This course provides an overview of the methods and applications of digital representation in contemporary architectural design. Three pedagogical objectives guide our exploration:

Awareness of context
An understanding of the diversity of approaches to digital architectural representation
Proficiency in technical canon
A fluency in the digital methods typically employed in design practice
Capacity for appropriate application
A mature and controlled relationship with a range of digital forms and formats.

Course Themes

The course is organized into three thematic areas, presented in both lecture and workshop formats, and framed as a drawing practice appropriate for situations students are likely to encounter as practicing architects. Each week will consist of a lecture introducing a specific topic or skill that will later be explored in smaller group workshops during the second half of the session, followed by a weekly assignment. These themes will include:

Geometric Description
Covering 2d and rudimentary 3d techniques of describing architectural form using the geometric elements of point, line, curve, surface, and solids. Emphasis will be placed on the utility of moving between drawings of limited-dimensionality (such as between plans, sections, and 3d models). Techniques derived from a hand-drawn tradition will be introduced alongside 2d CAD drafting and basic 3d CAD modeling.

Presenting a wide survey of contemporary uses of diagrammatic techniques, both in the service of analysis and as the basis of design. Two-dimensional computer drafting, raster and vector graphic techniques will be introduced. Emphasis will be placed on maintaining precision and detailed drawing skills.

Visualization + Presentation
Portraying the phenomenological experience of architecture via perspectival-based representations and understanding the importance of style and presentation. Step-by-step perspective drawing skills will be overviewed alongside digital modeling and post-processing techniques and collage. Techniques for presentation will be introduced that aid in situating an architectural proposition within the larger discipline and prepare a design proposal for consumption by a non-architectural audience.

Course Schedule

Week 0 - Orientation

Weeks 1 - 3: Double Negative

Week 1 - Double Negative 1
August 31
Course Overview. Introduction to Rhino + NURBS Modeling. Creating a model via solid modeling, basic surface commands and Boolean operations.
Week 1 Lab
Digitally Modeling an existing Physical Model.
Week 2 - Double Negative 2
September 07
Extracting linework + creating drawings from digital models (abstract). Digital lineweights + standards. Exporting to Illustrator.
Week 2 Lab
From previous digital model, create plans + sections.
Week 3 - 3d Drawing Extraction
September 14
Drawing extraction from 3d models. 3d Views: Axonometric, Isometric, Exploded Drawings. Composite drawings using simple renders.
Week 6 Lab
Creating an axonometric drawing from an existing model.

Weeks 4-7: Project Two

Week 4 - 3d Site Modeling
September 21
Modeling + drawing the site. 3d modeling tools reviewed. Extracting site information from 3d models.
Week 4 Lab
Creating a Site Section Drawing
Week 5 - 3d Building Modeling
September 28
Introduction to 3d modeling in Rhino with specificity towards a building model. Modeling from Lines to Surfaces. How to keep a model "clean" and organized while also exact. Surface editing tools.
Week 5 Lab
Model the Villa Savarnsworth House.
Week 6 - 3d Drawing Extraction
October 05
Drawing extraction from 3d models. Architectural standards overview - why we use them. Cleaning up linework. Organizational tools.
Week 6 Lab
Manipulate Site Surfaces to Fit a New Design
Week 7 - Intro to VRay
October 12
Saving views + rendering using Vray. Adding and controlling sunlight. Photoshop adjustments and adding materials. Composing the render with linework in Illustrator.
Week 7 Lab
Render design in site with sunlight and adjust the image as needed in Photoshop.

Weeks 8 - 14: Final Project

Week 8 - Physical Site Model Building and Drawing Extraction
October 19
Overview of different model making strategies and techniques. Using Rhino to assist in fabrication..
Week 8 Lab
Setting up files for a physical model
Week 9 - Advanced Rhino Modeling
October 26
Overview of Rhino modeling thus far, highlighting common mistakes and how to avoid them. Discussion of modeling for different purposes - creating drawings, diagrams or renders. Presentation of advanced Rhino editing tools.
Week 9 Lab
Model a kayak using a jig.
Week 10 - Diagramming Building
November 02
Preview a variety of system diagrams including circulation, program, sunlight, etc. Converting data into precise diagrams using Rhino + Illustrator.
Week 10 Lab
Section perspective with overlaid linework.
Week 11 - Finalizing Rendering
November 09
Setting up interior renders using VRay. Working with artificial lights and emitters. Working with layered images in Photoshop.
Week 11 Lab
Interior + Street View Renders
Week 12 - Work day
November 16
Assist students with questions, troubleshooting, etc.
Week 12 Lab
Week 13 - Thanksgiving
Week 14 - Cancelled

Drawings submitted Wednesday Nov 28 Models collected Sunday Dec 2