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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: Terah Maher // Mari Michael Glassell // Lionel Plummer // Peter Raab // Chris Taylor (coordinator)


"Rigor of beauty is the quest. But how will you find beauty
when it is locked in the mind past all remonstrace?"
To make a start
out of particulars
and make them general, rolling
up the sum, by defective means--
Sniffing the trees,
just another dog
among a lot of dogs. What
else is there? And to do?
The rest have run out--
after the rabbits.
Only the lame stands--on
three legs. Scratch front and back.
Deceive and eat. Dig
a musty bone.
William Carlos Williams, from the Preface to Paterson. (New York: New Directions Books, 1963).


Course Information

Spring 2014 ARCH 1412, Architectural Design Studio I, sections 1-12 and 501-512.
Credits: 4 semester credit hours
Meeting Times: Tues/Thurs, morning sections 9:30am to 12:20pm, afternoon sections 2:00pm to 4:50pm
Location: Architecture Building, 4th Floor studios

Instructor Information

Terah Maher

Office: Architecture Building, Room 805
Office Hours: W 3:00-5:00
Email: terah.maher@ttu.edu

Mari Michael Glassell

Office: Architecture Building, Room 1002a
Office Hours: MW 3:30-4:30 & by appointment
Phone: 806-834-6965
Email: mm.glassell@ttu.edu

Lionel Plummer

Office: CASNR Room 17
Office Hours: Tues & Thurs 1:00 - 2:00p & by appt.

Peter Raab

Office: Architecture Building, Room 805
Office Hours: W 11:00a - 2:00p & by appointment
Phone: 806.834.5510
Email: peter.raab@ttu.edu

Chris Taylor (coordinator)

Office: Architecture Building, Room 709
Office Hours: Wednesdays 1:00 - 2:00pm & by appointment
Phone: 806-834-1589
Email: chris.taylor@ttu.edu

Catalog Course Description

Introduction to the principles and methods used at various stages of design analysis and synthesis processes. Skill developments in the abstraction, transformation, composition, of two- and three dimensional design. 4 Credits, Undergraduate.

National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) Criteria

Fundamental Design Skills: Ability to effectively use basic architectural and environmental principles in design. (Criteria A6 / 3.13.6)
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. (Criteria A8 / 3.13.5)

Course Purpose

Introduction to the culture, language and methods of architecture through performance based studio production.
Students graduating from Texas Tech University should be able to construct, present, and defend critical and aesthetic judgments of works in the creative arts. The course is open to all majors interested in making architecture.

Course Goals

This course seeks to:

  1. Introduce students to the foundational vocabulary, syntax and application of the language of architecture.
  2. Establish a momentum of studio culture while developing the foundational vocabulary and methods for making architecture.
  3. Define aspirational standards for craft and material sensibilities.
  4. Create the ability to form clear architectural propositions and make qualitative assessments of architectural design work.
  5. Cultivate a spirit of inquiry and action.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Create precise and instrumental diagrammatic design drawings.
  2. Create precise and instrumental diagrammatic design models.
  3. Comprehend and communicate through drawing, building, writing and speaking the foundational language of architecture.
  4. Establish and foster a constructive studio ethic of active production and critical reflection.
  5. Establish and maintain a documentation system for managing work in process and completed in analog and digital form.


The expected learning outcomes of this course will be assessed through:

  1. Evaluation of design drawings produced in response to assignments.
  2. Evaluation of design models produced in response to assignments.
  3. Evaluation of performance on studio projects including drawings, models, writing, and verbal presentations.
  4. Evaluation of constructive participation in studio discussions and critiques.
  5. Evaluation of work submitted physically pinned up for review and digitally to the course web site. That detail instructions such as naming conventions, organization and proper presentation techniques are followed.

Studio Operation & Structure

This studio is open to all students interested in architecture. As the first studio before acceptance into the professional degree program it provides a pivotal opportunity for students to evaluate their inclinations and produce a body of work to be used in their application to the college. This studio also holds the promise of leading in powerful directions for people who use the knowledge gained here to pursue other fields of study. As the first architectural design studio in a long sequence of courses culminating in a professional degree in architecture--a journey from Farm to Market--this studio seeks to establish baseline levels of commitment and production necessary to excel in architecture. As the introductory design studio it begins with the premise that you have yet to be formally introduced to how the language of architecture is recognized, constructed, and evaluated. Learning this new spatial language will require precise commitment to vocabulary, syntax and application. Your performance--what you make and how you engage the culture of the studio--will be the significant measure of your evaluation in this class. Learning to make architecture requires action, persistence, and dedication.
As a point of beginning this class is less about the literal making of buildings as final products and more about creating a foundation of architectural thinking and skills that will continue to grow over the duration of the curriculum. Architectural education is an ongoing and transformational process.
The course will be taught by faculty and a group of studio assistants. Students are responsible to and should digest feedback from the entire group of faculty, studio assistants, and 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 immediate reactions to singular needs of program, culture, or environmental conditions. Great architecture is made from a synthesized voice operating directly through material conditions, site dynamics, and the details of inhabitation. The importance of cultivating and developing your voice--in words, lines, and model making--can not be understated.
Faculty will lead the general discussion and large group critiques of the studio. The studio assistants will be responsible for tracking work submissions, attendance, and detail communication as well as participation in large group and break out critiques. Meta studio assistants will be responsible to the whole studio and will facilitate studio pin ups, presentations, wiki documentation, and large scale course needs.
Work and live by the 2014 ARCH 1412 Truisms ~ Studio Ethics. INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE IS SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASED BY WORKING IN THE STUDIO. Manage the time and focus of your work wisely. This is a profoundly demanding course and will require significant working time in addition to course meeting times.


