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Program Overview


The overarching objective of the BDA Major is to expose students to a broadly based approach to the design process as it relates to architecture, but not necessarily tied to traditional building scale or building systems. This academic program is in response to the evolving role of architects as design professionals who require new types of expertise:

· synthesizing knowledge gained from analytic studies

· incorporating data from various other disciplines

· generating knowledge specific to an architectural issue, question or project.


While there is a growing interest in architecture as a discipline, there is also an emergence of two types of students. The first and most traditional student is one who wants to become an architect. The second is the student who is keenly interested in design, design thinking, and creative arts, but whose interest tends to bridge architecture with another design discipline (architecture and digital fabrication/ film/ furniture design/ graphic design/ etc.) or as an area of focus marginal to or within architecture (public service, disaster relief, fabric structures, portable structures, prefabrication). The excitement that follows these less traditional applications of architectural thought has fueled the development of a unique degree program in the School of Architecture (the Bachelor of Design in Architecture or BDA). The design workshops are the backbone of that program.


The BDA Workshops are organized to develop an essential, experimental, collaborative, and critical discourse within the School of Architecture.  Workshops encourage students and faculty to step outside the rigors of the very precise discipline of architecture in order to research specific issues, test professional boundaries, and experiment with emerging practices. Future design professionals must be prepared to collaborate through networks, possibly global, to bring sufficient knowledge to bear on these important issues. They must be able to critically assess the viability of that knowledge and to be able to employ that knowledge. The Design Workshops provide hands-on introduction to the processes, conditions, and principles of design as it relates to these issues that permeate the field of architecture.

· Workshops will be generally offered to cover all areas of the School of Architecture curriculum, especially those preparing students for graduate programs: Architectural Design Processes and Theory, Material and Methods of Construction, Heritage Conservation and Preservation, Sustainable Design, Metropolitan Design, and Digital Design and Fabrication Processes.

· Workshops are based in the studio model but are more flexible in both content and curricular structure than a traditional building-focused class.

· Workshops have more flexibility than the traditional pre-professional studio in many ways. They are offered at different times of the week to allow for greater opportunities to explore elective courses from the College of Design as well as the greater University. Students also have more opportunities to pair Workshops with elective classes to develop their own focus.

· All workshops involve hands-on projects involving an iterative design process. Students are required to develop a rigorous way of thinking and inventive graphic means of communicating their explorations.

Community and Studio Space

Workshops share studio space encouraging a community of diversity. The accidental meetings, observations of other workshops and connections made through the intersections of class topics holds the potential of an extraordinarily creative environment.

The designated space for the BDA Design Workshop is in 251 Rapson Hall. This is a community space that requires students to share pin-up space, workspace and storage. 

· Access to the studio space outside class periods is available to all BDA students and is highly encouraged.  

· A central work space is provided for all cutting and messy work. Desks in the main studio space are shared. Please take good care of the drawing surfaces and Maylines. They need to serve students for many years to come. 

· At the end of each session, your desk and work space must be cleared for the next group or for the next student. However, there are working surfaces and storage in the center space that allow students to work in the studio while other workshops are in session. 

At the end of each semester, all projects must be removed from the space immediately. All else will be discarded.