Syllabus | urbanhabitats

McGill University
School of Architecture

General information:

Course number: ARCH 677 Architectural Design 3

Term: Summer 2014, May 5th  – June 20th

Instructors: Ipek Türeli and Howard Davies

  • 6 credits
  • (2-10-6) 2 hr lecture; 10 hr in-studio; additional 6 hr for assignments
  • Prerequisite: ARCH 673
  • Restriction: Open only to students enrolled in M.Arch. (Professional) Non-Thesis; Design Studio.

Weekly schedule:

Macdonald-Harrington Building; fifth-floor studio; and R 212 for lectures

M, W, F:          9:30 am – 1 pm (in-studio reviews)

M or W, F:       2 pm – 3 pm lectures & screenings

Learning outcomes:


A series of complex architectural and urban design issues are addressed, including assessing existing design solutions, seeking alternatives and articulating clearly the rationale and the impact of alternative proposals.


  • To learn to address the public realm while responding to institutional programs
  • To develop an informed vision about ecological approaches to architecture

Studio manifesto and agenda:

“Nature” is not natural but social and cultural. The first meaning of nature is Cartesian; it contrasts all there is in the world in opposition to humankind and that which is human-produced; i.e. the built environment. Underlying such dichotomy is the legitimization of humans’ power and authority over the rest of the world—a world reduced to “resource.” “Nature” also refers to human qualities, as in woman’s “nature,” to legitimize gender, racial, and imperial hierarchies.

Humans are part of the living world. The city is part of nature (Spirn, 1985). Yet, many commentators will remark somewhat nostalgically that “we” have lost our connection to nature. Accordingly, museums of nature and urban parks support humans’ connection with nature. Some experts even argue for “integrating nature into urban design and planning” (Beatley, 2011); e.g., Eduard Francois’ Flower Power (2004) with giant pots covering the façade of a social housing project in Paris. In practice, many of such approaches do not allow for biodiversity; they are highly managed and artificial.

The emergence of the appreciation of nature is historically specific (E.P. Thompson, Making of the English Working Class, 1963; Raymond Williams, The Country and the City,  1973; John Berger, Ways of Seeing, 1972). It was in the eighteenth century that the landed gentry justified the expansion of its property rights through the artistic practices of shaping the property into picturesque landscapes, hiding the working poor from out of sight through design features such as ha-ha—a recessed wall that creates a vertical barrier for unwanted working elements of the landscape while preserving views of the estate for the property owner. F. L. Olmstead’s Central Park design sought to provide an elevated socialization space for working classes, one that was diametrically opposed to the rowdy pleasure gardens. Appreciation of nature still has class connotations to this day (Davis, 1997).

Nature has been reduced to flora. The design of urban parks—and the concomitant rise of the profession of landscape architecture—has led to the introduction of this reduced version of “nature” (sculpted land with grass, artificial ponds and trees) into cities. While these elements are highly appreciated and dramatically improve the value of a place, they are still human-produced and not “natural” per se.

Another approach is ethical and calls for the extension of rights to species and landforms. A post-humanist understanding of the environment would not put at its center solely humans’ priorities. The studio aspires to promote a post-humanist built environment and design practice.

In the history of architecture, nature’s role has run the gamut from being seen as the point of departure in a renewed and more truthful expression of architectural principles from Marc-Antoine Laugier’s “primitive hut” to Modernism’s heroic naturalism; e.g., the roof garden, the garden city, and Mies van der Rohe’s transparency. And presently, more obvious ecological objectives create buildings that appear to look and/or perform as nature.

The studio will take the Space for Life agenda and competition as a departure point.

Summary of official competition:

Space for Life is a complex of exhibition spaces including the Insectarium, Biodome, Botanical Gardens and the Planetarium established in 2011 as successor to Montreal Nature Museums.

Following intense and lengthy public forums overseen by the Space for Life administration, the city of Montréal has organized an international competition as the first stage of a two-stage development to improve and unify these distant and disparate exhibition spaces.

The first stage, as outlined in the competition, is to attract designs for three major projects for Space for Life. The competition brief can be found at:

The second stage will involve the design of “The Grande Place.” According to the official description, it will be an esplanade that does not merely connect but also provides a set of unique experiences as depicted on the website of the organization:

Course materials:

There are no required readings. A list of recommended readings is provided; PDFs are posted on myCourses. These are presented to you as a pool of resources to draw from.

