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Spring 2024 Courses

Each quarter, UCLA Architecture and Urban Design offers a range of courses and studios that situate, solidify, enrich, and inspire students' design skills and perspectives. Below, please browse AUD's offering of Spring 2024 courses and studios, with full descriptions and syllabi available for AUD students and faculty via BruinLearn.

Please note: This page is actively being updated and subject to change; please revisit for updates and additions. Last updated April 2, 2024.

Spring 2024 Courses and Studios, in brief

AUD Students and Faculty: Please visit BruinLearn for full syllabi and descriptions

Lecture, three hours; discussion, one hour. Survey of architectural and urban history from 1500 to present in global context. Exploration of buildings, cities, spaces, artifacts, landscapes, and ideas through their relation to geopolitical conditions and through their relation to theories of design.

The built environment provides a lens through which we can interpret world history. From the European colonization of the Americas to UNESCO’s designation of World Heritage Sites, architectural objects and urban spaces have reflected and reproduced societal transformations. This course introduces students to some of these transformations and a range of methods for their study. It proceeds thematically and semi-chronologically, with each week centering on a particular set of actors who have mobilized the built environment to advance a particular set of cultural, political, and economic agendas. Lectures, required texts, and discussion sections juxtapose individuals and networks, hegemony and resistance, the past and the present, to encourage diverse ways of seeing, thinking, and writing.

● To acquire historical knowledge of key ideas in architecture and urbanism
● To learn a set of tools—vocabulary, concepts, and methods—for describing and analyzing the built environment
● To develop skills in reading, synthesis, and written expression
● To practice and improve discussion skills as a form of thinking and problem-solving in collaboration with others

Examination of the culture produced by the political economy of the Mexico-U.S. border through the prism of urban ecologies. Consideration of how the discursive space of media, art, and architecture define and challenge the unequal power relationship between Mexico and the U.S.

This course takes advantage of our proximity to the U.S.-Mexico Border in California, and considers its principal point of entry, Tijuana, as an object of study and source of inspiration. We will learn to analyze and interpret works of art, architecture and other cultural productions related to the border and form critical perspectives on their meaning. By the end of the semester, we will have formulated a working definition of the fronteriza/o. Further, we will investigate how “space” shapes identity. The term “space” encompasses not only territory, but also material artifacts (art, architecture, film, media), social constructs (language, politics) and discourse (knowledge creation).

Course Methodology:
This course will be structured by the seven “ecologies,” or urban frameworks, as defined by scholar Lawrence Herzog in his essay Transfrontier Metropolis. Each framework will be paired with course materials to investigate the history of the border and its contemporary representation in art, politics and society. Tijuana’s relationship to Los Angeles will provide the primary point of comparison toward the elaboration of the border ecologies. Herzog defined borderland urbanism as social, economic, and spatial processes that define urban boundaries outside of, or despite, the politically drawn lines of the nation-state. He wrote:

Perhaps the most vivid example of transfrontier urban space is found along the border between Mexico and the United States. More than ten million people live in the transfrontier metropolitan regions that at intervals straddle the two-thousand-mile border between Matamoros-Brownsville and Tijuana-San Diego. Citizens on both sides of the boundary are increasingly drawn together into a web of north-south relations, in which the dichotomies of “Third World/First World” and “developing/developed” are cast aside as urban neighbors share common transnational living and working spaces.

In other words, abstract global processes are thus transformed into real geographic space. Herzog labeled this new spatial prototype the “transfrontier metropolis” and it consisted of seven ecologies:

Global Factory Zones/
Transnational Consumer Spaces/
Global Tourism Districts/
Post-NAFTA Neighborhoods/
Transnational community places/
Spaces of Conflict/
Invented Connections/

This studio is focused on the adaptive re-use of commercial buildings for newly designed co-living arrangements. It is organized around a problem: how to fit new arrangements of people into old buildings? Cohabitation is defined simply as: The state or fact of living or existing at the same time or in the same place.

Our work will begin with precedent analysis, a common model underlying many architectural projects. We will carefully analyze existing, seminal cases, which can be hybridized or combined to achieve better co-living outcomes. These experiments – mostly in plan - will be fit to an existing commercial building, which for our purposes will be treated as a “blank,” stripped of the building envelope and all its significations, leaving only a highly ordered tectonic stack. Our site is a hypothetical urban infill lot consisting of an existing 6-story concrete building with two flanking neighbors of equal or higher size and a zero lot-setback to the front and rear. The intended program is a 60,000 square foot cooperative living dormitory and learning facility for an off-campus UCLA Art School expansion, with approximately 200 beds—roughly 30% is designated as communal space.

The fit of these plans into the blank will give dimensional and formal specificity to our more general problem of fitting new arrangements of people into old buildings. Simply put, the plans won’t fit. Spatial bays will be too big or too small. The structural assumptions of the precedents will collide with the realities of the existing steel frame. And the depth of the existing building’s floorplate will be far too deep to allow sufficient light and air into the interior. To solve this problem of fit, we’ll work on making relationships between the section and elevation. This allows for the possibility of rethinking the urban edge not as a barrier between conventional internal organizations and isolated interior voids, but rather opens the possibility of a specific reciprocal relationship to ground squeezing out at the level of entry and street and the possibility to imagine new ways of occupying the entire edge of buildings from the limits of elevation deep into the core of section.

