The course covers the process of creating, manipulating, and communicating through digital architectural models. The class will explore the practical tension between the phenomenological experience of architecture and perspective-based representations that often proceed this experience, and implicitly claim to transparently embody it.

This course focuses on advanced spatial representation. The course will explore the relationship between people and the built environment. We will explore the cinematic experience of architecture through digital media.

Each 3.5 hour session will consist of the following:

Exercise Review ~ 30 minutes
We will present a number of exercise examples. Students will promote a discussion of technical skills and design development.
Lecture + Digital Workflow ~ 120 minutes
A brief overview of representational skills developed and explored by previous architects will situate each lecture that will end with a workflow that exhibits a range of specific skills and tools.
Class Exercise + Review ~ 60 minutes
Working from the in-class example, students will begin working on a class assignment. The assignment will be reviewed during the later part of the class.

Grading Procedures
  • Project A: 25%
  • Project B: 35%
  • Assignments: 30%
  • Class Participation/Attendance: 10%

Two unexcused absences from the course will will lower your final grade for the class by one grade (eg, A to A-, B- to C+), and more than two absences will result in a failing grade.

Course Outline

Week 1 - Advanced Modeling

In this class we will provide an overview of the goals and expectations of the course. A workshop in Rhino will emphasize the use of modeling aids and model preparation for rendering and advanced visualization. Students will learn workflows for collage techniques between different software, and basic rendering techniques.

Week 2 - Material / Intro to Light Systems

In this class we will introduce the use and creation of scene materials and will provide a brief introduction to simple lighting systems. We will explore the relationship between site, building and experience through ray traced representations, material development and overlay with collage techniques.

Week 3 - Immaterial

In this class we will present different lighting techniques and the generation of immaterial spatial qualities, both with rendering software and with post-processing. We will develop interior light systems and prepare models for night scenes. The session will be an introduction to cameras and different camera effects, contrasting the potentials of the rendering software with image post-processing.

Week 4 - Animating

In this class we will present animation techniques as a way to explore the phenomenological qualities of architectural space. We will present a survey of animation software and techniques, and an introduction to animation in Rhino. We will introduce the plugin Bongo as a tool to animate objects, time and cameras.

Week 5 - Introduction to Compositing / Rendering Animations

In this class we will build up on the animation session, finalizing the animation production process. We will set up a process for rendering and final production of animations. The session will have an introduction to cinematic concepts and techniques. Finally we will introduce Adobe After Effects to post-process the animation results, and techniques for file compression and distribution.

Week 6 - Advanced Compositing

In this class we will explore the post-production tools After Effects has. We will learn to combine multiple layers of footage, animate vector drawings, and add special effects, and vector graphics to the animation.

Week 7 - Inverse Kinematics / Questions

In this class we will explore methods to create complex motion for objects, and we will present a survey of the capabilities of kinematics in architectural design. We will have a period of questions and answers for the final review of the course.

Week 8 - Final Review

Students will present their final work for visiting faculty. Click on session page for more review requirements.