Rhode Island School of Design
Department of Architecture
Bayard Ewing Building
231 South Main St
Providence RI 02903
+1 401 454 6281
Dear Architecture Students,
Since your departure from RISD in March, when the college transitioned to remote learning, Carl and I have been working closely with our faculty, department heads and graduate program directors across RISD, the Dean and the Provost to plan for a safe return in the Fall. We have created this page as a central repository for all of the most up to date information on COVID-19 planning in the department. We encourage each of you to continue to check in daily with RISD’s site – covid.risd.edu – for news on preparations being made across the college.
As a college, RISD faculty will be delivering your courses through three modes of instruction: in-person, hybrid, and online. The architecture faculty has been meeting over the summer and we are confident that we can deliver the curriculum both creatively and with a high degree of academic integrity. We have been working tirelessly to de-densify the BEB to ensure student access to home space for part of each week. The majority of the department’s studios, including the core representation courses, will be delivered as hybrid courses, and the lecture courses and seminars will be a mix of online and hybrid instruction. We are dedicated to crafting flexible educational experiences for our international students who may have to access their courses remotely, from various time zones, in the Fall.
Below you can find modalities for each course. We are also posting, directly as we have received them from individual faculty, plans for how each course is adapting to either the hybrid or online format and accommodating remote students.
All Architecture students studying in person during the fall will be assigned a studio desk with access during one of two 3-day periods each week (Su/Mo/Tu or Th/Fr/Sa). The department will approve any remote learning requests up to the deadline imposed by the college. More information about this process can be found on the RISD Covid-19 planning site.
Before the start of the Fall semester, the BEB shop will be reconfigured to accommodate two new laser cutters, a small CNC mill, and eight new 3D printers. Students will continue to have remote access to the shop facilities throughout the Fall semester. Additionally, the BEB computer lab will offer remote access computing, and remote plotting, with a new high-speed plotter and a new sheet-feeding plotter.
In many ways, the accommodations we have made in our teaching since March more closely approximate the contemporary conditions of global architectural practice. While all of us miss informal exchanges at the BEB and impromptu conversations at Dave’s, the ability to clearly communicate spatial ideas at a distance is central to the practice of architecture in a global economy. We have watched as students have developed stronger representation and narrative skills as a result of the current conditions, and engaged their work with the creativity and resilience that are hallmarks of a RISD architectural education. Thank you all for your patience and understanding as we have worked, as a faculty, on these plans to welcome you back to RISD in September. Please continue to check this page for the most recent departmental updates, and be in touch with me or other members of the faculty with any specific questions you may have.
Primary instruction will be remote. Assignments are written to provide flexibility, choice, and availability to students to use in-person facilities, tools, and equipment as needed.
Across all modalities, the course goals objectives and outcomes remain: Core 01 provides frameworks to enable and empower students to make self-authored design decisions regarding processes, materials, and tools beginning from a point of abstraction. In this setting, these frameworks will leverage speed, media, and disciplinary language to prompt inquiry into the built environment through a series of sprint style prompts that create a body of related work independent of sequence and modality of making.
As a studio of multiple sections, Core 01 will leverage the full teaching team to augment a hybrid structure that does not privilege or presuppose a modality of making and learning. Prompts will be provided at regular intervals throughout the semester. These prompts will be augmented and given context through readings, and lectures and tutorials all delivered remotely. Learning objectives outcomes of prompts will be specific while accepting range and flexibility in production and fulfillment.
The studio will run in a primarily digital mode, focusing on issues of architecture and cities through modes of research and design across various digital media and platforms. In order to promote a common studio culture between students who are remote and those who are not, to avoid any loss of work due to future shifts to all remote work, to keep materials costs low, we plan to utilize exclusively digital methods of research, design and presentation, including but not limited to: research using GIS and other similar data, conducting interviews or live streaming walking tours, rendering and animation, or other audio/video techniques.
