RISD Pre-College


“The fundamental issue of architecture is: does it affect the spirit or doesn’t it? If it doesn’t affect the spirit, it’s building. If it affects the spirit, it’s architecture. Architecture doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the final form of a built building. A drawing, to me, is a completed piece of architecture, a building is a completed piece of architecture, a photograph of a drawing or a photograph of an architecture is a piece of architecture. Each act is individually an act of architecture.” John Hejduk, The Education of an Architect.

The coursework for Pre-College Architecture Majors revolves around architectural design principles and the discovery of individual design process. Students will be introduced to formal and spatial concepts through exploration and iterative design processes, with the result being a rich understanding of material and tectonic relationships.


Assignment 1 – Families 

Using paper as your medium, create five distinct families of objects, each with at least three distinct members. Think about the single characteristic (genotype) that unites each family, as well as the multiple characteristics that define each family member as a unique entity. In other words, it should be evident that a single member is related to its particular family, but each member in that family should be different from each other in some way…


Assignment 2 – Hold

Choose one of the families you created from Project 1. Using a linear element, such as piano wire or wood dowels, begin by translating each one of the members. Rather than reproducing the surface of each member, articulate its structure, or bones, instead. You may need to simplify or edit the basis of the member in order to do this. Next, consider how these members might commingle to create a system. The joint, or the way in which one member meets and embraces another, is critical. You should create a custom joint of linear material, string, or other materials (no glue, tape, or other type of adhesive is allowed)…


Assignment 3 – Monument Keeper’s House

Begin by replicating and concurrently transforming your system from project 2 into your newly constructed site model (1/8” = 1’0”). Consider the grain and forces previously articulated through the site observations, collage, and model. Your new system should both react to and impose on or dictate these forces. Through this process, begin to use your system (both linear and new planar elements) to articulate, enclose, and/or define the following spaces for a particular living action…