Instructional method:

Projects will be developed in a studio-based system where the studio is to be understood as an active working space that will produce a collective and shared body of research and knowledge from which individual projects will emerge. Active participation both in programmed discussions and project review sessions (crits) is expected and should be understood as part of the learning process.

Afternoon lectures and/or film screenings (2-3 pm), twice a week,  will provide a multidisciplinary outlook incorporating approaches from art and film contexts to address, from different perspectives, the architectural issues in discussion.

Site Visit on May 7th, Wednesday: Architect-guided tours of LEED-certified buildings on site. Meet at Pie-IX metro station. At 9:000 am.

  • Marie-Claude Lambert, architect and partner at Provencher_Roy, project manager for le Centre de la Biodiversité, along with LEED specialist Celine Mertenat will give a tour of the Centre.
  • Jean-François Julien of Cardin Ramirez Julien, architects of Planetarium Rio Tinto will give a tour of the building.
  • Self-guided tour of Botanical Gardens
  • Self-guided tour of Insectarium

Film screenings (Friday afternoons; 2 pm – 3 pm, 6 films)

Olmsted and America’s Urban Parks (2012) by Tessa Perkins

Biophilic Design (2013) by Stephen Kellert

King Kong (1933) by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack

Soylent Green (1973) by Richard Fleischer

Manufactured Landscapes (2006) by Jennifer Baichwal

Rivers and Tides (2001) by Thomas Riedelsheimer

In-house, studio lectures (in the afternoons; 2 pm-3 pm)

May 14                 Howard Davies

May 16                 Melanie Mignaur, NIPPaysage

May 21                 Ipek Tureli

June 4                   Trevor Butler

June 11                Sevag Pogharian

Guest critics (Interim reviews June 4 and 11; Final reviews 18 and 20):

Rami Bebawi (Kanva), Sinisha Brdar (UQAM), Anne  Cormier (UdeM, Atelier Big City), Jean-François Julien (Cardin, Ramirez, and Julien), Thomas Schweitzer (AEDIFICA). McGill: Annmarie Adams, Vikram Bhatt, David Covo, Tom Balaban, Paul Holmquist 

Assignments, schedule, and evaluation:

I           Architectural Analysis (one-week) 10% | Review: May 12th

II         Grande Place (two-weeks) 25% | Review: May 26th

III        X-Green (four-weeks) 50% | Review:  June 18th & 20th

Attendance and participation 15%

Evaluation will be based on the complexity and length of each project. Reviews for each project are to be understood as a presentation of an ongoing process rather than a final product. Likewise the final review of June 18 and 20 are to be expected to contain (in portfolio format) the work realized during the course.

Assignment I.  Architectural Analysis

Week 1. You will choose either 1) a building in a park setting that displays an intention to connect with nature, or 2) a building that creates “nature” within its spaces and uses it as a soft form of technology. Case studies cannot be replicated. These studies will lead to the building of a “library” to be shared as a resource for Assignments II and II.

Expected output:

Original drawings analyzing the design including:

  • Site plan or ground-level plan (depending on option)
  • Diagram that shows the key ideas in synoptic form
  • Annotated site isometric or building section to indicate ecological features and incidents of nature-architecture relationship

This work will be presented in the form of a 5-min verbal presentation accompanied by a power point slide show on May 12 in Room 212. Only original drawings (no photographs or scanned or copied drawings unless creatively integrated into your drawings).

Be prepared to position the selected project (and explain this positioning) within one or more of these categories:

  • Seeing landscape – something seen, a special view(s)
  • Atmospheric landscape – Something felt, sensual, an event
  • Functional landscape – its use as a form of technology, as something that replaces or reduces dependency on mechanization or infrastructure(s)

Try and choose interesting, pertinent and challenging projects – not necessarily projects you already know. Houses are likely too small to be of interest for the scale of the studio so these should be avoided.

Please submit Powerpoint presentation online to myCourses.