We understand collaborative work to be fundamental to the discipline of architecture and also to be instrumental in fostering a sense of community within a hybrid studio course. Our intention is for students to work in pairs throughout the semester to build camaraderie and conversation into each assignment. In addition, we aim to structure a higher level of discourse within a smaller grouping of these pairs: a ‘cohort within the cohort’. These smaller cohorts will work together more intensely across assignments and will help to facilitate camaraderie, strengthen research interests, and build skills in a more effective way. A common digital space where all students can continually and actively ‘pin up’ work will also strengthen our collective knowledge base, and facilitate conversation across small cohorts and studio sections. General topics of research will be shared and discussed across both sections of the course at specific moments during the semester, although methods and approaches to research may vary, allowing all course participants to learn from one another as well.
In person meetings may take place sporadically for discussion or informal small group meetings, as necessary. We will utilize outdoor space if meeting in larger groups (weather permitting) or in very well-ventilated spaces for small group or individual meetings, as participants and instructors are comfortable. However, the course will function at its highest level within the digital space, and no student who is unable or uncomfortable meeting in person will miss the primary content of this course. To facilitate evenness and engagement across all participants of the course regardless of time zone or ability to work in studio, all reviews, lectures, workshops and tutorials will occur remotely and be recorded for asynchronous viewing. We plan to also experiment with live streaming and more public forms of online engagement at specific moments of pause and reflection within the course.
In addition to the asynchronous elements listed above, office hours will be offered by appointment to accommodate students in time zones not conducive to typical studio course hours.
Drawings is a digitally driven remote seminar. Our course meets weekly online (Tuesdays), offering a speculative platform to interrogate the culture of drawing representation, methods, and visual curiosities; and builds upon and questions contemporary architectural visualization and best practices. Our course delivery is composed of asynchronous tutorials, and synchronous weekly Zoom discussions and pin-ups. We will center the course dialogue and feedback on our virtual gallery—a 24/7 RISD Architecture Miro board, where we will review, annotate, and exhibit weekly iterative Drawings. The Drawings Miro pin-up board will allow for simultaneous interactions between students, providing glimpses of each other’s work as it is being produced.
Drawings tutorials, lectures, and workshops will be recorded for asynchronous viewing. Students who are in time zones that make it difficult to attend the entire session will be offered the option to present at the beginning of class. If there is consensus and seminar-wide interest to start Drawings several hours earlier, it may be possible to shift the course time to better accommodate all. This is only possible if there are no course conflicts with the entire Drawings cohort
This course will maximize asynchronous delivery. We’ll use Perusall and Canvas for text-based discussions, collaborative reading, and collaborative writing.
The students and faculty will curate public-facing web content for borad engagement with other faculty and architects outside the course. Rather than reviews, we will host, record and edit interviews with guests. Many tutorials and lectures will be provided for students to watch and engage via web platform.
Despite the heavy asynchronous components if this course, there will be relatively short communal check-ins via Zoom. We'll hold these at a time most convenient for everyone or, if there is no commonly convenient time during course hours, we'll rotate when these sessions occur. Regardless, all Zoom's will be recorded and made available only to the students in the course.
Studio typically meets on Mondays and Thursdays, 1:10pm - 6:10pm EST. Students will have a designated desk at the BEB 3 or 6 days per week, where they can build models, sketch, pin up, read, research and leave materials as they develop their projects. Access to the model shop and printers by appointment. Zoom desk crits; small group projects; final reviews with guest critics. In person meetings: TBD -scheduled small group pinups; perhaps outdoor field trip to draw/ analyze spaces
Offer a section at a more convenient time (7 or 8am EST) for remote students in different time zone. Remote office hours tailored to fit student (time zone) needs.
Days of the week: Monday (5 hour Virtual) / Thursdays (5 hour In‐Person)
Studio work area with access to shop will be made available to all students. Each section is composed of no more than 12 students. The studio will meet on Monday's virtually (5 hours) and In‐person (5 hours) on Thursdays. Project assignment reviews, introduction of assignments and lectures will be conducted virtually to handle density. 1:1 Crits or 2‐3 max. small group crits will be conducted in both in‐person and in virtual format to handle. Meeting in person will be in open air spaces (weather permitting) and/or a room with an HVAC system that has the minimum MERV‐13 filter. We need to maintain a level of flexibility. Government regulations and public health risk conditions may change throughout the semester. Given that we should be proactive in preparing for a potential "second wave" of the coronavirus outbreak in late fall, in‐Person meetings will be replaced with virtual learning starting in December until the end of the academic year.