We will follow a linear process grounded in techniques of representation. We will move between model, drawing, and back again to model to simultaneously produce the compositional framework of a drawing as well as the supporting graphic features necessary to represent and simultaneously interrogate architecture – i.e., this necessitates a non-hierarchical, reciprocal thinking around representation. The conventional orthographic drawing is both derivative of this process as well as playing a generative role in the final outcome of the project. We’re going to be using orthographics as a means to graft the precedent onto an existing, found problem, as a productive mash-up of sorts. The result may be strange, even appear misshapen; however, interrogated against the values and disciplinary conventions of architecture, it fits the bill: ambitious and blind to associations of style and classification among the previously existing.

The metropolitan world we inhabit reveals much about the culture, the historical moment, and the actions of architects and urbanists; it uplifts some of the lives in the city and represses others; it welcomes as well as excludes; for some it is joyous and for others, a struggle. Such conditions are evident across time, geography, landscapes, and schools of thought, as well as in popular media that swamps our grasp of the cities around us. Designers help shape the city, seeking to make changes that will enhance everyday life and work toward the common good. To do so implies an operative ethical principle of spatial justice, some idea of the urban public or publics, and an understanding of the way injustices are perpetuated. The varied histories, cultures, and geographies of cities serve as material demonstrations, which when made legible, open new perspectives on buildings, infrastructures, urban plans, and modern projects.

Whether we are looking at ancient city walls in Xian or contemporary freeways in Los Angeles, the urban artifact has a story to tell. But there are narratives that are less visible -- the legislated boundaries and property laws that underpin who owns the city and why that has such a powerful racial history in America. Claims on land through processes of colonization, settlement, resource extraction, and decolonization are violent, and leave violent scars behind. These are traces that provide evidence of structures of power, of a commons and to whom it belongs, or to borders that restrict or protect, to name but a few. As well, there are silent and buried archives in every city, where more rigorous and empathic engagement may reveal marginalized and fragile spaces. Seeing cities as spatial justice geographies offers designers not only a robust lens but a site for ethical action.

In this course, we will bring together two lines of critical thinking. First, we will make close readings of material conditions in global cities, with a special focus on Los Angeles and our experiences here. And second, we will consider the agency of designers within the urban condition by looking at past actions of architects and imagining our own potential actions in the future. This part of the course will center on my just-published book, Architectures of Spatial Justice. From these two threads, we will weave together new understandings of the history, contemporary circumstances, and possible futures of urban spatial justice.

Taking as precedent the formal/spatial model found in early twentieth century airship hangars and their relationship to the objects they housed, this project imagines nearly the same thing with just one difference: instead of the airship we consider the Airstream. From there, the design problem is that of a hangar for an Airstream trailer, one that would prioritize in both form and function the life of the object within. Mostly we design buildings for human life, so occasionally it makes sense to see them from a less personal perspective, one in which the occupant is an object (the Airstream). Along the way we will consider the terms we use to describe these buildings - hangar, shed, envelope, sarcophagus - and how these terms inflect, shade, and otherwise elevate the aspirations of our most basic building forms toward architecture.

This course is a technology seminar and as such involves tools and techniques associated with digital design, primarily those involving translation and parametrics. Each of these regimes of digital modeling will be considered in relation to the larger project and to design more generally.

223 is the Spring 2024 module in the two-part Architectural Mediation course


In the field of architectural visualization, realism has long been lauded for its ability to realize projects with clarity and perceived physical presence. Now it finds itself at a crossroads. The 'architectural render,' once a cornerstone of “realism”, has become ubiquitous to the point of saturation. Critically regarded within the architectural community, it faces scrutiny for its oversimplified, formulaic representations, echoing a broader sentiment of disenchantment with conventional modes of expression.

This course seeks not just to acknowledge this critique, but to actively respond to it. We recognize that the architectural render, in its current form, is still an effective tool, yet has reached a juncture where re-interpretation is not just desirable but necessary. It asks for a shift in context to a more relevant conveyance, one that resonates with the contemporary moment and its complex media landscape.

In this course, we reinterpret “realism” in architectural renderings, merging reality with fiction to evolve these visualizations into vehicles of narrative storytelling. By softening the distinctions between real and imagined, students will employ renders as tools to envision alternate futures and new cultural projections, moving past the conventional uses of architectural renders. These narratives, enriched by parafictional strategies and woven into modern communication mediums for greater authenticity, will engage with wider concepts and the relational networks of their locations, enabling architecture to extend beyond its physical site and connect with the broader cultural contexts surrounding it.

