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Spring 2018 - ARCH601: Topical Design Studio VI

ARCH601: Topical Design Studio VI

Time: MWF 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Location: TBA

Instructor: Madlen Simon

Credits: 6

Partner Institution: Al Nahrain University, Iraq
Restriction: Permission of ARCH-Architecture Program. 

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Course Description: Topical architectural design studio with concentration on advanced topical inquiry addressing but not limited to: architectural competitions, sustainable design, theoretical/conceptual issues, programmatic, contextual, and/or technical issues.


Restricted to ARCH, URPD or ARCP majors.

Award Year: 2017
Name of Faculty: Madlen Simon

Title and Affiliation: Associate Professor; Architecture Program

Title of Proposed Course: Bridging the Gap Studio: Collaborative Design Thinking Across Cultures
Partner Institution: Al Nahrain University, Iraq


The proposed course will be an urban design studio taught collaboratively by a US and an Iraqi professor of architecture. This will be a project-based learning environment in which US and Iraqi students will collaborate together to create design proposals for similar programs in each other's cities. We will begin with a research module, in which students investigate, document, analyze, and present a district in their own city to their counterparts abroad. Based upon information exchanged, students will embark upon urban design explorations in their counterparts' cities. The course will culminate in a pair of design proposals in the two cultures. Students will collaborate as a virtual team to foster the success of both projects, serving as information sources for one and information processors for the other. Projects will serve as vehicles for cultural exploration, as students propose settings for each other's daily lives. This experience mirrors work that students will encounter in globalized architectural practice, where projects are often executed in collaboration between US and local offices, with success dependent upon inter-cultural communication skills. This particular international collaboration, coming at a time of tremendous strain between US-Iraqi relations, has great potential to instill global understanding through person-to-person diplomacy.