Instruction in this course will be entirely remote. A series of small 10” cube physical models and hand drafted drawings produced using equipment in the BEB will constitute the embodied component of the course. In order to document and share these physical outputs, students will be asked to produce very specific photographs and scans of their work.
Projection, the course’s topic, is central to this strategy of course delivery. Projection is a system of geometric description that underlies architectural representation. But indeed, projection also underlies representation as such, embedding projective logic in every mimetic representation of a spatial world on a flat plane. The logic of projection has diffused broadly into our culture, most acutely through the technological documentation and transmission of images. Projection is the central logic of video-based conferencing, transforming the world into a flat plane that appears on another screen in the space of a viewer. The projective space of the transmitter is doubly transformed within the projective space of the viewer. If either has a projected background, the affair is further complicated
All this to say that the remote aspect of our course is a learning opportunity. Students will use the projective logic built into their quotidien technology to create assignments that interact (indeed, that can ONLY be perceived) using the pinhole cameras looking out above their computer screens. The logic of this camera will be the basis for documenting and transmitting work in the course. We will also establish peer to peer collaboration between student projects that engages with projective representation.
Because instruction and submission of assignments is taking place remotely, the experience of this course can be comparable between students working remotely and those learning in the BEB. While we will ask all students to be present synchronously for group discussion and review, individual meetings between section instructors and students can be more flexible, depending on the needs of each section (for instance, “desk crits” may happen in two sessions- say 2-4pm for US students, 7-9pm for Students working in Asia). While students in the BEB can make models using laser cutting, we will ask Remote students to print cut files on card stock and to cut these using manual tools to create comparable models. This is the manner in which most of us worked prior to about 2005, and we believe it builds viable model making skills that will serve students in the future. At the scale of work in the studio, we do not believe manual model making will present an additional burden for remote students, and will allow for the same pedagogical experience in both groups. Remote students will require access to a home printer or a print/copy shop. If this is a problem for any student we will accommodate on a case by case basis. All models and drawings will be documented and reviewed using projective representation (cameras and scanners), so there will be no difference in review format between remote and in-person students.
The course is an introduction to analysis of elementary structures by mathematical and graphical methods with an emphasis on the historical development of structures and the context of contemporary design practice
The content of the course includes multiple modes: static slide style presentation of base information; interactive board presentation of quantitative material and problem solving; physical demonstrations of structural mechanics; controlled quizzes/exams for evaluation.
Static Presentations: Provided as pre-recorded video of slides with voice over each approximately 20 minutes long with the number provided per week varying. A separate PDF of the slides will also be provided to the students for reference.
Interactive Presentation: Will comprise the official meeting time for the class. This will include synchronous zoom with side by side screen share of reference PDF notes and blank graphpaper for live notation (simulate blackboard). This will be recorded with interactive questions from students. Documentation will include base notes in PDF, video capture of presentation with live notes by instructor and PDF of live notation.
Physical Demonstrations: It is intended that this material will include table-top models filmed to capture movement and structural performance.
Quizzes/Exams: Evaluation is intended to be remotely accessible through digital portal to be determined to allow for both equitable access and integrity of individual work for grading.
Note that the synchronous class time is important to allow for robust questions/interaction but that the multiple types of documentation for this time allows similar access when reviewed asynchronously.
The asynchronous material (static presentation and demonstrations) will be asynchronous for all.
As noted above, it is the intent of the course for quizzes /exams to be administered in a way to provide a fair basis of grades for all students whether in residence or remote.
