Nikos A. Salingaros:
Online Architecture Courses

Each course is designed for one academic semester, and together they form part of an innovative theory and studio curriculum.

 

FIRST YEAR, FIRST SEMESTER

It is essential to abandon all the usual courses derived from the BAUHAUS, e.g. "composition" and "design" based on abstract drawings and miniature models, since those are meant to rewire the student's mind to prefer minimalist forms. It is impossible to learn spatial perception after that experience. Several new courses are meant to run in parallel. It's up to the instructor to structure these courses either for one semester, or as a two-semester sequence.

1. Introduction to Architecture
A lecture and studio course based on three articles by myself and Kenneth Masden.
(1a) The Science of Intelligent Architecture, to appear in ENGLISH/POLISH.
(1b) Teaching Design at the Limits of Architecture, IJAR -- International Journal of Architectural Research, Volume 4, Issue 2&3 (2010) pages 19-31.
(1c) Architecture in the making: intelligence-based design, Chapter 2 of In Pursuit of a Living Architecture: Continuing Christopher Alexander's Quest for a Humane and Sustainable Building Culture, edited by Kyriakos Pontikis & Yodan Rofè, Common Ground Publishing, Champaign, Illinois, pages 30-49.

2. Architecture's New Scientific Foundations
Scales, interactions, systems, patterns, complexity, and biophilia are key factors that determine how buildings influence their users. Uses key concepts by Christopher Alexander.

FIRST YEAR, SECOND SEMESTER

1. Biophilia
Course based on my booklet, plus the chapter with Kenneth Masden in the book "Biophilic Design".
(1a) Biophilia and Healing Environments, 44-page booklet, OfftheCommonBooks, also published free online by Terrapin Bright Green LLC, New York, 2015.
(1b) Neuroscience, the Natural Environment, and Building Design (co-authored with Kenneth G. Masden), Chapter 5 of Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life, edited by Stephen R. Kellert, Judith Heerwagen, and Martin Mador (John Wiley, New York, 2008), pages 59-83. An early draft of this chapter is available HERE.

2. Pattern Language and Form Language
Includes 30 min video. A course I have taught to students in Mexico using Christopher Alexander's A Pattern Language, two chapters from my book Principles of Urban Structure -- Chapter 8: "The Structure of Pattern Languages" and Chapter 9: "Pattern Language and Interactive Design", and Chapter 13 from Alexander's The Nature of Order, Book 2, The Process of Creating Life -- "Patterns: Generic Rules for Making Centers", pages 341-368. Some of Alexander's Patterns are online HERE.

SECOND YEAR, FIRST SEMESTER

Algorithmic Sustainable Design.
A complete set of 12 one-hour video lectures free online. Taught at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Spring 2008. Covers design on all scales, from ornament, to architecture, to urban design, to city planning. Students can follow the videotaped lectures with help from the accompanying TEXTBOOK containing all of my revised lecture notes.

SECOND YEAR, SECOND SEMESTER

Biology and Design
A course taught by the International Society of Biourbanism in Italy, based upon Chapter 5 of Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life, edited by Stephen R. Kellert, Judith Heerwagen, and Martin Mador (John Wiley, New York, 2008), pages 59-83 (included in part as Chapter 18 of my book Unified Architectural Theory). Draws upon material from three one-hour lectures available online: "Biourbanism: Theory and Practice", "Urbanism as Computation", "Transformations: Architecture from Biology". It also uses the Metropolis Essays written with Michael Mehaffy, which were published as the book Design for a Living Planet.

THIRD YEAR, FIRST SEMESTER

Architectural Theory.
Taught at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Fall 2012. A theory explaining adaptive design complexity and the evolution of different architectural languages, using my book A Theory of Architecture and the first volume of Christopher Alexander's The Nature of Order. All the extra reading material and my weekly lecture notes are published together as the book Unified Architectural Theory -- chapters are published free online in English, Portuguese, Spanish, and Urdu HERE.

THIRD YEAR, SECOND SEMESTER

Design Complexity.
Taught at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Spring 2013. A research seminar that covered Christopher Alexander's The Nature of Order, Book 2, The Process of Creating Life, focusing especially on Chapter 16, "Form Language and Style", pages 431-460, and supplemented with readings from my book Algorithmic Sustainable Design. Some of this material was written up as an article in "Complexity", Oz Journal, volume 36, 2014, pages 18-25.

FOURTH YEAR, FIRST SEMESTER

Senior Architecture Design Studio.
A studio course co-taught with Kenneth G. Masden at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Fall 2008. Uses ideas from our paper "Restructuring 21st Century Architecture Through Human Intelligence". Students were taught from material that eventually became my book Algorithmic Sustainable Design. Our method, experiences, and conclusions are summarized in a paper entitled "Teaching Design at the Limits of Architecture".

FOURTH YEAR, SECOND SEMESTER

Architectural ideologies and polemics.
A reading and discussion course investigating the contradictions between adaptive architecture and the non-adaptive architecture being taught at most architecture schools. Uses Chapters 8-10 & 12 of A Theory of Architecture, my book Anti-Architecture and Deconstruction, the essay "Cognitive Dissonance and Non-adaptive Architecture", and Jan Michl's essay "A Case Against the Modernist Regime in Design Education". Prepares students to face the prejudices of the current architectural establishment.

ADVANCED AND GRADUATE LEVEL COURSES

Urban Design.
A two-semester course based on my book Principles of Urban Structure, supplemented by books and articles by Christopher Alexander and Léon Krier. Studies the city both as a network and as a fractal system, showing how these frameworks help to sustain human life. In the second semester, students will read "Urbanism as Computation" and "Geospatial Analysis and Living Urban Geometry".

Design for a Living Planet.
A one-semester course based on my book with Michael W. Mehaffy, which contains our twenty Metropolis Essays (available free online). Designing a sustainable and resilient living environment with today's technology.

Peer-to-peer Urbanism.
A one-semester course using my online book. Lessons learned from owner-built housing empower citizers to shape their own habitat. These techniques are applied to upgrade -- instead of replacing -- the developing world's slums.

Complexity in Architecture and Design.
Based on my paper with Roger Sessions: "Urban and Enterprise Architectures: A Cross-Disciplinary Look at Complexity" and other articles. Covers how computer software and hardware complexity, Universal Turing Machines, and W. Ross Ashby's "Law of Requisite Variety" apply to design.

 

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