Fall 2017 Electives


Arch 105 (Cross-listed as ENST 100) - Environment, Culture, and Society


This introductory course in environmental studies helps students to better understand the complex interrelationship between human cultures and their social and physical environments. Lectures and assignments draw up the methods and expertise of architecture, the humanities, and the social sciences. Open to non-architecture majors.  


Arch 311/611 - Houston Architecture


The course consists of a series of illustrated lectures and walking tours that describe and analyze the architectural history of Houston. The basis of the lectures is a chronological account of the development of Houston from its founding in 1836 to the present. Characteristic building types and exceptional works of architecture are identified for each period within the city’s development. Notable architects who worked in Houston are also studied and the evolution of the practice of architecture is profiled. Walking tours acquaint class members with outstanding buildings and educate them in developing an awareness of the historical dimension of urban sites. Open to non-architecture majors.


Arch 313 (Cross-listed as ENST 313/613) - Case Studies in Sustainable Design


This course will explore sustainable design from initial sustainable facility concepts and team organizations, to enlisting community support and process assessment. The course develops into details about sustainable design, lessons learned, processes and outcomes. Open to non-architecture majors.


Arch 327 - Rice Building Workshop


The Rice Building Workshop involves graduate and undergraduate students in the design and construction of real community-based projects at various scales. Elective courses and course sequences will be formatted to address the specific requirements of each project as required. Please consult postings for further information. The course is open to qualified non-Architecture majors.


Arch 350 (1) - Intro to Landscape Architecture: History and Method


This course provides an introduction to landscape architecture through a survey of its history, and through direct application to a studio project. From the historic gardens at Versailles to the current Millennium Park in Chicago, the direct manipulation and design of land has a long and complex set of rules, traditions and practices. The focus will be on the consideration of how architecture extends beyond the interior and its relationship to an equally important external fabric. The course is comprised of interactive lectures on landscape themes, and the application of specific concepts imparted into design exercises. Non-architecture majors who wish to enroll in this course must receive permission from the instructors at the end of the first week of school. Permission will be granted to students who present a portfolio of satisfactory visual artwork or graphic design. Sophomores and above.


Arch 350 (2) - House: Historical, Representational, Political


Charles Moore, in The Place of Houses, speculates on the idea of the home: “You bind the goods and trappings of your life together with your dreams to make a place that is uniquely your own. In doing so you build a semblance of the world you know, adding it to the community that surrounds you.” In this seminar, we will consider the house typology as a connective thread through history with embedded representational imagery and political implications. We will focus our discussion in the time period from 1910 to the present, looking primarily (but not exclusively) at American examples. We will examine the various forces that define the domestic realm, and bring that larger view to specific Houston examples. The class will be divided into three segments (historical, representational, and political/cultural), each beginning with overview lectures and discussions and followed by short readings, guest lectures, and field trips. The goal is to look very closely at parts of a large subject; to edit to the essentials, and to find specificity and detail by developing student responses in word and image. Open to non-architecture students, sophomores and above.


Arch 350 (3) - House: Historical, Representational, Political


This seminar examines how the capacity, functionality, and geometry of urban transportation modes, including pedestrians, bicycles, cars, and transit, shapes the structure of cities. It identifies design standards and explores design approaches to accommodating multiple modes in the limited and politically contested space of a city street. Open to non-architecture majors.


Arch 353 - Photography for Architects


This foundation course focuses upon photographing architecture. The goal is to acquire a high level of proficiency in order to visually communicate with consistency. Two thirds of the course is technical, exploring basic camera techniques, color management and photo shop. The class is highly interactive with weekly assignments that build upon one another incrementally. It is fast moving with a considerable amount of information covered within a short period. The knowledge and skills acquired are in direct proportion to the individual’s attendance at the lectures, fulfilling the assignments, and active participation during critique. Open to non-architecture majors.


Arch 403 (2) - For Example


This course will reflect upon the methodologies of six international architectural practices that are rethinking the design possibilities of history. As modes of working with precedent have become overburdened within the discipline, these offices share approaches that alleviate some of those burdens. The seminar will comprise readings, a group presentation and six small design exercises. Offered to architecture majors only; required for select majors (seniors) and by permission for other majors.


Arch 403 (3) - Making the Bed


Since every piece of equipment is more than what meets the eye, the scope of this seminar will be to interrogate the bed as the device and as the technical equipment in which so many things are overlapped (health, technology, hygiene, nurture, servitude, repression, intimacy, domesticity). The course will historicize, problematize and survey the spaces occupied by beds in general and by hospital beds specifically. Beds will be used as a metaphorical frame for re-reading the history of modern architecture and the role that medicine still plays in everyday life. By analyzing a host of theoretical and historical sources, this seminar explores the articulation of concepts and aesthetic sensibilities that coincide with modernism and the primacy that this movement gave to medical knowledge. From the clinical spaces described by Foucault to new ideas of normalcy and risk that have permeated the premises upon which architectural production resides, medicine has defined new social representations that are subject of study in this seminar. This seminar sets the theoretical underpinnings for the spring studio, entitled Unmaking the Bed. Offered to architecture majors only; required for select majors (seniors) and by permission for other majors.


