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Visual Studies at SCI-Arc introduces students to an expanded view of architectural possibilities and promotes the importance of representation in the production of new architectural ideas and worlds.

female students with architecture project presentation pin up on the wall and models at the foreground in architecture school

Students and final presentation from David Freeland's Undergraduate Visual Studies Seminar

Heading titleA Defining Feature of SCI-Arc’s Pedagogy

Through Visual Studies courses, students gain both professional competency and a means for creative speculation. By exposing students to the dual capacity of architectural techniques to represent and generate ideas, the Visual Studies curriculum integrates students into an evolving tradition of design production.

The famously elaborate drawings, models, renderings, and animations produced by SCI-Arc 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 courses at SCI-Arc empower students to design the future, represent the present, and analyze the past. VS faculty develop pedagogies around digital, material, virtual, and conceptual techniques to build cities and worlds, document buildings and communities, and to diagram historical research. This is the broad intention behind representation – to give presence to those environments, buildings, communities, and data that are yet to be seen, remain unseen, or nearly forgotten. Visual studies is about the communication of ideas."

- Anna Neimark, Visual Studies, Coordinator

contemporary gable roof house building in moody purple and yellow light rendering

Project by Andrea Velasco and Ana Antoni

Heading titleCommunicating Architectural Ideas

The Visual Studies curriculum emphasizes the notion that the practice of architecture relies on systems of representation to conceive, develop, and communicate architectural ideas.

In early Visual Studies courses, emphasis is placed on the development of contemporary technical expertise and visual acuity. Through in-depth instruction in the use of advanced software and tools ranging from generative diagramming to project delivery documents, students acquire the skills to design and compellingly represent complex three-dimensional geometric constructs and apply them to formal building projects.

corie yaguchi

"Visual studies courses help to build a larger skillset and a larger set of tools that we are able to use, whether it be different softwares, modes of representation, or model making methods. By doing this, we have more ways to communicate our ideas and express our interests in our studio work."

-Corie Yaguchi, B.Arch Student

Corie Yaguchi - VS
Gregory Credson headshot foliage

"My pictures must first be beautiful, but that beauty is not enough. I strive to convey an underlying edge of anxiety, of isolation, of fear."

- Gregory Crewdson, Photographer and SCI-Arc guest lecturer

Heading titleSkills-Based Communication

Students may choose to continue growing skills learned in Visual Studies with advanced electives led by architects and other creative professionals on topics such as time-based visualization, graphic design, scripting, interactive navigation, animation, documentary filmmaking, photography, and industrial and production design.