Texas Tech University

Contemporary Issues in Architecture

Arch 3314 · 3 Semester Credit Hours

Contemporary issues in architectural theory and history utilizing precedents from early 20th century to present. May be repeated for credit.


Arch 3314 · Online

Instructor: José Aragüez

How is discourse different from a discourse, i.e. the discourse of a particular architect or architecture practice? How is a discourse to be articulated in architectural thinking as a domain of knowledge that singles itself out from others through a series of distinct specificities? How is research a necessary exercise to be able to construct a discourse and yet fundamentally different from it? How can a piece of research lead to a thesis—versus merely contributing information—and how can this thesis become the seed for a discourse? What is the distinction between a discourse and a design agenda? What is a design argument in architecture, as opposed to a series of design decisions or strategies that do not amount to one? How do design arguments feed the production of a discourse and/or a design agenda? Why would we bother to construct a discourse around an architecture practice in the first place? Through these and related questions this seminar will investigate the rapport between discourse and research as two different yet intertwined categories in architectural thinking.


Enrollment in this seminar will require class participation, one in-class presentation, and one final short essay.


This seminar will be taught virtually and will meet on Tuesday. We will alternate between sessions involving group discussion, guest presenters, and student presentations.

WOMEN & ARCHITECTURE: then, now, next

Arch 3314 · Online

Instructor: Hendrika Buelinckx

This course explores issues relating to women and architecture. It traces female contributions to architecture in the past, assesses their status in the present, and strategizes on how to envision their role in the future. Topics for the readings, lectures, and discussions will be culled from a wide variety of sources—briefly reviewing the classical tradition, critically examining their contributions to the modern architecture of the twentieth century, scrutinizing their present status, and distilling conclusions for future action. This chronological—then, now, next—review of issues pertaining to women and/in architecture aims to provide students with a basic framework to assess contemporary and future architectural practices.

Reading and Writing Skills for Architects

Arch 3314 · Online

Instructor: Noémie Despland-Lichtert

Through weekly reading and discussion, this undergraduate seminar will introduce students to a diversity of types of writing in Architecture from news coverage to scholarly articles, but also manifestos, proposals, and fiction. Students can expect to gain significant skills in reading comprehension and writing skills for a diversity of audiences and purposes.

Ephemeral Architectures

Arch 3314 · Online

Instructor: Elisandra Garcia

Ideas, actions, works and projects on short term eternity. Every work of architecture, in a broad reading of time, is ephemeral. Faced with a classical idea of the aspiration of eternity, contemporary architecture assumes various registers of transitory temporality with interesting practical applications: the need for provisional interventions, the strategic reversibility in constructed realities, the exhibition project, or the current value of certain practices such as installations, scenenographies and performances. The course will also consider, together with the explanation of cases of study, metaphorical connections with the relative notion of time and some artistic implications, from the study of materiality, montage, set design or narration. The context of a Spring semester in Sevilla, a city with a rich tradition of temporal transformations in certain periods of the year, will help to understand some of the discourses and will provide a good understanding of cultural values. This elective course will try to encourage ideas and actions on cities and territories, and, in the end, on the relations between spirit and matter, potentiality and action, human beings and Earth, invoked in every practice and theory of art and architecture.

Plan is the Generator

Arch 3314 · Online

Instructor: Saif Haq

Regardless of what buildings look like, we experience them diachronically as we walk through them. This two-dimensional human experience is orchestrated by the design of the ‘plan'. It is also the most enduring. Once developed, approved, and constructed, it is relatively hard to change. Unfortunately, this essential element of architecture is often unappreciated in the design phase. Le Corbusier called this ‘the generator'.

This seminar is dedicated to exploring ‘plans'. Collectively we will investigate how plans orchestrate human experience and express architectural philosophy, how social logic is embedded in them, and how the visible three-dimensional form is built upon them.


Arch 3314 · Online

Instructor: Neal Lucas Hitch + Kristina Fisher

This seminar will explore hybrid digital/analog media as a means to document the imaginative potentials of space. Students will utilize traditional methods of city analysis, such as sketching and personal observation, and combine them with advanced digital techniques to map and document the past, present, and future of various sites in Lubbock. Students will explore the possibilities of pixel-based editing software as a means to mediate between physical and digital mediums while compiling a hybrid digital/analog “sketchbook” that will exist in both a physical and electronic format.

Environment and Behavior

Arch 3314 · Online

Instructor: Lisa Lim

This course is a critical lesson in understanding the impact of the built environment on human experience, health, and well-being. Students will learn their role as designers and the impact of their designs on users. This course will introduce various relationships between human behavior and built environment in multiple scales (from buildings to cities), and in multiple settings (from healthcare to workplace). Students will learn empirical and analytical approaches that they can use in design research and practice for understanding stakeholder roles, user needs and experiences, and for assessing and evaluating built environments.

Design Thinking

Arch 3314 · Online

Instructor: Robert Perl

Design Thinking addresses methods of design, ways of thinking, and means of design thinking through multiple experiences of reading, discussing, and writing. It positions design thinking within the discipline of architecture, explores the role of design within the profession of architecture, and considers the place of creativity in design processes. The course will make students more conscious of their current design, thinking, and communications skills and assist them in developing new abilities in these areas.

Bad Places: Viewpoints on Dystopian Worlds

Arch 3314 · Online

Instructor: Ben Shacklette

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Bad Places investigates the buildings and landscapes of present day dystopias as formidable examples of the current state of human crisis, and poignantly reminiscent of the social ills and human excesses foretold in the history of frictional dystopian works. What can be learned from “bad places”? What can be done to make them “good places”?

Design-Build Mobile Architecture: Land Arts Support Vehicle

Arch 3314 · Hybrid

Instructor: Chris Taylor

With a generous donation, the College of Architecture is acquiring the “Land Arts Support Vehicle,” an adaptable all-terrain backcountry truck that will be outfitted with mobile kitchen and lab to propel the ongoing field research of Land Arts of the American West at Texas Tech University. This course will begin the design-build process of the custom service body for the vehicle that will carry essential gear and provisions that include: cooking tools and utensils, food and water storage, safety equipment, computing and communications infrastructure, sound and video projection, service lighting, and solar power generation. Pushing beyond paradigms of recreational vehicles, this project's ambition is aligned with scientific, and artistic, production vested in remote design-build field work. Think of a cross between inside-out food-truck and mobile construction workshop. Students and faculty will work collaboratively to design, full-scale model, and test fabrication of the support vehicle to honor the ethos, aspirations, and complexities of the Land Arts program that is dedicated to expanding awareness of the intersection of human construction and the evolving nature of our planet.

Hecho En Costa Rica - Mini Aruitectura

Arch 3314 · Online

Instructor: Jeremy Wahlberg

Digital + Analog media elective: focus on collection + observation; photographs, travel sketches and diagram drawings of "mini architecture". Connecting global ecology to site specific locations. Endeavoring to understand processes of cities and sustainability.

The American Skyscraper through Art and Exhibition

Arch 3314 · Online

Instructor: Brian C. R. Zugay

This course explores the strongly reciprocal and reflexive relationships between art and architectural design. As an emerging new modern building type during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, the skyscraper became a critical subject and theme within a burgeoning modern art. New visual paradigms and media engaging with the skyscraper, in turn, began to significantly influence the representational strategies and skyscraper designs of architects. Our class will trace a continuing dance of mutual stimulation between artists and architects through to the present day. Just as the skyscraper remains the most modern of building types today, we will see how the skyscraper retains a central place within the discourses of both contemporary art and architecture.