Assignment II. Grande Place

Weeks 2-3. During this phase of the studio, you will develop a scheme for the “Grande Place” working in groups of two or three. Your design will feature a) interaction, b) immersion, and c) responsiveness (to users and environmental conditions). Of primary importance will be the creation of a specific image of nature and its potential as an environment capable of both sensual and interpretive responses. Your scheme will demonstrate an understanding of landscaping strategies such as on site water management. Surfaces proposed will take into account permeability (or impermeability). Planting will be designed to help create an environment that features unique experiential qualities. The physical and urbanistic challenges include 1) maintaining evening and year around use; 2) comfortably crossing the sloped terrain across the existing main thoroughfare (Rue Sherbrooke) and 3) connecting the disparate facilities of Space for Life. The conceptual challenge is identifying the character of the landscape you intend to propose.

Wednesday, May 14 – Desk review

  • Sketch site plan and section

Friday, May 16 – Desk review

  • 150-word site-specific “nature” statement (related to a storyboard for film)
  • Study models depicting experiences (images of which can be incorporated into the film)
  • Based on the verbal nature statement, develop a storyboard for a 1-min digital film about the proposed landscape. The film will be an audiovisual rendition of your verbal statement. You can manipulate actual photographs and footage from site, or drawings. The film will demonstrate how interaction, immersion and responsiveness can take place. Most importantly it will be your “hypo-thesis” (interpretation) about nature which you will test through design proposals.

Monday, May 19 – Official holiday, no studio

Wednesday, May 21– Desk review

  • Annotated site isometric showing events, existing and potential structures and buildings, water management, planting strategies, materials (surfaces and pavings), lighting scheme.
  • High-quality renderings of 3 experiential moments

Friday, May 23 – Final review with guests

  • All the material—plans, sections, isometric, renders,  nature statement, film, models—produced until now will be shown.

See appendix for the official description and intended program of the Grande Place.

Assignment III. X-Green

Weeks 4-7.During this phase of the studio, you will develop a building design for either the “Metamorphosis of the Insectarium” or the Botanical Garden’s Glass Pavilion.  You will be working individually.

The Insectarium Metamorphosis’ central feature and space will be an insect aviary. The emphasis is on making insects, the focus of the visitor experience. The entrance is conceived as a sensory “reset” leading to a lounge, a route with experiential moments, the aviary, and a workshop area for creative engagement. Access to outdoor activities and minimum footprint are desired qualities.

The Botanical Garden’s Glass Pavilion will host eco-friendly horticultural events and corporate functions in a versatile, technologically efficient and flexible space. The Glass Pavilion will consist of two large functional ensembles: the public reception hall for hosting international exhibitions of orchids or bonsai, for instance and a setting for public events (seating for 300 and standing room for 400) and all the related and support spaces for its primary function. The outdoor spaces will fit seamlessly with the building’s architecture and nearby spaces at the Botanical Garden. They will open off the reception hall, making it possible to host events both indoors and outdoors simultaneously.

Key design issues for both projects are discussed in detail in the official competition documentation, “Space for Life Competition Summary,”  uploaded onto myCourses:

Chapter 2       “Objectives of the Competition and Projects” (p 12-15)

Chapter 3       “Design Criteria” (p 16-19)

Section 6.1     “Insectarium Metamorphosis Project” (p 29-41)

Section 6.3     “Glass Pavilion at the Botanical Garden” (p 55-64)

APPENDIX G / Insectarium Metamorphosis

APPENDIX I / Glass Pavilion at the Botanical Garden

Projects can also choose to add to these objectives if important for the overall building thesis.

Week 4 (May 26-30)          

Initial ideas will be discussed on sketch site plan and study models.

May 26           Mounting of Assignment II in exhibition space. Installation to be complete by 11 am.

11 am talk by Howard Davies,  “Planetarium Competition”

2 pm screening of Rivers and Tides

May 28           Group 1 desk crits with Tureli; Group 2 desk crits with Davies

May 30           Group 1 desk crits with Tureli; Group 2 desk crits with Davies

Week 5 (June 2-6)

  • Study models showing massing and adjacent buildings
  • Synoptic diagram (a summary of building ideas in diagrams)
  • Orthographic drawings—minimum one ground floor plan indicating site and connections, two sections and two elevations
  • Initial studies for image

June 2             Interim Review I  (pin up – all day 15 min/person)

June 4             Group 2 desk crits with Tureli; Group 1 desk crits with Davies