The assignment will center on partial frontal/elevational imaging of 2 different moments from your 412 studio projects in its context. Each image will be developed to represent a speculative yet plausible future of your proposal. As the time frame gets longer, images should consider material aging/weathering, surface deterioration, change of context, seasonal difference, abuse, maintenance, scene, demographics, change of program and many other potential circumstances. All exterior images must include a foreground in the form of road, sidewalk, alleyway, landscape in accordance with projects siting and development on the site. Depending on the proximity and point of view, adjacent context and/or background must be constructed as well. Each image could take on a different problem as outlined above or into other unmentioned directions. The fiction is up to you to construct.

This year we will be pushing the idea of fiction a bit further by slipping our constructed images into relevant parafictional modes of media where these images and stories would likely appear. The modes of media should be used to strengthen your narrative and develop a deeper realism to the images constructed by placing it into a broader cultural context. We will be pulling from ideas in parafiction to help us construct these “near realities” and use various AI tools to help us develop further imagery that fits the narratives that we’re constructing.

As with most “late periods” in historiography, late modernism has been explained above all as a transitional period—in architecture, as the transition between two salvage operations: on one hand, the European modernist project, with its attempt at rescuing architecture from capitalism by putting it at the forefront of the social and economic processes; on the other, the many variants of postmodernism where salvage appeared to take the form of a withdrawal from reality into the intestines of “pure architecture.” Caught between the epic built around these two moments—one heroic, one tragic—the years between the end of WWII and the surge of neoliberalism in the 1970s are usually regarded as decades of shock and revision, with the lates (modernism) and neos (brutalism, rationalism, avant-gardes), opening the way for the arrival of the posts (postmodernism, poststructuralism, and so on). Centered on disciplinary survival, however, this prefix excess has been premised on monolithic renditions of modernization and its architectural outputs, bypassing the plurality of contexts that came to articulate architectural production globally in these years. In this course we will trace architecture’s shifting role in the various “world orders” emerged since the end of WWII and the beginnings of decolonization. The course will address the debates, documents, and buildings of this period through three different yet overlapping rubrics—style, state, and trade. Where style will frame architecture’s internal struggle for disciplinary identity, state will deal with its many variants—national, welfare, colonial, postcolonial—as the backdrop against which architecture’s many social, technical, and aesthetic programs will be introduced in the twentieth century; a function increasingly disputed by trade through the advent of corporate culture, global finance, and the institutions devised for their support.

In conjunction with 133; see above

"When politics is considered a form of war, the question needs to be asked about the place that is given to life, death, and the human body (in particular when it is wounded or slain). How are these aspects inscribed in the order of power?" Achille Mbembe, "Necropolitics"

Technology, science, and state power all cross through the architectural history of modern warfare. This seminar follows an arc from the city-states of renaissance Europe to the increasingly global architectures of war to ask how the concept of enlightenment relied on environments designed for violence and contests of sovereignty.

To begin, two technologies set the groundwork for the seminar: military cartography and fortress design. Then, with an eye on the drawings of several formidable bastions, we will read historians who have traced the effects of gunpowder on European arsenals. The consequent “science” of siege warfare, formalized in the books of Sébastien Le Prestre Marquis de Vauban, will mark the midpoint of the seminar. The second half will be more wide-ranging, turning to the translation of European models of perpetual warfare into the US policy of the expropriation of land and an effort to define “the frontier.” In the 20th century, as war followed globalized interests, the seminar will turn to such concepts as “occupation,” the architecture and urbanism of “total war,” and the emergence of “security.” Is there a way to tie the ongoing havoc of global conflict to this architectural history?

This AUD technology seminar is charged with providing a deep dive into specific emerging technologies of relevance for architectural design and theory. Artificial intelligence (AI) must surely be seen to be one such technology, though most of its implications (for architecture and otherwise) remain unclear. Seen in this context this course is an experimental foray into image-making using AI tools and procedures. The subject of our work - the raw material used to generate new images as well as the images themselves - is landscape painting, an artistic genre as old as painting itself. While landscape painting owes its origins and traditions to fine art rather than architecture, its relevance to our discipline is longstanding, especially regarding the depiction of nature and landscape in architectural rendering.

Landscape, and by extension landscape painting, was once the purview of the natural outdoor environment, and for centuries the natural world has been depicted through this lens. In recent decades, however, the naturalness of landscape has been challenged by humankind’s rapidly increasing involvement with nature, leading to what has come to be known as the Anthropocene age, a geological period characterized by humanity’s intensive engagement in natural systems and concomitant blurring of distinction between natural versus synthetic (constructed) landscapes.

Nowhere is this more evident than in such places as Owens Lake, California, a large, mostly dry lakebed drained of its water in the 1920’s to slake the thirst of the Los Angeles metropolitan region. The lake’s desiccation led to the catastrophic collapse of Owens Lake into environmental catastrophe, a place of toxic airborne effluents lifted by high winds that only recently has been mitigated toward stability by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) Owens Lake Dust Mitigation Project. Under these auspices Owens Lake now stands as an example of large scale landscape engineering par excellence, the lakebed subdivided into hundreds of individual, polygonal areas, each defined by its own unique material and ecological solution to the problem of airborne pollution. As such, Owens Lake now resembles nothing like its original lacustrine image, replaced by a kaleidoscopic visage of synthetic landscapes arrayed prismatically across a barren, high desert basin, visible in its strange, otherworldly complexion only from above through satellite imaging, drones, and helicopters.

