Graduate Design Studio III

Emphasis on architectural programming and the design of buildings incorporating technologies of materials and various architectural systems.

Designing (and eventually building) is a physical task. Involving both intellect and the manual operation of making thought manifest, the process of design invokes the full body. To that end, the beginning of a design education can quickly become overwhelming given the range of necessary skills and their careful and controlled orchestration. This studio, Haptic Space (the material world of design) will be spent developing spaces via material, structural, and site concerns. In order for architecture to materialize, materials, structure, and a site, must exist.

This semester you begin to focus your education as an architect, “one whose profession it is to design buildings and superintend their construction.” In order to be successful in this venture, you must gain control of the physical tools of your trade. You must learn how they can be strong and supportive (structure), protective, iconographic, and environmental (skin), sensory, atmospheric, emotional, expressive, programmatic, and connotative (intent). In conjunction with initiating the development of your material skills, you also must continue to develop your skills for analyzing site and function (program) and develop their relationships/integration to the assembly of building. This semester the objective is to begin this acquisition of material knowledge; to build an alphabet and start to use it to design and to create space, to investigate how material languages give meaning to space (haptic) and to investigate material means of assembly. The more diligently you pursue material knowledge, the more versatile and fluent with the tools of your trade you become (yes, practice makes perfect), the more skilled you will be as a “maker of space.” The architects we remember, the buildings that last, were made well by those who mastered the language of materials.


Advanced Architectural Technology

The Advanced Architectural Technology seminar seeks to develop a critical understanding and application of material attributes, qualities, and properties in constructing architecture. Structure, components, finish, and performance are investigated in terms of construction methodology and in relation to environmental conditions. The course is divided into sequential topics and exercises that explore the relationship between building components, architectural space, and inhabitation. Questions related to environment, context/identity, and historical precedent are introduced to initiate an exploration of spatial, social, political, and cultural forces. Exercises engage a tectonic language and seek to establish a vocabulary capable of communicating complex issues of fabrication, technique, and construction sequence. Research into organizational elements/systems is reinforced through drawing studies that are developed into proposals for building enclosure systems. The course emphasizes the process of assembly and seeks to address the dynamic set of relations inherent in the practice of making architecture.

ARCH 4155 Recording Historic Structures

Recording Historic Structures is a hands-on field and laboratory experience in current methods of documenting historic buildings, including hand methods, photography, and photogrammetry. The course provides demonstrations and exercises using technical drawing skills and issues related to building diagnostics. Coursework includes guidelines research, precedent studies of previous Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record award winners, and production of drawings conforming to HABS standards in relation to Fort Pike, located on the Rigolets in Orleans Parish, Louisiana. Students learn the importance of graphically presenting accurate, detailed illustrations when documenting historic structures. The spring 2014 student team placed second for the Peterson Prize for their work in this course.

Black-and-white photographs by Jim Osborne IV (MFA 2013).

ARCH 7001 Graduate Design Studio I

Graduate Design Studio I introduces students to the process of design through a series of exercises that asks them to engage the questions of the profession, first in isolation, then in combination, with each assignment adding new parameters or tasks to their current body of work. The language in this studio is limited to the most basic words in the design catalog, dealing in space, volume, assembly, line, rhythm, measure, depth, structure, solid, and void. The intent of this course is to assemble a functional base built from the fundamental and indispensable language of design, leaving the student to expand and further tailor this diction in future studios and courses.

ARCH 7002 Graduate Design Studio II

Graduate Design Studio II emphasizes the design of buildings in a variety of physical settings. In Professor Crow’s studio, students drew inspiration from the myth surrounding the remains of a building known as The Temple of the Water Thief, which reportedly housed the hives of a monster’s bee colonies and gave the swamp its name, Honey Island.

ARCH 7003 Graduate Design Studio III

Graduate Design Studio III places emphasis on architectural programming and the design of buildings incorporating technologies of materials and various architectural systems. In the course taught by Professors Erdman and Tsolakis, students designed a community library based on a site located on the corner of Perkins Road and Acadian Thruway in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

ARCH 7004 Losing Ground: Methods for Leeville, LA

Graduate Design Studio IV emphasizes the design of buildings incorporating technologies of environmental systems.

In Professor Doyle’s studio, “Losing Ground: Methods for Leeville, LA,” students examined the small coastal town of Leeville, Louisiana, as a surrogate for towns throughout the Gulf South. The town is not protected by the levee system and is exposed to the impacts of a changing climate, coastal land loss, and increasingly violent storm action. Rather than advocating for a traditional notion of “saving,” the studio explored the concept of absence and questioned the profession’s methods for simultaneously preserving, un-building, and designing possible futures for Leeville. Students visited and documented the site in Leeville and produced their positions on “saving” using drawings, photographs, videos, writings, and models. The process culminated in an architecture that reconsiders the tectonic occupation of the delta.

The LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio provided financial, planning, and institutional support for this course. Visit the course blog,, for more information.

ARCH 7005 Graduate Design Studio V

Graduate Design Studio V introduces students to contextual building design in an urban setting with emphasis on site and context analysis and community planning in a collaborative working environment. Professor Zwirn’s studio focused on the issues of urban housing and repurposing older structures. The site was the World Trade Tower designed by Edward Durrell Stone in the 1970s, located at the foot of Canal Street in New Orleans. Students were asked to redesign the building without significantly changing the historically designated building envelope. The students were responsible for designing a mixed-use complex incorporating small parcels of adjacent vacant land. The final result was a hotel with luxury condominiums/rental units at the upper levels, an extension for retail development on the adjacent parcels of land, and parking for the hotel and apartment residents. Students also discussed public policies and the financial implications of such an undertaking.

ARCH 7006 Graduate Design Studio VI

Graduate Design Studio VI focuses on the comprehensive design development of a building program into a terminal project emphasizing the tectonics, mechanics, and presentation critical to the profession. Projects represent the culmination of the architecture design process, the synthesis of conceptual ideology with the very tangible mechanics and tectonics architecture. An architect’s ability to integrate and coordinate these components in the development of a project is fundamental. The semester is arranged as an escalation, an expansion step by step, where each phase informs the next, and each phase must be completed in order to continue to the next. These phases draw on the skills the students have accumulated in the past years and combined, result in architecture.