Construction I is a broad introduction to materials, systems, methods of manufacturing and assembly of buildings and their components, as well as various aspects of the trade of building and its socio-cultural and environmental impacts. Part of a series of four required courses, it is meant for students of architecture, interior design, and historic preservation.

The term “construction” comes from the Latin word constructio, which itself has roots in com- "together" and struere "to pile up." A significant portion of this course will focus on struere. We will examine materials, building elements, and systems that they form, or “pile up” into. Still, it will be equally important to investigate the ways in which these elements come together thanks to active and at times messy human-machine interactions and legal frameworks. We will look into how these interactions transform architectural projects into buildings, but also, and inevitably turn a seemingly exact and stable body of knowledge into a fascinating and ever-changing material practice. The practice of constructing buildings.

The main objective of this course is to help you become familiar with the commonly-used materials and established construction practices. Yet, the course will hopefully also help you acquire an appreciation for the open nature of the act of building, along with an awareness of its reliance on material resources, and socio-economic and cultural circumstances.

Construction is an important trade and a powerful expression of human ingenuity. Yet, it is also tightly interconnected with the natural world. It depends on available material resources and natural dynamics. At the same time, it affects environments and communities from which we extract these resources and to which we return wastes. Acquiring an understanding and an appreciation for these material interdependencies and environmental repercussions is one way to approach architecture as an ethically-driven material practice. Similarly, developing an intimate knowledge of materials and methods of construction can potentially become a way to creatively push the boundaries of architecture. That is, if we accept that architecture is essentially a material practice. While this course will not teach you everything you need to know about construction, it will hopefully reveal some of its richness and convince you to stay curious


Historic Preservation
Interior Design


Fall 2023