Our work begins with such imagery and involves heavy processing through AI engines toward novel variations on existing conditions. These novel variations are to be assembled into an album, a compilation of images within a comprehensive whole meant to explore connections between otherwise independent pictures. In music the album has long been a preferred format for the organized collection of songs into a single, coherent body of music. Our work uses this format to do something very similar with images, existing as an assemblage of sets of interrelated images meant for review and presentation. In this way, certain themes and techniques of AI-assisted image-making become clear in much the same way as songs on an album would seem to adhere to a larger artistic agenda.

As architects, we're masters of spatial puzzles. We use projective geometry to translate our ideas into drawings. This isn't just about drawings – we create digital models that we slice through to generate drawings and even build physical scale models by putting back together these slices of our digital models. This seminar dives deeper than just making drawings and models – it challenges our relationship with them. What if these models are more than just representations?

This seminar is on a quest to reveal the playful potential of architecture. We explore a cutting-edge approach: phygital puzzle games. Imagine crafting a game that seamlessly blends digital and physical models of architectural sections. By playing and designing, we develop a fresh perspective on architecture, one fueled by exploration and discovery.

Why Games? Games allow architects to experiment with software and tools in a playful way. This playful relationship unlocks creative problem-solving and lets us push boundaries in a dynamic environment.

This workshop is your chance to rediscover the joy of exploration in architecture. Let's transform models into interactive digital puzzles and redefine our relationship with design tools.

This seminar will focus on intentionally crafting partial and idiosyncratic depictions of urban conditions. These narratives will be mapped out by combining GIS data and unstructured social media data through a node-based software for interactive multimedia.

Social media data scraping is often used as a method to draw unconventional urban patterns: collecting geolocated posts and mapping their intensity and distribution with the ambition it will provide a more fluid understanding of the city. Ambition that unstructured data, not organized in a pre-defined manner, will provide alternative readings of urban space. These techniques, yet, mostly quantify the production of content, forsaking the qualitative aspect of their databases.

This seminar will construct databases where quality, as an ordering principle—i.e., data’s distinctive attributes—is valued above reducibility, i.e., data’s aggregation capacity. Databases whose representation we will then synthesize by composing an amalgamation of layers.

We will utilize traditional geographic information systems to map infrastructure and facilitate identification, leverage unstructured databases from platforms like Instagram and Yelp to identify divergent storylines, and use Touchdesigner to assemble them—constructing composite maps as drawings defined by interactions of images, texts, numbers, sounds, and the viewer.

The value of cinema lies not in the continuous stream of images that pass before our eyes, but in the feelings it evokes within our souls. Similarly, architecture has the ability to draw our attention beyond itself, allowing us to experience gravity, time, and ultimately ourselves in a more profound and meaningful way. There exists an inherent connection between architecture and cinema, as they both share a link to the visual and physical worlds. This is evident in how their psychic images amplify the physical environment, heightening the surface, frame, light, and depth of the physical cosmos.

Through its constant buzz of change, cinematic architecture confronts the stable with the temporal, seeking to either solve or expose the concept of a static material world.

Both architecture and film exhibit their constructive forces by delving into individual and collective memory, employing physical tools, interactions, and assemblage to express their mythopoetic inspiration.

Cinema serves as a quintessential example of how architecture physically constructs space. It is only when we delve into the depths of personal and collective memory that the constructive force of architecture and cinema is revealed, particularly in connection to mnemonic clues. The production of images by cinema represents the epitome of the physical construction of space by architecture.

A director who manifested this connection between architecture and cinema through meticulous exploitation was Kubrick. Kubrick can be regarded not merely as a director, but as a master technician whose obsessive nature established new precedents for cinema. His set designs required an immense amount of planning, research, and capital, often culminating in the creation of entirely new worlds in foreign locations. From the construction of Vietnamese battlefields in the English countryside for Full Metal Jacket to the recreation of the Overlook Hotel within a UK sound stage for The Shining, Kubrick’s hyper-obsession with detail transcended the boundaries of cinema as we know it and inspired generations of directors, photographers, and artists.

In this seminar, students will reconstruct digital versions of an iconic cinematic scene, tapping into the same level of obsessive detail Kubrick employed. Each student will be assigned a one-minute scene and tasked with creating a hyper-realistic duplicate, meticulously recreating every detail from the physical realm and faithfully mirroring its cinematic composition in the virtual world. The goal is to recreate the scene in its entirety.

In groups, students will be tasked with dissecting, discerning, and understanding their assigned scene, documenting its cinematic mood, props, compositional techniques, lighting devices, focal lengths, camera movements, and sequencing. Ultimately, the outcome will be a collection of hyper-realistic doubles.