Arch 412 - Identity and Urbanity: Politics, Race, and Resistance in the City


Cities are the most diverse places of human habitation, in terms of who lives in them, in terms of the activities conducted in them, and in terms of the images that are constructed of them. An investigation of the relationship between identity and urbanity inevitably comes upon tensions because it means investigating who and what has a place in the city, in its history, and in its representations. Focusing on urbanism in the US, this seminar is structured in four thematic parts to answer important questions about issues of identity in the city. Part 1 investigates the construction of the public and asks who controls it, and controls access to it. Part 2 focuses on the constructions of race as a form of oppression in the city by studying the history of government-sponsored segregation of Black communities, as well as the construction of Chinatowns as racial enclaves. Part 3 follows mobility, history, and protest as forms of resistance against the control of urban space and urban identities. Part 4 discusses the alleged homogenization of cities in an age of global capital, together with arts initiatives poised to restore identity to urban space and urban populations. In each class, relevant case studies from architecture, urbanism, and art will be discussed in conjunction with assigned readings. Students will also be encouraged to contribute materials to the discussion, and time will be made to include and reflect on current events. Open to non-architecture majors.


Arch 423/623 (1) - Professionalism and Management in Architectural Practice


Students will explore the challenges, standards, expectations and demands that apply to a design professional. They will learn how to start, organize and manage a professional firm and protect it from preventable risks. They will study how a project becomes a reality, starting with marketing and sales efforts, writing and negotiating the contracts involved, turning a design idea into reality, getting it built and handling claims. Architects, engineers and constructors who are directly involved in the construction industry provide real world profiles of their practices. Students will also do case studies of completed projects. Open to non-architecture majors.


Arch 435 - Practices of Architectural Thinking I


Presentations, workshops, and discussions on the interrelationship of history, theory, and design, focusing on significant modern and contemporary practices. This 1 credit course will meet five Mondays in the evenings, 3 hours each meeting. Open to non-architecture majors; required for select majors: freshmen, sophomores, and first year Option 1 and 2s.


Arch 450 (1) - Tall Timbers


This seminar will explore the tectonic potential latent in heavy timber construction systems. As carbon emissions emerge as a driver for new economies, building with wood is increasingly considered as a realistic alternative to other construction systems for mass housing, such as steel or concrete. Interestingly enough, most of the research on high rise timber construction tends to focus on purely technical issues ignoring the constructive and aesthetic potentials of this new building method. This should come as no surprise, as it has often happened with new construction technologies that they take a while to be absorbed culturally: the first iron bridges for instance emulated stone ones, and it was only with time that they found their own formal logic. The seminar will focus on precisely the scale that goes from the construction detail to the repetitive structural system, producing a catalog of new possibilities that will seek to capitalize on the formal and technical potential of a yet unexplored construction material. Work will be developed collaboratively and through the production of large wood models. Offered to architecture majors only, juniors and above.  


Arch 450 (2) - Architecture and the City


The City is one of the prime subjects of interdisciplinary investigation. The City is an ancient project that has produced not just obvious physical evidence such as Agriculture, Architecture and Technologies, but an abundance of human organizations and life styles such as economies, governments, the American Dream, hospitals and universities; In other words a vast and daunting subject. This course will narrow the investigation to Architecture and the City by taking a particular view of the interconnections between the culture of cities and its architectural manifestations. These connections have over time produced a subfield known as urbanism and it is within this domain that a series of case studies of cities and architecture will be made. Open to non-architecture majors, juniors and above.  

Arch 450 (3) - Pliable


Pliable advocates for the immediacy of material investigations and fabrication in architecture. Immediacy demands pliable research and design methods that enable nimble responses to unforeseen discoveries. Students investigate two-dimensional (flat, fabric) surfaces as active, primary organizing elements in the development and understanding of architectural form – through the design and production of three full-scale objects. Design work is supplemented with presentation prompts, short films, and readings. Offered to architecture majors only.  


Arch 455 - Housing and Urban Programs: Issues in Policy


This course will explore current issues in the formulation and implementation of housing and urban development programs in the U.S. An oral presentation and written paper on a specific topic within a general policy area required. Open to non-architecture majors.


Arch 491/691 (Cross-listed as MGMT 757) - Real Estate Development and Architectural Design


This seminar offers a collaboration between RSA students and MBA students, bringing the two groups together to create an economically feasible development concept and a corresponding conceptual design for a high-rise office building in New York City that will establish the right scope of space and appropriate qualities of construction materials that meet the owners’ (Hines, Inc.) objectives, program, and economics. Issues considered will include land purchase or long-term lease, client’s objectives, market analysis, feasibility analytics, allowable cost analysis, cost estimation with design team / construction firm, financing options and influences on design, financing, construction systems and quality and cost controls. Open to non-architecture majors.


Arch 610 - History, Theory & Structure: Paris Program


This course is comprised of multiple formal and informal modules, each lasting 3-5 weeks, either overlapping or following the other, with meeting times determined by the nature of the module. Modules include Greater Paris: An Infrastructural History; Replaying Modernism; From Structure to Ornament: Three Studies in the History and Theory of Architecture; French Culture & Society and Practical French. Other site visits, guest lectures, and study travel trips are also part of the experience. Offered to architecture majors only.


Arch 751 - Present Future Seminar


This the third core course of the Master of Arts degree program. It is the concluding semester of the three semester research project, the subject of which changes with each class. The purpose of the semester is to draw the conclusions of the project and produce and package the results. The formats vary with each project. Offered to architecture majors only.


Ceve 499 - Senior Engineering Design Projects


Rice School of Architecture and George R. Brown School of Engineering collaborative team work for RSA students, sturctural, civil and environmental engineers. RSA students serve as the design architect leading a collaborative team of structural, civil and environmental consulting engineers enrolled in their Senior Design Project. The project is treated as a real-world design experience. One-hour credit for RSA Students - minimum attendance required except for two reviews. Open to non-architecture majors.


Poli 260 - Advocating for Ideas to Change the World


Advocating for change is an experiential learning course that teaches students how to engage in issue advocacy as a method of social change. Students work in teams with faculty mentors to develop and implement an advocacy plan for a particular cause or policy of interest. Open to non-architecture majors.