The course lectures and labs will be delivered synchronously via Zoom, and recorded for later reference. Zoom sessions will typically be divided into a 75 minute lecture and a 75 minute lab; the lectures will cover the course concepts and the labs will be either an interactive activity or a software demonstration applying the key principles from the lectures. We will use Digication as the “home base” for accessing course resources, such as readings and assignments. There will be several individual assignments and a final exam.
Zoom lectures will be recorded for later viewing.
Fundamental to this course is the notion that architecture is more profound when the resolution of the detail reinforces and propels the design concept. Questions of language in this resolution are provoked by material properties, ecological conditions, and practical considerations. This course is structured to knit together the multidisciplinary elements of architectural production into a comprehensive whole, attempting to balance the exigencies of each of the major elements of a building's life. Coursework will include working in groups on a building research/analysis project followed by a comprehensive building systems design project. These two projects mirror each other – in the first we will extract and curate the technical performance of an existing building (in whole and in the detail) through drawings and models, and in the second we will work towards developing similar cohesion and representation for something new.
Instructors will deliver eight synchronous 60-minute lectures and/or software demonstrations during the semester via Zoom. A number of guest lectures will be invited to participate via Zoom. We will conduct separate group discussions following zoom lectures. We will use Canvas as a “home base” for accessing course resources, such as readings, assignments, and teamwork presentations. Coursework will include working in groups of 3 or 4 on a building research/analysis project followed by a comprehensive building systems design project. There will be several group assignments and a mid and final review via Zoom.
Lectures will be recorded and made available for later viewing. We will accommodate team schedules for those students not on campus.
#NewTowns #WoodApartments #RegionalPlans #WrapperBuildings #Megalopolis #HousingJustice
We believe that a design studio should foster a culture of communication, collective learning, and critical discourse. Instructors will facilitate the majority of studio activities online, including lectures, group discussions, “pin-ups,” “desk-crits,” and reviews. We will make zoom recordings and other recorded lectures available as needed. If local authorities and public health experts assess that COVID risk levels subside during the semester, students on campus and instructors will discuss the possibility of in-person meetings.
We will structure course exercises and assignments to accommodate both remote and on-campus students equally. This studio will not privilege or presuppose a modality of making and learning. Students on campus will have choice and availability to use in-person facilities, tools, and equipment. When collaborating in small groups, students will be able to choose to work together in person or remotely.
This section of Advanced Studio will involve “deep dives” with students into drawing, rendering, programming, physical simulations and then use that inquiry and new techniques toward critical and cultural ends. Computational inquiry overlaps with digital culture and is naturally conducive online engagement and web-based communication and publication. As a result, this course would have been “hybrid” in some sense even without the pandemic. 10-20 digital lectures and demos will be recorded for students to watch on their own at key moments in the course. Live streams will augment those videos in some situations where active student feedback will enhance inquiry and discussion. Some course communication will take place via asynchronous video, where faculty will communicate back and forth with students via recorded video. (Like the way Starship captains communicate with Starfleet Admirals over “subspace,” — there’s always room for a little Star Trek, right?) Perusall, a platform for collaborative reading, will likely be used to augment Canvas for reading discussions. Finally, there will be a public-facing online gallery of some kind. Some students will fabricate large drawings using vintage pen-plotters (that I will operate for students and deliver to their desks), others will use other material like markers, Tyvek, paint, and thread that will be augmented with digital media.
Occasionally viewing these drawings is not possible via digital means and in those circumstances, students will pin up in person and faculty and other students will take turns viewing as safety permits. Another possible in-person component will involve 4 or 5 sessions in which any working locally may leave work at their desk and a single student (we’ll rotate through) will “make the rounds” with me and be my “TA for the day” by helping me crit other students work and live streaming so all can participate. That student will convey the chat and be my intermediary with all the others who would be online. This is contingent on student interest and the percentage of students who are studying in person versus remotely.
Reviews will be online using Miro and Zoom.