The final output will be a 1-minute film animated in either Unreal Engine or Cinema 4D, using Redshift. The students’ animations will consist of a 3D designed film set, a series of highly detailed props, animated characters, and dynamic sets. Through this exercise, students will construct new understandings of how to create cinema within the digital sphere.

This level of process and articulation will ultimately translate to their own constructions at a later date. Each week, we will have a series of in-class intensive workshops focusing on Unreal Engine, Cinema 4D, Red Shift, Mocap, Adobe Premiere, DaVinci Resolve, and asset creation. Sessions will take place in person at Perloff Hall.

Additionally, students will hone their skills in producing and animating hyper-real visualizations while also developing and broadening their background and understanding of composition, lighting, and narrative development, applicable to practical uses in the field.

In this course titled Spring/Summer 2024 AUD Ready-to-Wear (named after how fashion labels collections) we will explore the implementation of machine vision and intelligence to examine, edit, overlay, and design fashion collections and their surrounding runways. As the designers of these fashion lines we will insert ourselves into each phase of the process from dataset creation to training to manipulating to editing and curating and stacking of machine learning models and workflows giving us a better understanding of the tools and processes while giving us more control over the final product.

Critical to Christopher Alexander’s research was an IBM 7090 computer, which was used to compute what Alexander would eventually refer to as “design patterns,” logical rules for designing spaces from the scale of the room to the city. Perhaps more interesting than the computer he used, was the computer that Alexander did not use, the Lincoln TX-2. In “Alexander’s Choice: How Architecture Avoided Computer-Aided Design c.1962,” Alise Upitis tells the story of how Alexander chose the IBM 7090 over the TX-2, which had a graphical display. While Ivan Sutherland famously used the TX-2 to develop the first drawing software Sketchpad, the ancestor of today’s 3D-modeling suites, Alexander focused his efforts on abstract design problems conceived as matrices. His method of reducing design to a set of programmable requirements instead of graphical relationships, Upitis argues, “was determined by the material realities of his chosen technology...the series of IBM mainframes,” not by any other preconceived notion. In other words, the computer dictated the method.”

Amidst the comfort of the post-digital epoch, the recognition of digital tool influences and discourse on software's enigmatic black-box status have received extensive documentation in the past decade. Nonetheless, while these facets have garnered considerable attention, the essential haptic input hardware components of computers namely, the screen, keyboard, and mouse—have been predominantlyembraced as the default means for designers to access design software. If we consider the computer dictating the method, echoing Galo Canizares’ take on Christopher Alexander’s Pattern Language, architects and designers possess the potential to amplify their agency by crafting bespoke input hardware peripherals. In doing so, designers not only probe how architectural production could be envisaged through alternative interface modalities but also redefine our physical interaction with digital space in its entirety.

To this end, the seminar will foster collaboration with the esteemed global design consultancy IDEO, renowned for its seminal industry expertise in industrial and product design. In 1980, IDEO was commissioned by Apple to devise a mouse for their groundbreaking computer, the Lisa. The design team engineered a commercially viable mechanism to operate the mouse, ingeniously encapsulated within a complex plastic rib cage. Methodically, the team tested and refined various key components of the mouse, from the tactile click of the button to the rubberized coating on the ball. The resulting mouse demonstrated mechanical and economic viability, with its fundamental mechanism design permeating virtually all mechanical mice produced thereafter. Since then, IDEO’s build to think ethos and penchant for making quick prototypes has led to breakthrough products with the world’s leading organizations.

Given the escalating phenomenon of Touch-screen psychosis, or the growing reliance of computing devices on touchscreens as the default interface, our focus will shift towards midi controllers and video game controllers as precedents for haptic input devices. Designers ought to perceive an immediate connection to every digital action, whether it involves pressing a button, turning a knob, or manipulating a crank. The objective is to achieve zero latency, ingrained muscle memory, fostering a sensation akin to orchestrating a musical instrument or navigating a gaming device. While a keyboard can simulate the haptic input representation of a drum kit, digital drummers have gravitated towards the four by four midi drum pad, enabling more nuanced expression through pressure sensitivity and a more intuitive note arrangement. This configuration has proven remarkably user-friendly, even extending its appeal to other musicians, including keyboardists. As bespoke software becomes increasingly prevalent, it stands to reason that software specificity should manifest in our physical interactions with design tools.

Put simply, shouldn't a slider in Grasshopper be mirrored by a physical slider or a digital rendering lens by a rotary?

For decades, the single-family home has been synonymous with the California dream: architectural innovation, cultural aspiration, and economic opportunity. However, soaring housing costs and limited supply exclude most Angelenos from this dream. This Los Angeles Paradox gave rise back in 1945 to the case study houses project where architects were tasked with designing single houses for mass production by rethinking architectural form, structure, and materials. This project failed and left Angelenos today, 80 years later, with a new focus: shifting from the dominance of single-family homes to a more diverse housing landscape that addresses affordability, density, and community needs. With this studio we explore the history of experiments in densification through thorough studies of housing typologies that are endemic to Los Angeles: bungalow courts, dingbats, Townhouses, Duplex/Fourplex, Tract Homes/Cottages, and courtyard apartments.

