Core Semesters

  • Work for Core I studio taught by Christine Yogiaman, Fall 2011.
    Work for Core I studio taught by Christine Yogiaman, Fall 2011.
  • Work for Core I studio taught by Andrew Colopy, Fall 2011.
    Work for Core I studio taught by Andrew Colopy, Fall 2011.
  • Work by Megan Berry for Core II studio taught by Catalina Freixas, Spring 2012.
    Work by Megan Berry for Core II studio taught by Catalina Freixas, Spring 2012.
  • Work by Kirsten Goedeker for Core II studio taught by Stephen Mueller, Spring 2012.
    Work by Kirsten Goedeker for Core II studio taught by Stephen Mueller, Spring 2012.
  • Work by Laura Wang for Core III studio taught by Stephen Mueller, Fall 2011.
    Work by Laura Wang for Core III studio taught by Stephen Mueller, Fall 2011.
  • Work by Raymond Chau for Core III studio taught by Pablo Moyano, Fall 2011.
    Work by Raymond Chau for Core III studio taught by Pablo Moyano, Fall 2011.

The graduate core sequence focuses on building a foundation for the practice of architecture. Its primary role is to prepare students for the complexities of the advanced semesters. Students are exposed to a broad view of all the issues relevant to architecture and contemporary practice.

Core studios introduce students to numerous forms of experimentation and expression through a three-semester sequence, which provides a foundation in design research. Students are exposed to a broad range of issues and methods relevant to contemporary architectural practice in preparation for the advanced studios.

The first semester of the core program (317 studio) explores spatial thinking and critical processes of making through iterations of design. Students are asked to make translations between different modes of representation and observations about the world around us. Each student is expected to learn skill sets necessary for designers—thinking, drawing, modeling, and seeing—in order to heighten their understanding of space and environments. One objective of the semester is to attain a love for the craft of design. Production is inherent to the development of ideas. Design evolves through a process of making, testing, adjusting, and remaking. The innovation of spaces in architecture and the landscape evolves from a variety of tactile explorations rather than a single idea. This semester is about engaging the process of design and establishing essential skills and critical thinking necessary for advanced work in subsequent semesters.

The second semester of the core program (318) builds upon the 317 studio's focus on complexity in geometry and conceptual development, with the aim of transforming students' capacities for investigative thinking and formulating problems rather than solving problems. The studio's first project is an investigation into issues of domesticity from conceptual, typological, practical, and cultural viewpoints, with spatial occupation by two individuals. Special emphasis is placed on ingenuity and manipulation of programming and conceptual spatial experiments within the notion of "urban dwelling." The second project is an investigation into complexities of urban and social fabric in the typology of a bibliotheca. The program of the bibliotheca—often viewed as an isolated repository of knowledge in our contemporary world—is interrogates as a viable public institution. The program blurs the boundaries between public and private, individual and social, spaces that challenge the architectural paradigm interfacing urban spaces.

The final semester of the core program (419) faces the challenge of future generations: Can we conceive of a wiser form of inhabitation for the decades to come? Can we mitigate and restore the damaged ecosystems from a design perspective? Can we exploit local specificity? Students are asked to develop projects that offer an explicit response to the local environment while maintaining focus on current and future problems of human habitation. Dwellings that respond to social, cultural, political, geographical, technological, economical, and environmental contexts—and, therefore, buildings that generate the energy they consume; collect and treat the water they need; reduce, reuse, and recycle the waste they produce; and lower carbon emissions. The utmost goal is to contribute to the restoration of the urban ecosystem by harnessing the resources of land and buildings. This ecological framework envisions progressive and speculative thinking that directly confronts present challenges.