ARC 403: Senior studio: City / Life

arc403 course image.

Image: Park Hill - Sheffield UK 

The driving force of cities arises from collective energy. These days, that energy might be social, economic, political and environmental, with increased urban density increasingly being seen as a key to ecological sustainability. Because of its collective character, one of the challenges of the city is the balance between the public and private realms, an issue that is central in the design of urban housing. 

This semester focuses on the urban dwelling as a threshold between self and society, between the local and the global, and between nature and culture. Instead of thinking of these conditions as opposites, they can be understood as symbiotic states of being whose relationship, or balance, changes at different scales – from room to dwelling, building, neighborhood, city and natural environment.

Work during the semester will be informed by engagement with urban issues, history and culture as well as materiality and craft. Students are expected to develop a critical position based on exploration of precedents, understanding of the current sociocultural environment and speculation about the future, and to test this position out at the scale of the city, the building and its tectonic detail. 


Professor - Department of Architecture - Hayes Hall 213 - (716) 829-5329
Omar Khan, associate professor of architecture, studies responsiveness and performativity in architecture. He is co-lead of UB's research center on Sustainable Manufacturing and Advanced Robotic Technologies, which applies design, smart materials and automation to transform advanced manufacturing.
Assistant Professor - Department of Architecture - Hayes Hall 317C - (716) 829-6912
Joyce Hwang is associate professor and associate chair of architecture at UB. Through her teaching, research and critical practice as director of Ants of the Prairie, she confronts contemporary ecological conditions through creative means.