This studio dives deep into the challenges of Los Angeles housing. We move beyond traditional design, exploring how architecture can create new ways of living in the city. Examining social, cultural, and economic factors shaping housing, we'll study existing models and spatial arrangements to develop innovative designs that address affordability, community, and a sense of place. Inspired by Robin Evans' "Figures, Doors, and Passages," we'll delve into seemingly ordinary aspects of housing, exploring the balance between private and public space, individual versus collective living, and the transition between indoors and outdoors. Through this exploration, we'll analyze existing housing models and their spatial arrangements, learning from the past while pushing boundaries towards innovative and fresh solutions for social interaction, aesthetics, and economic feasibility within LA's living communities.

A revised history and projected future critical report on Los Angeles County for the year 2033, using photojournalism, documentary techniques, field research, archive searches, categorized image reference searches, data mining, and the tools of LLM Gen AI text and image generators.

Part 1/Fall and Winter Quarters:
The research, design, and content development of a STANDARD REFERENCE ENCYCLOPEDIA YEARBOOK: LOS ANGELES COUNTY 2033. This work will be carried out by teams of two students. You will work together to generate / brainstorm content ideas and scenarios and cooperatively produce all the work. You are both authors of the book.

The content for the 2033 Yearbook will cover in A-Z order all matters of concern for Los Angeles County that occurred in that year with an understanding that information (if not specific events) from the previous decade may be included or inform the work. This means that the book will include an analysis of 2023, an editorial / revisionist examination of the city before 2023, and the documentation of the specuative state of affairs in Los Angeles 10 years from now.

This project is not sci-fi, nor does it concern itself with conceptual issues around the real, the fictional, fakes, etc. It will use photorealism through Gen AI image making and your own photography not as deception, but as a means to convey ideas about possible near future outcomes. It will use deadpan techniques, but not as a game.

The pedagogical intent of this work is focused on the idea that the more you know about everything around you, the more A) informed you’ll be as a citizen and B) equipped you’ll be as a designer to invent new things that will be useful and provocative going forward in your career. Therefore, the A-Z understanding of life, landscapes, people, places, architecture, movements, etc, ALL organized and designed by you.

Part 2/Spring Quarter:
A design project to be derived from the research and design contained in the Report. This work will be carried out individually unless the team chooses to pursue the work together.

As you are working on your Encyclopedia, each week your knowledge of LA will increase, even if you don’t leave your living room. You’ll be tasked with trying to see, document, and redesign everything “out there.” Where facts and fiction meet are less important than scope, that you see as wide as possible, because the more you do, the more informed and equipped you’ll be to create a powerful project scenario.

Through the work, you will find deeper connections to certain things or concepts. Obviously, the entry in our book entitled ARCHITECTURE is an important one. It will, as I have in my book (at least begun to) parse building through material, language, location, program, user, landscape, economies, markets, and more. When looked at in relation to everything else within your scope, scenarios will emerge.

For the most part, your yearbooks will begin to express not only social, cultural, and political positions, but also a design position. What you design in terms of fashion and industrial design should impact your thinking as an architect, or the film stills you develop. While there can be a wide range of project types, e.g. a park, a roof over the LA Coliseum, a Kindergarten, a Tower, dormitories, hillside housing, water management infrastructure, etc., the studio is interested in a certain kind of tone: precise, technical, resolved, without irony, with seriousness, dashes of humor if necessary, joy, not cartoonish but possibly outlandish, frightening in its possibility. How formal or stylistic aspects of the work fit into this tonal world will obviously be discussed along the way.

As a mode of teaching and collaboration, my role is to set agendas as well as react to what you do. Part of this studio is unfettered freedom. Another part is constrained freedom. But those constraints are not defined solely by my personal ideology as much as it by making sure that the work is connected to a discourse and is not merely personal or privatized.

Year-long studio

As Bruno Latour writes in Down to Earth, “What is certain is that all find themselves facing a universal lack of shareable space and inhabitable land… Migrations, explosions of inequality, and New Climate Regime: these are one and the same threat.” In this recent book, Latour makes a compelling case for the relationship of our bleak climate future to globalism, wealth disparity, political polarization, and nationalism and identity politics. Latour argues that climate change has already shifted the political landscape across the globe leading to migration, civil war and unrest, migrant detention, and political shifts. Given this incredibly dynamic planetary and national backdrop, this studio questions the expectation of permanence that accompanies our housing production. Housing is encumbered financially and environmentally by the private land to which it is tied. We question our collective desire to be rooted to privately held property, in cities we call home, even when such land is in peril. In order to decouple home and land from its associated notions of permanence, this studio proposes prefabricated housing systems designed for future mobility and new organizations of community afforded by the aggregation of this housing. Each proposal is tested on Los Angeles test bed sites (R-1, two R-1, and 64-acre Burbank site), cultivating critical stances toward prefabricated housing. We consider how existing infrastructure and new housing systems might accommodate the inevitability of migration - our future climate caravan.

