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Visual Studies introduces students to new ways of seeing the world, and the importance of representation in the production of new architectural ideas and worlds.

multicolored visual studies composition chopped up mickey mouse

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Visual Studies concentration is a defining feature of the SCI-Arc pedagogy. The famously elaborate drawings, models, renderings, and animations produced by our students and faculty reflect not only the ability to technically document and visually communicate a building’s design, but also a deep and long-standing interest in employing these tools as generative creative media. Visual Studies gives students both professional competency and a means for creative speculation. Through exposure to this dual capacity of architecture’s tools, the students are introduced to an evolving tradition of creative techniques.

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"Using the latest visualization technology, from machine vision to augmented reality, students explore new ways to produce speculative aesthetics for art and architecture that bring together analog and digital worlds."

- Devyn Weiser, Visual Studies Coordinator

Heading titleContemporary Technical Expertise and Visual Acuity

In the core Visual Studies sequences, great emphasis is placed on the development of contemporary technical expertise and visual acuity. Through in-depth instruction in the use of advanced software, courses teach students the skills and tools to precisely determine and compellingly represent complex three dimensional constructs, and to apply these constructs to building projects. In addition to the direct application of this expertise by students in their Design Studios, there are also opportunities to explore and expand these skills via advanced elective Visual Studies courses led by architects and other creative professionals. Recent elective courses have focused on topics such as time-based visualization in Robot House, scripting in Grasshopper and Processing, Maya animation, Virtual Reality with Tilt Brush and Augmented Reality in Vuforia.

Heading titleSystems of Communication to Conceive, Develop, Communicate, and Represent Architectural Ideas

The Visual Studies program sets the foundation for project communication systems. It includes generative diagramming, concept representation, project communication, and project production documents. Recent elective courses have focused on topics such as time-based visualization, graphic design, scripting, interactive navigation, animation, film documentary, photography, industrial and product design, and production design.

Heading titlePassion for Communication

Students may choose to continue growing skills learned in Visual Studies with advanced electives led by architects and other creative professionals.

The Visual Studies concentration is a defining feature of the SCI-Arc pedagogy.

red purple model by architecture student