Throughout the semester students will operate on a common base or datum by locating points in space and constructing regulating lines to organize tectonic and stereotomic elements that define spatial conditions through additive and subtractive construction processes. These processes will cycle repeatedly to insure saturation and produce a palimpsest of investigation spanning two and three dimensions. The evolving compositions of words, points, lines, and planes will define and describe architectural volume.

The studio will operate iteratively to develop a density of investigation across a sequence of projects. Each project and assignment response will engage three registers of media:

  1. WORD ~ writing
  2. LINE ~ drawing
  3. SPACE ~ modeling

Text References

Required Texts:
  1. Pallasmaa, Juhani. The Thinking Hand: existential and embodied wisdom in architecture (London: Wiley, 2009). ISBN 978-0-47077929-3
  2. Strunk Jr., William Jr. and E.B. White. The Elements of Style Illustrated. Maira Kalman illustrator. (New York: Penguin Press, 2005) ISBN 1594200696

Specified chapters of the Pallasmaa must be read to complete assignments listed on the course schedule and prior to seminar sessions. The text is available through online vendors accessible through the ISBN link above and possibly lically at Varsity Bookstore.
The Strunk and White is an invaluable reference for this course and your entire career. It will be used throughout the studio and linked to specific studio exercises.
Additional studio references can be found at 2014 ARCH 1412 References, which will evolve and be expanded throughout the semester. The college links and books pages may also provide interest and inspiration.

Studio Materials

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 for 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). See 2014 ARCH 1412 Studio Materials for a complete listing of supplies required for the studio.


Should any changes in the syllabus be required during the course of the semester in-class announcements and/or electronic postings will be made to alert all participants. Check the announcements section of the course website often.

ADA Statement

Any student who, because of a disability, may require special arrangements in order to meet the course requirements should contact the instructor as soon as possible to make any necessary arrangements. Students should present appropriate verification from Student Disability Services during the instructor’s office hours. Please note: instructors are not allowed to provide classroom accommodations to a student until appropriate verification from Student Disability Services has been provided. For additional information, please contact Student Disability Services in West Hall or call 806.742.2405, and see University Operating Policy 34.22.

Academic Policies

Review and abide by course 2014 ARCH 1412 Truisms ~ Studio Ethics. Students are required to comply with the College Academic Policies, Attendance Policy, Architecture Building Policies, Student Code of Conduct, and the Retention of Student Work Policy.
Given the nature and intensity of Studio 1 it is very important all participants help create a constructive and appropriate culture in the studio. As an elaboration of the studio Truisms all students are required to comply with the studio rules. In short they are:
  1. The inconvenienced person in the studio is always right.
  2. During class times there will be no digital communication or media display in the studio, including text messaging, social media websites, televisual programming, and phone calls.
  3. Studio must be kept healthy and safe.
  4. All rules ~ TRUISMS ~ apply in the studio always, 24 / 7 / 365.


As specified in the College 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. Tardiness, arriving more than 15 minutes late, will be recorded as 1/4 of an absence.

All absences are considered unexcused with the exception of those due to religious observance specified in University Operating Procedure 34.19 and officially approved trips or University Business regulated by University Operating Procedure 34.04.

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 tools and materials available for all studio activities; excessive tardiness, leaving early, lack of participation, walking in and out of lectures, undivided attention, disruptive behavior, etc. will be recorded as absences. Students are not allowed to work on assignments from other classes during studio.


All assignments are due as indicated on the course schedule prior to the beginning of class. Not having work to present (models, drawings, printouts, papers) or documentation materials posted to the course wiki 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 it 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 both forms. All digital documents must adhere to the following naming convention:
ie: 2014_ARCH_1412_taylor_c_1a_001.jpg
With the exception of ARCH all letters are lowercase and the article number should always be in three digit format to allow for many items within each project. Follow the guidelines within each assignment.

Grading Criteria

Grades will be determined by averaging evaluations from all studio faculty and individual studio 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 = 10%
Project 1 = 25%
Project 2 = 25%
Project 3 = 35%
Participation = 5%
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 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 significantly impact your education.
No extra credit is available in this course.
Given the performative and sequential nature of this course, late or missing assignments after each project is complete can not be made up. At the time of grading each project incomplete work (not present on wiki or in physical form) will be evaluated and then reduced by 20 points; missing work (not present on wiki and not present in physical form) will be evaluated as a “0” (zero).

2014 ARCH 1412 Studio Home