Year-long studio

A mission or vision statement is not a vague platitude. These are articulations of unique competence and measurable goals. For three years in the MSAUD program, Professor Greg Lynn taught a two-quarter seminar that used corporate brand defining tools as a critical instrument for historical and cultural research. Last year, Lynn's MArch Research Studio used those tools as design method. The experience with goal setting and defining personal criteria for success can assist in team building and studio culture alignment in future professional practice.

The Fall 2023 and Winter 2024 quarters of Professor Lynn's 2023-2024 year-long Research Studio will focus on the formation of critical architectural concepts with clear measurable consequences. The disciplined skills of problem formation, value decisions, radical editing, profundity, and extreme clarity of communication will be applied to the studio. During these two quarters there will be no modeling, drawing, model building, or creation of forms, shapes, patterns, or diagrams. You will define your own design brief during these two quarters. During the Spring 2024 quarter of the research studio, everyone will share a site where a building design will be executed with relevant comprehension guided by personal Mission and Vision statements.

During the Fall Quarter, each student will be responsible for writing four sentences,
selecting four images, and writing four captions in twenty weeks. If the last four years
are any indication, it will be the hardest conceptual work you have ever endured. The
process is collective, and all conversations are vetted and supported by the entire group. Each student will select an architect from a given list based on their interest in
their work. They will define the core competency in a one sentence mission statement; a
visual argument using two images; and a factual caption for each image. Based on
mission statement, each architect will be positioned on the wheel of Carl Jung’s twelve

During the Winter Quarter, using this definition of their cultural archetype, each student will then define their own strategic objectives and expected outcomes using the
precedent architect’s engagement with the real world. This will be the vision statement
and it should three sentences. Three images of previous work by each the student will
be selected that best describes each sentence of the vision statement. A clearly stated
factual caption should be written for each.

The three sentences will guide the design during the Spring quarter studio. Each student will complete the design of a building with relevant comprehensiveness regarding identity, functional activities, structure, materials, spatial qualities, civic presence, energy systems, method of construction, audience address, and cultural conversation. The proof of core competency defined in the Mission, and the achievement of expected results defined in the Vision, will be the criteria for evaluating success in the individual building designs.

Year-long studio, with precedent in 2022-2023's "Fit for the Future" studio

Wearables protect us from the climatic conditions, they provide privacy, comfort and they also reflect our style and personality. Building facades in the same way, provide protection from the weather, comfort, privacy and showcase typology and style. The link between architecture and fashion is a perceptible phenomenon in both theory and practice through many contemporary pioneers including Frank Lloyd Wright, Adolf Loos, Coco Chanel, and Joseph Hoffmann. Designing the architectural surface was frequently understood as being similar to designing a garment. The foundation of this connection between textiles or dresses and architecture had been laid in the mid-19th century by architect Gottfried Semper’s “Principle of Dressing.”

Students check out work from Prof. Koerner's 2022-2023 "Fit for the Future" studio

This year-long research studio in its second cycle, will investigate the relationship of fashion and building skins, and research how buildings of the future can have skins that are performative and are 3D-printed with innovative sustainable materials. Across the world, temperature extremities are rising into previously unimagined realms and summers are developing to record setting heat. Extreme heat affects health and wellbeing and it affects how we occupy and use buildings. Climate change is experienced across the world in changing weather conditions such as more frequent fires, droughts, storms and flash floods. Ground-up construction will diminish in urban environments and increasingly be replaced with retrofits. Within the studio we will rethink how to design retrofits of existing buildings, providing them a new wearable skin, and one that responds to extreme climatic conditions.

Surge in use of 3D printers in the construction industry for making precise final products, developing prototypes while lowering the production and materials cost and increase in adoption of green buildings and structure drive the growth of the global 3D printing construction market. The market across North America held the largest share in 2021, accounting for nearly two-fifths of the market. The path towards a sustainable future requires a transition from the current linear, extractive, toxic construction practices, towards circular, bio-based, renewable materials and methods. This shift has the potential to dramatically reduce the natural resource needs and carbon footprint of growing cities and infrastructure, and is critical to deliver on the Glasgow Climate Pact.

Year-long studio

Super-aging - living active and healthy into one’s 80s and 90s - is increasingly common. Yet the architecture of aging is largely lifeless. Unimaginative planning, bland experiences. There are exceptions. In Blue Zones, places where residents live exceptionally long lives, the environment contributes to wellbeing. In fact, the environment is believed to be the most important factor: architecture is critical to long healthspans.

Boomers have been the biggest contributors to climate change in the US. Constructing their cities and suburbs, delivering their infrastructure and consumer goods have left their mark. As an environmental second act, can their future communities support super-aging and also extend the lifespan of their surroundings? The research studio will generate proposals for active architecture, formulating both active uses and vital ecosystems.

