Course Descriptions

The list below is not a complete index of all courses offered by the School of Architecture Please see the 2017-2018 Portland State University Bulletin for a list and description of current courses. In addition, you may elect to use the PSU Course Planning Guide to help plan your coursework.

Courses marked with an asterisk (*) are not offered every year.

Arch 100 Introduction to Architecture (4)
A course designed to introduce concepts, theories, and practices of the discipline of architecture. Includes the study of perceptual, environmental and historical concepts through lectures and individual projects in observing and making architectural space. Open to non-majors.

Arch 101 Introduction to Environmental Design (4)
Concepts and theories of the field of environmental and sustainable design. Includes a study of perceptual, technical, and philosophical concepts of natural and built resources through lectures, design projects, and individual projects. Open to non-majors.

Arch 120 Visual Communications 1 (4)
An introduction to freehand drawing focused on the delineation of interior and exterior space, starting with drawing from observation to speculative drawings, including the study of light conditions. Open to non-majors.

Arch 121 Visual Communications 2 (4)
Development of skills in graphic visualization, representation and communication as used in architecture and related design fields. Concepts and conventions, from freehand to digital media and production, used as a means to imagine, develop and represent design ideas. Prerequisite: Arch 120.

Arch 199 Special Studies
Credit to be arranged. 

Arch 225 Digital Graphics (4)
A beginning computer graphics course that has at its core the idea to probe, to experiment, and to investigate the computer's 3-D modeling capability as a tool for rigorous design investigations. Prerequisite: Arch 121.

Arch 230, 231, 232 Architecture and Cultural History I, II, III (4, 4, 4)
A series of courses tracing the history of Western culture through its architecture from the early Paleolithic Age to the 20th century. Must be taken in sequence.

Arch 280, 281 Design Fundamentals Studio 1, 2 (6, 6)
Foundational design studio sequence initiating awareness in the creative language of architecture through practical assignments in drawing, modeling, and artful making.  Prerequisite: Arch 100, 101, 121.

Arch 360, 361, 362  Building Tectonics 1, 2, 3 (4, 4, 4)
A three-course sequence introducing technologies involved in the design and construction of buildings: materials and methods, mechanical systems, and environmental building systems. Must be taken in sequence. Prerequisite: Arch 281.

Arch 367U Fundamentals of Environmental Design (4)
Concepts of climate and its relationship to personal comfort. Approaches and concepts range from urban design to individual buildings in order to minimize use of mechanical systems. Prerequisite: Junior year standing. Not open to Architecture majors.

Arch 380, 381, 382 Architectural Design Studio 1, 2, 3 (6, 6, 6)
Studio investigations of fundamental design concepts, issues, and processes. Projects and exercises focus on the concepts of making three-dimensional forms—organization, proportion, scale, human activities, and site/building design relationships. Courses must be taken in sequence. Prerequisites: Arch 100, 120, 121, 230, 231, 232, 280, 281, and placement in Professional Track.

Arch 384 Architectural Design Focus Studio I (3) *
Studio investigations of architectural designs based on supporting human activities, structure and theory. Includes individual criticism, lectures and seminars. Prerequisite: Arch 380.

Arch 385 Architectural Design Focus Studio II (3) *
Studio investigations of architectural designs based on supporting human activities, structure and theory. Includes individual criticism, lectures and seminars. Prerequisite: Arch 380.

Arch 407/507 Selected Topics
Other Intermittent offerings focusing on architecture and design issues as determined by faculty and students. Credit to be arranged.

Arch 410/510 Selected Topics
Intermittent offerings focusing on architecture and design issues as determined by faculty and students. Credit to be arranged.

Arch 423/523 Advanced Architectural Graphics and Media (4)
Studio assignments engaging a full range of exploratory drawings and models to explore spatial representation.

Arch 421 Urban Design Methods (4)
Introduction to analytical and synthetic research methodologies inherent in the design of natural, architectural and urban contexts essential to contemporary urban design practice. 

Arch 425/525, 426/526 Architectural Computer Graphics 1, 2 (4, 4)
Introduction to computer-assisted design. Courses focus on software as used in the architectural field. Arch 425 introduces methods for constructing 2-D drawings; Arch 426 introduces methods for visualizing 3-D architectural spaces and forms. Courses must be taken in sequence. Prerequisite: Arch 281.

Arch 430/530 Architectural Theory (4)
Seminar course investigating architectural theory and critical thought by examination of key texts and contemporary architectural works.

Arch 431/531 Studies in Contemporary Urban Design (4)
Seminar course investigating the relationships between the making of individual works of architecture and the making of cities.

Arch 432/532 History & Theory of Urban Design (3)
Introduction to the development of historical and contemporary urban design with parallel developments in architecture and urban planning.

Arch 433/533 Contemporary Issues Seminar (4)
In-depth exploration of selected topics that explore contemporary issues informing the discipline of architecture. Whether cultural, social, political, economic, aesthetic, environmental or other, contemporary issues and voices contribute to the dynamic and evolving production, construction and inhabitation of architecture. Topics may include: visual art, literature, aesthetics, ethics, philosophy, politics, culture(s), and technology. 

Arch 434/534 Topics in Architectural History and Theory (4)
Seminar on selected topics focusing on the history and theory of architecture. Consists of discussions, presentations, lectures, and readings on relevant topics as they have historically emerged within the discipline of architecture. May focus on specific historical periods and/or may include philosophy of architecture, architectural representation, architecture and the city. Course may be repeated for credit with different topics. 

Arch 460/560 Advanced Architectural Technology (4) 
A lecture and seminar course providing exploration of current advanced building technology and form generative reponses to current sustainability issues. Prerequisite: ARCH 362.

Arch 462/562 Advanced Architectural Materials (4)
Seminar building on basic properties of architectural materials learned in ARCH 360. A research-based course looking at creative use and reuse of materials for construction emphasizing sustainable solutions. Includes case study investigations of contemporary innovative material usage and student-designed building component. Prerequisites: Arch 362 or graduate standing.

Arch 467/567 Advanced Architectural Structures (4)
A workshop and seminar based course addressing the design and construction of large-scale structural systems. Prerequisite: ARCH 362. Required for students applying for the 2-year Master of Architecture at PSU.

Arch 480, 481, 482 Architectural Design Studio 4, 5, 6 (6, 6, 6)
Advanced level investigations of architectural design based on supporting human activities, structure, and theory. Includes individual criticism, lectures, and seminar discussions. Courses must be taken in sequence. Prerequisites: Arch 382.