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 Core I studio (317) serves as an introduction to the design process through a series of abstracted exercises. The first problem works from an initial premise of material and tectonic abstraction. In the second problem, this abstraction is deployed as a horizontal datum that creates an abstract play structure for an urban park. The final project of the semester looks at the city as theater, developing fully volumetric propositions for an abstracted urban theater on a corner site. Architectural Representation I and Digital Visualization Workshop I develop the students' twodimensional graphic skills, while Concepts and Principles supports critical thinking in the studio exercises.
The Core II studio (318) increases the level of complexity for the students and places great attention on landscape, climate, and sustainability. Projects are set in three different landscapes: the hot and arid Arizona desert, the hot and humid Mississippi marsh, and the temperate St. Louis meadow and forest. Students analyze natural structures to understand their relationship to each landscape and their response to that climate. Environmental Systems I provides a technical framework that supports the studio by addressing topography and grading of the site as well as the passive strategies of sun and wind orientation for the building. Simultaneously, Architectural Representation II and Digital Visualization II give the students support for the threedimensional computer skills that are integrated into this design studio.
The Core III studio (419) works with a medium-scaled housing project to synthesize more complex and diverse criteria. Students who have completed the first-year core studios are joined by students admitted to our five-semester MArch 2+ program. The students investigate the spatial opportunities, social aspects, and technical requirements that are necessary for working in a challenging urban context. Building Systems I supports the studio work by providing an understanding of the wall section in relation to the vertical urban street wall as well as the complex systems of accessibility, vertical transportation, and fire egress required for larger projects. Digital Visualization Workshop III focuses on the rendering of interior and exterior space to aid the students in developing the presentation skills that will be necessary throughout the rest of their education and career.