The Landscape of Technological Narratives

From the crude shovel reshaping our landscapes to the intricacies of the printing press revolutionizing knowledge dissemination, technological innovations have always stood at the forefront of human evolution. Yet, the narratives of these tools are not just tales of isolated brilliance; they are deeply woven into the fabric of their environments and the lives of their protagonists. These tools are the tangible embodiments of our innate desire to innovate, but they also bear witness to our journey as we live and grow with tools we’ve created, often making mistakes as we learn how best to use them.

This year we will research and work within the relationship between technology, environment, and protagonist. The environment shapes the challenges we face, the protagonist crafts the tool in response, and the tool, once deployed, reshapes that very environment, thereby influencing the needs and desires of the protagonist anew. It's a cycle of perpetual innovation and adaptation. A farmer in rural China or Italy (the story is the same across the world) is a protagonist of his own small world. One day, he wielded a simple shovel to carve a small irrigation channel from a stream into his fields. Over decades, this act didn't just transform his immediate landscape, but also led neighboring farmers to do the same. As more joined in, this collective effort transformed the entire region, turning what was a barren land into a flourishing agricultural hub. A shovel triggered an environmental and socioeconomic metamorphosis.

One of the most important technologies of all time is widely acknowledged as the printing press. Once a very labor and time-intensive process, the production of books escalated exponentially. In a world that relied up until that point on the relaying of information through word of mouth, widespread access to knowledge radically transformed the cultural landscape, eventually laying the groundwork for the Renaissance.

Keep in mind the intrinsic interdependency: for every tool there is an environment it alters and a protagonist it supports. This studio is not just about creating transformative tools, but about understanding and crafting the interconnected stories they tell within the ecosystems they inhabit and the lives they shape.

Remember also, that even small tools can lead to unimaginable change.

Description coming soon

415/Spring 2024 is the second quarter of the two-quarter, 414-415 sequence for second-year MArch students


The measurable and undeniable realities of climate change, finite resources of building materials, environmentally detrimental building practices make us all pause and reconsider how we as architects, as a discipline, as individuals and as society should rethink the ways we responsibly reimagine and inhabit the future of our built environment. More than any other next generation of architects, this rising next generation of architects will be deeply engaged in the imagining the next cycle of existing building stock, sites, grounds, cities and territories. This paradigm of engaging the existing material accumulation on a site in a constructive and creative manner brings along a set of interesting challenges and potentials. As we contemplate architectural value for spaces that were made for other needs at other times, for materials that might not be directly conducive to present needs and meanings sought; as we decide what to salvage, what to reappropriate, what to reconfigure, what and how to add to; and as we try to make sensible new tectonics for a culture that evolves rapidly, our framing of the problem begins to shift from the territory of responsible environmental ethics towards the territory of potential emergent aesthetics. This studio challenges the students to develop a position in engaging an existing building/site and to imagine a highly specific and detailed project for its next cycle towards an alternative future.

Structures III, AUD 433, is the third part of a year-long, three-part exploration into structural thinking. Structure is certainly used to support architecture, but, is also space defining, form generating, and aesthetically engaging as well. The Golden Gate Bridge has majestic structural towers and fluid structural cables. They support the roadway. But they then define the architecture, the roadway being almost structurally incidental. The dome of the Pantheon encloses a wonderful, large circular space. But the architecture is certainly in the presence of the dome itself.

Structures 2 continues the understanding of span from Structures 1. How span works is central to what is built. Both opportunities and limitations are found here. Columns and walls play a similar role, but to a lesser degree. We look first at columns this quarter and then we look at wood as a building material, as a spanning material, a material that is undergoing profound changes as we move away from solid-sawn members and more to engineered members. Mass Timber is expanding these changes. Many of the ideas discussed are similar to those of steel, many are different. The course will also look at an introduction to lateral load design, a topic more fully addressed in Structures 3.

This course introduces advanced construction systems and techniques with a focus on digital fabrication, advanced material studies and as a resource in your design thinking, a means of building a tectonic imagination to support the conceptual development of your studio work. This course builds upon and expands on the fundamentals, basic systems, construction logics, and detailing principles which are part of A&UD 436 - Introduction
to Building Construction. Further, the course elaborates on contemporary methods of design, digital fabrication and assembly associated with professional practice and research in architecture through lectures, site visits and case studies.

This course will introduce the design of buildings to conserve energy through passive means and to be a good steward to the environment. The following will be discussed:

 Comfort Control for Occupants
 Sustainable Building Design
 Building Fabric Design
 Solar Orientation
 Solar Heat Gains
 Sun Control
 Wind and Natural Ventilation
 Sustainable Landscape Design
 Site and External Acoustics
 Site Drainage
 Daylighting

 To teach students the fundamental issues of Building Façade and Roof Design
 To teach students how conserving energy can impact their architectural designs and how to integrate these ideas into architecture.
 To provide students with a useful set of references which can be used in future work and in design studios.
 To expose students to the concepts of integrated design team working
 To outline the relevant codes which govern building design.
 To expose students to the array of available tools, systems and equipment used in
Professional Engineering Practice