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College of Architecture
Texas Tech University
Mail Stop 42091
Lubbock, Texas 79409
Phone 806-742-3136
Email: architecture@ttu.edu

Instructors: Victoria McReynolds // Chris Taylor // José Llano (Guest Instructor)

2011 Valparaiso Studio Syllabus

The ideology of the Open City, on the other hand, displaces reason for poetry. Truth is related not to the rational but to the mysterious. Not to organizing reality but to its discovery and transformation. And poetry, not as the gratuitous overlay of sentiment to augment the world organized by reason but, rather, as a specific mental field with a potency that supersedes reason in that it does not confine itself to the obvious and logical but, more important, admits the illogical and illusive of reality into its field of activity. Poetry as a faculty of perception and proposition.
Ann Pendleton-Jullian, Road that is Not a Road and the Open City, Ritoque, Chile (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996) p. 133. ISBN 9780262660990


Instructor Information

Chris Taylor

Email: chris.taylor@ttu.edu
Office Hours: by appointment

Victoria McReynolds

Email: v.mcreynolds@ttu.edu
Office Hours: by appointment

Course Information

Meeting Times: Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 10:30am, 4:00pm to 7:00pm and at additional times as scheduled by instructors.

Location: DUC Valparaiso, Chile

Catalog Descriptions

ARCH 4601 Architectural Design Studio VI, sections 362 and 562, CRN 24523 and 24524, 6 undergraduate semester credit hours.
Urbanism: design of urban aggregates of buildings, infrastructure, and land use. Explores the interface between culture and architecture at the scale of the city. Must be taken off campus in study abroad programs.
ARCH 4000, Research in Architecture and Urban Studies, section 003, CRN 25687, 1 undergraduate semester credit hours.
Individual studies of special interest in advanced architecture, history of architecture, and city planning.
ARCH 5501, Advanced Architectural Design Studio, section 362, CRN 28890, 5 graduate semester credit hours.
Topical studio that explores design, theoretical and/or technological issues that affect current architectural thought and practice.
ARCH 5301, Special Problems in Architecture, section 062, CRN 28893, 3 graduate semester credit hours.
Individual study projects in architecture of special interest to students.

NAAB Criteria

A.8 - Ordering Systems Skills

Understanding of the fundamentals of both natural and formal ordering systems and the capacity of each to inform two- and three-dimensional design.

C. 1. Collaboration

Ability to work in collaboration with others and in multi-disciplinary teams to successfully complete design projects.

A.10. Cultural Diversity

Understanding of the diverse needs, values, behavioral norms, physical abilities, and social and spatial patterns that characterize different cultures and individuals and the implication of this diversity on the societal roles and responsibilities of architects.

B. 4. Site Design

Ability to respond to site characteristics such as soil, topography, vegetation, and watershed in the development of a project design.

Realm A: Critical Thinking and Representation

Architects must have the ability to build abstract relationships and understand the impact of ideas based on research and analysis of multiple theoretical, social, political, economic, cultural and environmental contexts. This ability includes facility with the wider range of media used to think about architecture including writing, investigative skills, speaking, drawing and model making. Students’ learning aspirations include:
  • Being broadly educated.
  • Valuing lifelong inquisitiveness.
  • Communicating graphically in a range of media.
  • Recognizing the assessment of evidence.
  • Comprehending people, place, and context.
  • Recognizing the disparate needs of client, community, and society.

Realm B: Integrated Building Practices, Technical Skills and Knowledge

Architects are called upon to comprehend the technical aspects of design, systems and materials, and be able to apply that comprehension to their services. Additionally they must appreciate their role in the implementation of design decisions, and the impact of such decisions on the environment. Students learning aspirations include:
  • Creating building designs with well-integrated systems.
  • Comprehending constructability.
  • Incorporating life safety systems.
  • Integrating accessibility.
  • Applying principles of sustainable design.