Because of the heavy online component, there are but two issues for those in other time zones or those who are in EDT/EST but engaging remotely (the whole semester or temporarily). The first issue is large drawing. I will work individually with students to devise a way of adapting their home space that is healthy, strange, interesting and specific to their environment. Some might draw vertically or draw on Tyvek so it can be rolled up and stored, or even constructed outside. The second issue is time zone compatibility. I will communicate with all students after the rosters are finalized and will make a determination as to whether an occasional morning time slot for studio will be beneficial to all, some or none of the students. No matter what, any group zoom meetings will be recorded for anyone who cannot participate live due to their location or for any other reason and, as already mentioned, any in-person components will be streamed and recorded.
Via Zoom Only
Studio time will begin at 9:00am to accommodate students in other time zones.
The idea of the plug n’ play studio serves to describe the Providence Small House by presenting a series of highly articulated elements grouped together inside a box. The parts would be able to be updated as technology moves forward, or as the occupant changes their needs. The construction sequence could be organized either to allow the larger elements to be installed and/or replaced by crane or smaller elements to be maneuvered by hand. As a result, all parts should be capable of being propped-up or clipped-in. The house consists of two major components, a living-pod and attached machines. Under the impact of computer aided manufacturing, the need for a permanent static container has disappeared. The house of the future is a container for appliances to be plugged into. Rejecting permanent components of the house and adding instead the notion of a customizable interior and exterior enclosure, could result in a more sustainable world – one based on a shared economy conditioned by varying rates of change and considered as its own ecosystem. This means that your prototypes shall respond to their climate and local ecology and take advantage of on-site resources in the environment by working with the environmental dynamics and material properties of the building. This approach minimizes dependence on off-site energy sources and the destructive impacts on the local ecology.
This course will incorporate a blend of both in-person and online forms of instruction and may include synchronous and asynchronous modalities, with the potential for different pathways through the course.
The advanced studio will be offered in a hybrid learning format that will respond to the need for a dedensified learning environment as well as the distinct opportunities that both in-person and online learning formats provide. The studio will be design-intensive, asking students to speculate on alternative architectures for new wood construction materials for 2020. The building site and program will be selected to construct a dialogue with the concurrent crises that we now face, ensuring an intense, and highly relevant, studio discourse. The goal, as always, will be to propose radical aesthetic, constructive, and socially relevant buildings for the immediate future
Students will work in pairs in order to increase sociability amidst de-densification; improve studio discourse; increase productivity; and minimize zoom fatigue. Group activities, including pinups, reviews, lectures, etc, will generally be conducted remotely.The intention will be to conduct individual critique in-person on a regular basis as pandemic risk levels allow, as experimentation and exploration via physical model making will continue to be a significant part of the course.
To accommodate students attending class remotely, a zoom session will be running for every class whether in-person or not. Individual critiques will be made open via this session for any studio member who would like to sit in. Depending on the time zones and schedules of the remote students, additional class hours may be provided to better accommodate their location.
Zoom recordings can be made available for students in distant time zones if they are unable to attend in person. In addition, we will make use of Google Slides, Miro, and other technologies that proved highly effective for remote studio teaching last Spring
Students will be paired to allow them to best collaborate – this will be done in consultation with the students in order to provide the highest level of equity and access to resources in the face of different learning environments, and ultimately to allow students the chance to participate in the design of the pedagogy.
We will also record a model photography workshop (similar to previous years) at the beginning of the semester to give students skills to represent their work well in a digital format. A stop motion animation workshop may be provided as well if there is interest among the students.
The assumption of this studio is that we do not have all the answers but set out to find guidance within the work that is made which allows one to move forward with intention. The studio will begin through immersive material studies that will be mined for direction and clarity in developing architecture. If students are local, We would prefer that they have a home desk in a location with others in the studio. We may visit the studios to see the work in an accelerated pin-up, but discussions will take place via zoom conferencing. At the turning point from material studies to design, (about halfway), all studio meetings will operate remotely using digital means of representation and digital conferencing. The design brief will have definitive limits that lend itself to a thorough set of drawings and 3d modelling. There may be one site visit on foot.
Students can discuss their individual work at any time during the class window. A slack email could be carried for topical discussion and posting of work which corresponds with each individual’s time zone.
