48_305/640 | Advanced Construction Studio | S19


Last Updated on 2018.12.28 by Slee

The basis for the Advanced Construction Studio is the expectation that the student retains and applies knowledge gained each semester to current assignments in the studio. The Advanced Construction Studio at Carnegie Mellon University is concerned with the detailed development and refinement of architectural design as informed by the integration of structural, enclosure, environmental, and material systems and the process of construction. The student is expected to comprehensively articulate concepts and develop designs with more precision and in greater detail than done in previous studios and courses.

...quoting Eduard Sekler, "The tectonic is a certain expressivity arising from the statical resistance of constructional form in such a way that the resultant form could not be accounted for in terms of structure and construction alone." ...quoting Robert Pirsig, "The way to solve the conflict between human values and technological needs is not to run away from technology. That's impossible. The way to resolve the conflict is to break down the barriers of dualistic thought that prevent a real understanding of what technology is--not an exploitation of nature, but a fusion of nature and the human spirit into a new kind of creation that transcends both."

To enable students in this studio to achieve the ambitious learning objectives, the model of a studio coordinator, a studio consultant, individual studio instructors and a concurrent lecture/workshop series has been implemented. The studio coordinator and consultant assist the students with the application and synthesis of the knowledge from pre-requisite studios and technology courses through pin-ups and board crits. They will be available for design reviews on a weekly basis. The program for the semester-long project will be the same for all students to encourage dialogue and to maximize learning opportunities from observing multiple approaches to design. The sites for the design proposals will be different for each studio to increase the number of contexts to which the students are familiar and to learn the influence of context on design decision making.

The work in this studio also includes a class wide sketch problem. The sketch problem is designed to have you rapidly consider all of the issues to be covered by the studio, to learn to interpret solutions from analysis of source material and to learn to generate - represent - evaluate - design alternatives.

The following criteria will be used to evaluate student work in this studio:

Learning Objectives

As a result of this course, a student should be able to:

As a part of the SoA curriculum structure, this studio contributes to satisfying the criteria for NAAB Realm C: Integrated Architectural Solutions. Graduates from NAAB-accredited programs must be able to demonstrate that they have the ability to synthesize a wide range of variables into an integrated design solution.

Student learning aspirations for this realm include:

The Specific Student Performance Criteria are:

Reading & Reference

The books are here:

The research guide is here:

Courses Policies

Studio Schedule for 2019

This studio will meet in MMCH 312 on Monday and Friday of every week from 12:30 - 4:20pm. This four hour chunk of time is to encourage good working and learning habits. Arriving at or 12:45 or 1:00pm and leaving by 4:00pm is contrary to the development of effective work habits. Given the short time between studio and REDD and/or E&P, you should pack a lunch to bring to studio. Pin-ups and board crits will be interspersed as determined by your instructor(s). We will meet in MMCH 103 and MMCH 312 on Wednesdays at 1:30pm for lectures delivered by the faculty followed by scheduled workshops. When workshops are not on the schedule, the coordinator will be available Wednesdays from 3:00 - 4:20pm for optional pin-ups and board crits. Periodically, this time will be scheduled for presentations from the co-requisite Real Estate and Practice & Ethics courses.

Attendance & Deadlines

This studio will follow a rigorous attendance policy. Students must be in studio working on studio projects every scheduled studio day. This means at one's desk or crit spaces, not in the CFA Visualization Cluster, not in dFAB, not in Hunt Library Cluster, etc. New work must be developed for each studio session. We follow a simple policy: No Work - No Crit.

In no case can a student expect to receive a passing grade without regular attendance and participation in class. Simply submitting projects, regardless of quality, at mid-semester or at the end of the semester will not allow a student to receive a passing grade.

You must meet each established deadline during the semester. Failure to do so means you will not be able to pin-up for reviews and will result in a reduction in your studio grade.The coordinator, in consultation with the studio instructor, will not permit a student to pin-up for major reviews and will lower the final grade of any student with excessive, unexcused absences.


Students must notify faculty in advance of planned absence for religious holiday or school-related event (i.e. varsity sports trip). If you have an unplanned absence for medical or personal reasons, let the faculty know of your situation as soon as possible. In case of an extended absence for medical or personal reasons, contact Erica Oman, SoA Academic Advisor, by mail, e-mail or phone, who will notify the appropriate faculty. Faculty reserve the right to request a formal document verifying a medical excuse.


Your studio instructor is responsible for developing the weighting of assignments and participation as it relates to your final grade in your individual studio. The grade from the coordinator and the consultant will be factored into your final grade.

Given the significance of this studio on meeting NAAB criteria, the SoA stipulates that, "The 48-305 Architecture Design Studio: Integration II (Advanced Construction) must be passed with a C or better to enter the Advanced Synthesis Options Studio (ASOS) sequence."

Grading Standards:

A: Superlative or exemplary work, initiative beyond the description of the problem. Significant understanding of the problem. Conceptual clarity. An attitude of self-motivated exploration, open-mindedness, and a willingness to benefit from criticism.

B: Very good, some exemplary work, a thorough understanding of the problem. Project displays conceptual foundation, well crafted. Competence and mastery of skills. Open, inquisitive attitude.

C: Satisfactory or adequate work that meets the minimum requirements of the problem and course. Shows understanding of the problem, with some deficiencies. Reasonable mastery of skill and concepts. This grade is seen to represent the average solution.

D: Passing, work that is complete, but does not show an understanding of the problem or expectations, and demonstrates deficient skills. Work often attended with belligerent or closed-minded attitude with respect to criticism and self-motivation. Although technically passing, this work is unacceptable in a professional program and can lead to being dropped from the B.Arch program.

R: Failing work that does not meet the requirements of the studio, shows a serious deficiency in skills or is incomplete. Raises questions with respect to the future success within the program.

Cheating and Plagiarism

Carnegie Mellon has established a well-defined policy on this subject and it will govern this studio. The full policy is here:


The studio spaces are the heart of the physical environment of the School. The maintenance of the studio is the responsibility of the students. The studio is home to both your colleagues and your faculty. The configuration is a design problem that must serve many needs from individual expression to group meetings and communication.

Students are responsible for cleaning up the studio, both your personal space as well as the common spaces at the end of the semester. The costs to the School of additional cleaning in the studios at the end of the semester, or the costs of repair of damage to the studio beyond regular wear and tear will be evenly divided between the students in the studio. The cost will be directly charged to each student account.

Special Needs

Students with any documented medical, psychological, or learning conditions that require special classroom accommodations should obtain a letter of accomodation for this studio from the Office of Disability Resources. Please submit copies of the letter to the coordinator and your individual studio instructor as soon as possible, so that we may make the appropriate arrangements. In the event of any emergency or other special situations, please contact the coordinator as soon as possible so we can make arrangements with respect to studio, or see Erica Oman in the main office (412-268-1345;

Spring 2019 Studio Sections

Coordinator | Stephen R. Lee

Digital Workflow Consultant | Omer Karaguzel

Section A | Akhil Badjatia

Section B | Erica Cochran

Section C | Stefani Danes

Section D | Lori Fitzgerald

Section E | Matt Huber

Section M | Jeff Davis

Studio Projects

The Semester Long Design Studio Project

The project description is here:

The Annual Epic Metals Steel Deck Competition

The Epic competition brief is here: