Advanced Architectural Design Program Requirements


Course Sequence Summer Term Fall Term Spring Term
Studio Design Studio I, 9pts. Advanced Studio V, 9pts. Advanced Studio VI, 9pts.
History/Theory Metropolis, 3pts. History/Theory Elective, 3pts. History/Theory Elective, 3pts.
Other Required Arguments, 3pts. GSAPP Elective (History/Theory, Visual Studies, or Tech Elective), 3pts. GSAPP Elective (History/Theory, Visual Studies, or Tech Elective), 3pts.
Optional Optional Design Seminars, 3pts.
Total 15-18pts. 15pts. 15pts.

The program is viewed as a framework in which both academic and professional concerns are explored. A set of required studios and courses is enhanced by limited and open electives that are shared with other programs in the School and that promote intellectual cross-fertilization among disciplines.

A required lecture course on the twentieth-century city and contemporary theory, exclusive to the program, provides grounding for architectural exploration in the studio. “Limited electives’’ are those School offerings designated as appropriate by the director. “Open electives’’ are graduate-level courses of the student’s choice. Fall and spring studios are shared with final-year Master of Architecture students. In order to encourage the practical and conceptual integration of the computer in design work, AAD studios will take full advantage of the School’s computer facilities.

The M.S. degree in Architecture and Advanced Architectural Design requires 45 points in the following curriculum:
Summer Semester:
Design Studio I, 9 pts
Metropolis, 3 pts
Arguments, 3 pts
Optional Design Seminars, 3 pts

Fall Semester:
Design studio II, 9 pts
History/Theory Elective, 3 pts
GSAPP Elective (History/Theory or Visual Studies Elective), 3 pts

Spring Semester:
Design studio III, 9 pts
History/Theory Elective 3 pts
GSAPP Elective (History/Theory or Visual Studies Elective), 3 pts

Note: A minimum of 12 points must be taken each semester. Students are strongly advised to take one additional 3 or 4 point elective during each term. No extra tuition is charged between 15 and 19 points. Courses may be dropped until the tenth week into the semester for fall and spring terms. Summer courses may be dropped until two-thirds of the class meetings have been held.

Advanced Design Studio

Enrique Walker
Director, AAD Program

The Advanced Studios are intended to build upon the ideas and skills developed in the Core Studios, working as laboratories of discussion and exploration of new ways of reading architectural ingredients, concepts, programs, and methods of design and thought. Nearly 20 studios work on the themes and programs defined by their individual critics in the limits of the discipline trying to find new instruments, formats, and approaches to everyday topics. Themes and programs both carry an educational objective and present an opportunity for the critic to develop with his or her students a specific area of work or research. That means that an experimental attitude founds our environment while the coexistence of different ways of thinking stimulates dialogue and positive discussions where the students learn to build, defend, and rectify their arguments in a dialectical practice that is as important as drawing, making a model, or inventing a digital resource. In contradistinction to the Core Studios, the Advanced Studios are open to M. Arch students as well as to second professional degree students.

Studio culture makes up in itself an extraordinary accumulation of essays and research on both conceptual and disciplinary fields that can be considered a real section of the present. We are all aware of this wealth and appreciate the special energy stored in this “white noise” that involves so many instructors, TA’s and students working together. Every week, the Transfer Dialogues series try to make visible such intensity and make it available to the academic community of the school, allowing students to access what is going on other GSAPP Advanced Studios while getting helpful panoramic information. The intention is to open a new space for architecture and its parallel disciplines in the social, political, intellectual and economic arena with a critical position focused in the construction of the future.


This course examines the production of architectural knowledge through the lens of current intellectual projects in the field. Organized around a series of case studies, and focusing particularly on spaces outside the realm of building — from exhibitions to installations, from journals to books, from research projects to educational projects—this course has as a main goal to interrogate ongoing projects for these spaces, and in turn to examine different positions within the discipline. In brief, the course scrutinizes the formulation of agendas and projects — that is, arguments — and the way in which they take part in the advancement of architecture. The most recent installment of the course takes on four spaces of architectural production (books, collective exhibitions, individual exhibitions, and journals), and devotes two sessions to each. Each session is divided into two parts: the first, conducted as a seminar, and supported by selected readings — with the course instructors operating individually — examines a specific space of architectural production. The second, conducted as a guest lecture, and followed by an open debate — with the course instructors operating as a team — interrogates a project for that space. The ultimate aim is to engage current debates within the field.


The modern metropolis—cauldron of social transformation, technological innovation, and aesthetic experimentation—is inseparable from the equally modern notion of an international avant-garde. However, in the course of their myriad encounters through the twentieth century, both categories—the metropolis and the avant-gardes—have become virtually unrecognizable. In their place have emerged new configurations, new challenges, and new possibilities. This course examines arguments and design theories formulated for—and through—the city after metropolis. This is the global city, the financial capital of advanced capitalism. But it is also the city after the city—the result of massive urbanizations stemming from regional and global migrations, as well as massive dispersals that trace back to the decades immediately following the Second World War. The course will scrutinize in detail architectural objects and the debates surrounding them, positioning these objects within the cities they imagine. In each case, we will trace multiple, genealogical affiliations—the alliances it forges, the subjects it conjures, the pasts it constructs, the futures it projects, the others it excludes—and find a decisive realignment of the ways in which architecture and urbanism operate, as well as multiple opportunities to re-imagine the city—architecture’s recurring dream—yet again today.

History and Theory

Reinhold Martin
Director, History and Theory

The History and Theory curriculum stresses a broad social and cultural approach to architectural history, with particular attention to emerging global concerns. Architectural history is seen in terms of a rich matrix of parameters—political, economic, artistic, technological, and discursive—that have had a role in shaping the discipline. Most instructors of architectural history and theory at GSAPP have both professional and academic degrees. A shared intention is to cultivate relations between practice, historical knowledge, and theoretical debates.

The course offerings are structured to provide each student with an opportunity to gain both a broad general background in architectural history and a degree of specialized knowledge in areas of his or her selection. The two-semester core inaugurates a sequence in which students may then choose from among the many history and theory classes offered within the School. Students may also take courses in other departments of the University, such as art history, history, philosophy, or elsewhere in the humanities, providing they meet basic distribution requirements.

Visual Studies

Laura Kurgan
Director, Visual Studies

Joshua Uhl
Program Coordinator, Visual Studies

Today, what can be defined as visual in design has multiplied exponentially, especially by way of computation, and demanded that we rethink our pedagogy, projects, and practices. This diversity of the visual and its tendency toward impermanence has not lessened its potential to communicate an extraordinary vision. Through a careful survey of drawing’s new temporal nature, students discover methods to harness drawing’s new potentials. The Visual Studies sequence at the GSAPP offers a wide range of tools and techniques designed to expose students to the potentials and limits of these same techniques and tools. The sequence is divided into three broad sets of workshops: analysis/representation, design environments, and fabrication. The variety of trajectories possible within the sequence of workshops promotes an individual approach to visualization and fosters invention.

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