Thesis seminar will be delivered as a hybrid course. All thesis students taking a fall studio will be given a home space in the BEB for the fall. During Winter Session, when all other students are required to be remote, thesis students who are available will be assigned a desk. Throughout, all students will have remote access to the shop and computer + plotter facilities. (We will reassess access for the Spring semester during the academic year.) The seminar will include asynchronous lecture content and synchronous cohort and small group meetings in which student work will be shared and discussed. Additionally, in-person meetings might include walking tours, small group in-person meetings, and socially distanced pin-ups and reviews. The shared deliverables across the thesis sections will include the following: 1.) A syllabus for the spring work, 2.) A three-to-five-minute pecha kucha sharing progress with all thesis and directed research students and faculty – this will include primary and secondary advisors and the faculty teaching Thesis Discursive Workshop, 3.) Instead of the probe (which has connotations of in-person making and exhibiting), either a curated Miro gallery for each individual student, or a curated Cargo website for thesis and DR cohorts.
Since students select this course by lottery, it is difficult to predict the geographical and time zone distribution of students in each cohort. The faculty will make every effort to accommodate remote students, but these plans will be announced closer to the start of the semester.
This seminar will meet 75% online (8 classes) and 25% in person (4 classes). In-person meetings are scheduled roughly one per month: September, October, November, and December. Online seminars will focus on presentations (content/quality/formatting) and general theoretical discussions about the direction of the work. In person reviews will focus on models, pin ups of large drawings, and smaller group discussions (2-3 students at a time). The course will be delivered through regularly scheduled weekly meetings; all work will be submitted and discussed during these meetings.
As this group focuses on regional building practices, it is expected that some students may be working remotely in order to access the area of their study for research purposes. Students working remotely are not expected to attend in-person, though are expected to join via Zoom at the scheduled time. This ensures that each student receives the same level of feedback and are held to the same standard. Students are expected to attend online seminars on a regular schedule in order to maintain consistency with the group. This schedule is flexible in two ways: first, with the overall meeting time (e.g. 8-11 am, 9-12 pm, or another 3-hour block), and second with presentation order (e.g. if you are meeting during your night, you may present first). Presentation orders and meeting times are scheduled in advance through a shared Google document with the group.
We plan on giving most of the “Drawing From Life for Architects” classes outdoors, in public spaces (mall, museum, etc.) or other large spaces that are available. The way we see this course, is that instead of reading and writing we will be observing and drawing. We will ask each student to devise a mobile sketching apparatus which enables them to draw on the move, in various weather conditions, while sitting, standing and or walking. As the location for our classes will be somewhat weather dependent, each class will begin with a quick check in to confirm the meeting place for that day’s class.
These field drawing sessions will be alternated with zoom pin-ups to discuss the drawing. In the past classes, as the students are drawing, The instructor usually speaks about a subject that the work brings up or that is in the air or news, etc. It ends up feeding the discussion when we look at the work. In the classes that we have given outside of the classroom, the students are so spread out, the instructor has trouble communicating to them as a group in the same way. Therefore, in this fall’s iteration, we will participate in the drawing activity and hopefully initiate a way of discussing ideas via headsets. Home assignments consist of a weekly 3 hour continual pursuit through drawing of a subject/object which can be observed over the semester in their home, chosen location or studio space. The subject/object is each student’s choosing with an emphasis of the change that is brought to the process over the course of the semester. Authorship or the emergent focus of each student’s (process of) drawing is the objective of the home assignment.
Improvisation will be stressed as an intelligence we will draw upon. This iteration of “Drawing From Life For Architects” will require greater agility in adjusting to the situation that presents itself. The point of the class is to draw from life as a way of life. We hope that drawing as a practice will become natural because of the agility developed as a result of this year’s structure.
We don’t think this class works well remotely; however, if necessary, the “homework” could be expanded upon and the “walking” assignments could be adopted to each individual’s location.
Via Zoom Only
Seminar time will begin at 9:00am to accommodate students in other time zones.