made" Nature and the Idea..., p. 29 to 46

Seminar Discussion:

  1. Why is it important that we not lose sight of the relationship between even relatively minor artifacts that comprise our environment and nature, for instance, between your car and the environment?  Cite an example of your own.
  2. Discuss some examples of the evolution of domestic architecture in later more complex building types.

3 Tu Lecture Presentation: "Bases for the Geometry of Building" Nature and the Idea..., p. 46-69

Seminar Discussion:

    1. If indeed, “new construction that does not respect deeply imbedded traditions may yield unpredictable results in terms of interactions with normative social patterns,” do you know of some examples of this from your own experience
    2. Assuming the foregoing quotation to be true, how may innovation in architecture and urbanism take place without risking unpredictable results that negate the advantages gained from innovation?
  1. Ordering Principles:  How may ordering principles help to put us in touch with environmental priorities today?

4 Tu Lecture Presentation: "The Universal Quest for Harmony and Unity" (Part I) Nature and the Idea..., p. 93-121

Seminar Discussion:

  1. Compare the views of Rome and Osaka and discuss the environmental and humanistic impact of each.  Is the evaluation of one distinctly positive and the other negative, or do you consider them mixed in certain areas of evaluation?
  2. Describe a mind-set, or ethos, or myth-as-paradigm that may give focus and direction as we address problems caused by industrialization and the spread of urbanism (i.e., “sprawl”).  Either select one that is currently applied, or suggest one that you believe is emerging and that you believe will be effective.

5 Tu Lecture Presentation: "The Universal Quest for Harmony and Unity" (Part II) The Old Way of Seeing, p.45-66

Seminar Discussion:

  1. Draw or reproduce in a series of photocopies, the facade and floor plan of a building, and overlay in ink lines, proportional relationships.  (For examples of this type of drawing see Architecture and Geometry in the Age of the Baroque by George Hersey, and Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism by Rudolf Wittkower.

6 Tu Lecture Presentation: "The Evolution of Design" Nature and the Idea..., p. 123-152

Seminar Discussion:

  1. What are the basic characteristics that traditional settlements have in common —i.e., in their pattern, form, and structure.?  Why is this so?
  2. How is what we see from within a traditional settlement different than typical suburban communities served by freeways, with regional shopping centers, industrial "parks" or "campuses", and the distribution of kinds of housing in discrete groups based on income and status?
  3. How might it be possible to apply the practice of selecting out what are essential qualities of traditional urbanism from the past to be preserved?  Based on what sort of criteria would such a selection be made?

7 Tu Lecture Presentation: "Basic Principles and Approach to Design" A Green Vitruvius: p. 1-5, "Introduction" [The Imperative to Green Design; Architectural Quality; Quality of Service; Passive Solar Design (heating, lighting, cooling); Green Design (waste, materials, systems); Natural Resources; Urban Planning].

Seminar Discussion:

Discuss how and when each specific issue involved in green design may be logically introduced into the design process—including waste management (both post-construction and during construction), day-lighting, selection of materials, landscape design, and of course passive energy techniques.

You may base your discussion on your own design process as well as the more elaborately staged professional sequence involving a client.

— or —

– Consider the differences between traditional design and modernist inspired design.  How would you explain to a client/owner (or your employer, for instance) why passive energy techniques may be just as effective in traditional design as in modernist design, where "invention" is considered as a fresh start from the onset, thereby "avoiding the encumbrance of preconceived forms and ideas."

8 Tu Lecture Presentation: "The Building Envelope - Checklist for Ongoing Projects" A Green Vitruvius: "Envelope," p. 63 – 75, and "Life Cycle Cost, p. 140 – 141.
Th Seminar Discussion:
  1. Consider your current studio design project.  In terms of "green building design", what are its strengths and its weaknesses?  How may those "strengths" be amplified, and how may the "weaknesses" be mitigated?
  2. Be prepared to discuss the problem of "compromises" with respect to conflicting building requirements.  Examples may be:
    1. if important views from the interior are in a direction that that receives the warmest sun late in the day (direct west-facing, for instance) in the summer;
    2. if the ideal fenistration pattern for a street-facing facade would not meet optimum shading requirements for high summer sun angles;
    3. if the optimum placement of important spaces/rooms does not permit gravity ventilation to take place "naturally";
    4. if the building footprint very deep, yet it is too narrow, (as may occur if it is located between party-walls), to permit the inclusion of an atrium-type space that admits natural light at the center of the building and encourages gravity ventilation.
  3. Be prepared to discuss one or two of the above "compromises", plus one or two such situations you have encountered in your own designs.

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