Realm C: Leadership and Practice

Architects need to manage, advocate, and act legally, ethically and critically for the good of the client, society and the public. This includes collaboration, business, and leadership skills. Student learning aspirations include:
  • Knowing societal and professional responsibilities.
  • Comprehending the business of building.
  • Collaborating and negotiating with clients and consultants in the design process.
  • Discerning the diverse roles of architects and those in related disciplines.
  • Integrating community service into the practice of architecture.

Studio Definition

Studio Goals

This course seeks to:

  1. Understand how architecture makes the city.
  2. Recalibrate an understanding of place based on the particulars of operating in the southern hemisphere.
  3. Engage the city of Valparaiso as a sectional climb between sea and sky.
  4. Use the presence of the body as a marker and device of measure for the city.
  5. Test realities of poetic interactions with the city.
  6. Operate within the city as much as possible.
  7. Promote the broadest cultural exchange possible.
  8. Learn from Chilean cultural identity.

Learning Outcomes

Upon satisfactory completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Understand the way architecture makes the city of Valparaiso, Chile.
  2. Engage a dynamic range of programmatic intervention within the city.
  3. Create precise, clear, and instrumental design drawings.
  4. Create precise, clear, and instrumental design models.
  5. Maintain and manage a constructive studio ethic of production and critique.

Methods of Assessment

The expected learning outcomes of will be assessed through:

  1. Studio projects including physical drawings, models and writing assignments.
  2. Electronic documentation of works produced posted to the course web site on the college wiki.
  3. Verbal presentation and discussion of projects developed in the studio.

Studio Operation

By definition study abroad encompasses particular opportunities and responsibilities. The gift of time abroad is precious and should be used wisely. Unlike a standard sixteen week studio on campus with rhythms of intense action and relative calm, our days in Chile are numbered and can not be made up or relived once they have passed. It is incumbent on everyone involved to make the most from every pedagogic, cultural and social interaction. Everything we do in Chile, even breaks, have the potential to inform our work and as such we should be always on. Your performance, what you make and how you engage the culture of the studio, will be the significant measure of your assessment in this class. Making architecture requires action, persistence, and dedication.

The course will be taught equally by two faculty. Students are responsible to and should digest feedback from both faculty and their peers. Part of developing a critical understanding of architectural discourse is mastering the ability to engage a wide range of constructive critical feedback and use it to produce a position of your own. Great architecture is not made from direct reactions to singular needs of program, culture, or environmental conditions. Great architecture is made from the synthesized voice of the architect operating directly through material. The importance of cultivating and developing your voice--in the language of words, lines, and models--can not be understated.


Operating from the common question of how architecture makes the city students will locate points of interest within the territories of engagement defined by the studio. Processes of discovery, analysis, and synthesis will cycle back and forth throughout the term of our work. It is vital that we are always looking, collecting, and comparing, even as we move towards resolutions of our propositions. Our time and outcomes will be structured to facilitate this cycling.

The studio will operate iteratively across a set of frameworks of investigation. These methods of apprehending the city will be divided into three registers of process (with media implications):

  • SOCIAL INTERACTION / notes, photographs, recordings

Studio Structure

The studio will be divided into the following patterns and events:

  • Daily Routines
  • Catalyst Meetings
  • Studio Prompts
  • Working Sessions
  • Reflection / Critique Sessions
  • Weekly Routines
  • Collecting Sources / City Walks
  • Seminars / Cultural Conversations
  • Testing Intentions / Results
  • Excursions
  • Santiago
  • Isla Negra
  • Open City
  • Los Vilos

Refer to the Studio Schedule for details. The schedule as well as the details of this document will change often. It is both important, and the responsibility of the studio to remain informed of ongoing developments.

A typical day will include the following schedule:

  • Morning Catalyst Meeting / Prompts for the day.
  • Late morning to afternoon exploration and working sessions in the city.
  • Late afternoon Critique Meeting.
  • Dinner break.
  • Evening return to studio to work and/or event.

