Introduction to Architectural Design and Theory

Open to students entering grades 11 or 12 or freshman year of college in the fall
I - June 25–July 13, 2018
II - July 17–August 3, 2018
Days & Time:
Monday–Friday, 9:10 –11:00 a.m. and 1:10–3:00 p.m.
Virginia Black, Claudia Hernandez-Feiks, Marcelo López-Dinardi, Brendan Moran, Irina Schneid

Some experience in drawing and photography is recommended.

 “[I gained] so much knowledge about architecture and how it ties into many other subjects as well.” — Grace Chabbot

 “The projects definitely surprised me about this course. Our creativity really showed and the projects were so unique.” — Leslie Merchan

Course Description

An intensive introduction to the basic concepts of architectural design and theory.

During the morning seminar, students learn about the history of key ideas like abstraction, representation, program, plan, materials, and structure. Historical works of modern architecture are treated as case studies and illustrations. Students learn how to analyze a building visually and formally, as well as how to relate architecture to broader cultural and social contexts. Class discussions are supplemented with site visits to prominent works of modern architecture in New York City.

In the afternoon studio, students receive hands-on training in the fundamentals of design, including architectural drawing, model-making, and conceptual development. With one-on-one guidance from the instructor, students develop their own designs for a small-scale urban structure.

Please note that assignments for the studio portion of the course will require a substantial time commitment outside of the allotted class times.

Studio Expenses:
Students should budget approximately $200 for the cost of studio supplies. The supply list can be found by clicking here.


Virginia Black

Virginia Black is an architect, indigenous rights advocate, and visual ethnographer whose research is sited at the intersection of bodies, the environment, and memory. Her current work is situated between New York and Ecuador, where she collaborates with AMUPAKIN, an indigenous women's midwifery. She is a founding principal of feminist architecture collaborative and teaches at Interior Design at Pratt Institute and in the Department of Architecture and Technology at NYCCT. Virginia has worked for Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery and for a number of architecture design firms, including Maison Édouard François (Paris) and VolumeOne and AKOAKI (Detroit). Her work and writing has been published by Ed, FLACSO, and Harvard Design Magazine. She holds an M.S. in Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices in Architecture from Columbia University, an M.Arch from the University of Michigan, and a B.Arts in architecture and modern languages from Clemson University.

Claudia Hernandez-Feiks

Claudia Hernandez-Feiks is a registered architect in the state of New York. She currently teaches in both the Department of Architectural Technology at NYCCT and in the Department of Interior Design at Pratt Institute. She holds a Master of Science degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Architecture from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. For the past ten years Claudia has worked in several design-oriented architecture firms in San Francisco and New York. Her work has focused on residential, institutional, and commercial project types. In independent practice, she is presently collaborating with a AH Design, a California-based automotive research, development, and design firm. Their research focuses on the use and adaptation of automotive fabrication technology and materials for architectural and interior design applications.

Marcelo López-Dinardi

Marcelo López-Dinardi is a researcher and educator based in New York City; he works at the intersection of architecture and political economy. Marcelo is a partner at A(n) Office, based in New York and Detroit; an adjunct assistant professor at Barnard College and the New Jersey Institute of Technology; and a lecturer at Penn Design at the University of Pennsylvania. He was selected to represent the United States Pavilion in the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale and more recently selected as a fellow for Ideas City Athens, an event organized by New York City’s New Museum and the Neon Foundation in Athens. He has written for Avery Review, The Architect’s Newspaper, Entorno, Domus, Planning Perspectives, CCGSAPP, the Buell Center, and Art Forum China, and has lectured at Cooper Union, Princeton University, RISD, and various other institutions. Marcelo holds a B.Arch. from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico and an M.S. in Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices of architecture from the GSAPP at Columbia University.  

Brendan Moran

Brendan Moran holds a Ph.D. in architecture history and theory from Harvard University and a Masters of Environmental Design from Yale University. He has taught courses in design and architectural history/theory at Yale University, Columbia University, NJIT, and Syracuse University. Brendan is co-founder of AD-Hoc, a design think tank. He has worked for various architecture firms in New York City and elsewhere, including Leeser Architecture, Spivak Architects, The Rockwell Group, Bone/Levine Architects, and Peter L. Gluck and Partners.

Irina Schneid

Irina Schneid, RA, NCARB, is an architect and educator. She is the founding principal of SCH+ARC studio, an interdisciplinary design lab immersed in the synthesis of conceptual discourse with emerging material practice. Primarily based out of New York City, Irina has lectured and taught internationally. Currently teaching undergraduate design courses at Pratt Institute, she has previously taught at Barnard College, Columbia, the Tyler School of Art at Temple University, and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia. Irina received her B.Arch and M.Arch II at Cornell University. She is licensed in New York State and NCARB certified. 

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Specific course detail such as hours and instructors are subject to change at the discretion of the University. Not all instructors listed for a course teach all sections of that course.