Studio Outcomes (what we will make)

To study the way architecture makes the city we will work analytically and generatively to develop a LINEAR PARK along a sectional climb through Valparaiso connecting sea and sky. The following discrete programmatic events will be defined acoustically, material/spatially, and socially along this line:

  • MARKET / transfer of goods
  • NEWSSTAND / transfer of ideas
  • SHOWER / transfer of bodies


References for the studio will be dynamic and organized electronically. Visit the studio references page regularly as it will evolve throughout the studio. Also the college links page may provide interest and inspiration.

Continue to refer to and build the Research conducted during the Acculturation Seminar.

Studio Materials

In addition to the tools developed during the Acculturation Seminar an array of specific studio materials will be required for the successful completion of this course. Architecture is inherently about making and you should be prepared to commit the necessary resources of time and material in the completion of the work. This does not necessary mean that exorbitant sums of money need to be spent. Consider options carefully to acquire materials in the most efficient and economical manner (for example group purchasing or online/discount vendors). Working on the road we will need to be resourceful in locating access to materials.


Academic Policies

Review and abide by course Studio Ethics. Students are required to comply with the College Academic Policies, Attendance Policy, Architecture Building Policies, and the Retention of Student Work Policy.

Given the nature and intensity of Studio Abroad it is very important all participants help create a constructive and appropriate culture in the studio.

Attendance Policy

Students are responsible for attending all scheduled class meetings for the full class period. A total of four absences is considered excessive, requiring the student to drop the class or receive a grade of “F” in compliance with drop deadlines. All absences are considered unexcused with the exception of absences due to religious observance and officially approved trips (according to guidelines specified in the TTU Catalog).
Students are expected to comply with TTU Center for Campus Life rules for reporting student illness requiring absence from class for more than one week, or immediate family member deaths. Attendance is defined as participation in all studio/class activities including group and individual critiques, lectures, presentations, demonstrations, discussions, in-class assignments, and possible field trips. Attendance requires students to have their computer, tools, materials, and supplies available for all studio activities; any tardiness, leaving early, lack of participation, walking in and out of lectures, undivided attention, disruptive behavior, etc. will count as absences. Students are not allowed to work on assignments from other classes during studio.
Any required materials due on a particular class day are due prior to the beginning of class. Not having materials (models, drawings, printouts, papers) at the start of class will be considered an absence.
In studio courses all previously completed work should be available in the studio always so they can be referred to throughout the design and critique process.

Studio Work Archive File Naming

Everything created in the studio will exist both in analog and digital form. Creating a standard system of naming files and objects is essential to maintain order. Part of each assignment will be the submission of work in both analog and digital formats. All digital documents must adhere to the following naming convention:

ie: 2011_12-01-01_cjt_p1_001.jpg
ie: 2011_12-01-02_cjt_valpo_001.jpg
ie: 2011_12-01-03_cjt_buttercup_001.jpg

All letters are lower case and the counter should always be in three digit format to allow for many items within each project.

Grading Criteria

Grade evaluations will be made by studio faculty in consultation with the teaching assistants. Work will be evaluated in terms of Intention, Development, and Resolution on a 0-100 scale. See College Grade Definitions for letter grade determinations. Project weighting for the semester will be:
Component = Percentage
Project 0 - weekly collections = 10%
Project 1 - intro = 20%
Project 2 - linear park = 40%
Participation - includes progress marks = 30%
Total Grade = 100%

Grading will be based on individual performance and the products produced over the course of the term. Everything relative to the studio production is part of the process. Grading will follow the criteria of the college Grade Definitions and detailed evaluations will be provided at the conclusion of each phase of the studio. Attendance is vital to success in this studio (be sure to review the Attendance Policy listed above). Participation in lectures and events outside class is also greatly encouraged and required as it has the potential to greatly impact your education.

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