2 pm guest lecture Trevor Butler

June 6             Group 2 desk crits with Tureli; Group 1 desk crits with Davies

2 pm film screening

Week 6 (June 9-13)

  • Two A1 renderings, one interior, one exterior, demonstrating the project’s intentions for a new vision of ecology
  • Complete orthographic drawings including one overall isometric annotated to show ecological and landscape features of proposed building and the adjacent site.
  • One technical isometric exploring material intentions and their connection to nature and ecology

June 9             Interim Review II  (pin up – all day 15 min/person)

June 11          Group 1 desk crits with Tureli; Group 2 desk crits with Davies

2 pm guest lecture Sevag Pogharian

June 13          Group 1 desk crits with Tureli; Group 2 desk crits with Davies

2 pm film screening

Week 7 (June 18-20)

o   Final presentation for Assignment II

o   A design statement of 250 words. The design statement will be stronger if it builds on your site-specific nature statement from Assignment II.

o   A program area chart in which you compare what was asked for with what your original design provides.

o   Study models showing massing and adjacent buildings

o   Sketch plans and sections

o   Synoptic diagram (a summary of building ideas in diagrams)

o   Orthographic drawings

  • ground floor plan indicating site and connections
  • upper floor plans (and roof plan) as necessary
  • minimum two sections and two elevations

o   Initial studies for image

o   Two A1 renderings, one interior, one exterior, demonstrating the project’s intentions for a new vision of ecology

o   One overall isometric annotated to show ecological and landscape features of proposed building and the adjacent site

o   One technical isometric (with focus for instance on the envelope) exploring material intentions and their connection to nature and ecology

Final Submission: A printed folder of the semester’s work. 11X17 cover page to contain student’s name + course number + date

DVD of required digital documentation 

 June 18-20    Final reviews


Digital submission requirements:

(1) 11X17” Printed Folder (2 copies)

This folder must contain the work from all the assignments. Developmental work (sketches and study models can also be included) Selected stills from films must be included. The cover page of this document must contain the following information:

Your name:

Course Title +Number:

Instructors: Ipek Tureli + Howard Davies

McGill University School of Architecture

Summer 2014

(2) DVD/CD ( 3 copies)

As a part of the final grade for the course each student must submit a DVD/CD documenting the final work of each project in the term.  The DVD/CD must be organized in the following way and must include the following items:

Main Folder: The main folder should be named in the following format: COURSE YEAR TERM_LASTNAME (for example: ARCH672 2013 FALL_JOHNSON.).

  • Content of Main Folder:  For each major project of the term please create a subfolder within the main folder with the project name (i.e. “PROJECT 01_MICRO DWELLING”, “PROJECT 02_PRECEDENT STUDY”, “FINAL PROJECT_HOUSING”, etc…).  Create subfolders titled “DRAWINGS” AND “MODELS” within each project folder:
  • In the “DRAWINGS” folder save all final boards/drawings for the project as high quality PDF’s (each image included in the PDF should be at 300 PPI).  Also include one splash image (2400×1800 resolution JPEG) that best represents the project. Final animations and other key final graphic files may also be included in this folder.  Please take care to name each file in a clear manner (i.e. “Final Board 01.pdf”).
    • In the “MODELS” folder save images of the final models for the project in question.  Photos should be in JPEG format and be 300 PPI.  Please take care to name each file in a clear manner (i.e. “Detail Model.jpeg”).
    • In the “FILMS” folder save images of the final films for the project in question.  Files should be  saved in movie (*.mov) format. Title files following the norm.
  • DVD/CD Case: Submit your DVD/CD in a plastic clamshell case.  Print out a cover for the clamshell case that has a splash image of the project, your name, studio, year, and term.  Also label the DVD/CD itself with your name, studio, year, and term.

One DVD each is to be given to each course instructor (Ipek Tureli + Howard Davies) and to:  Juan Osorio, Media Technician, School of Architecture McGill University, Macdonald-Harrington Building, Room G-12



Montreal Space for Life Architecture Competition: The Insectarium’s Metamorphosis, Renewed Biodome, and Botanical Garden Glass Pavilion – Summary. Montreal: Unesco City of Design, 2014.

Huang, Carolin. “Montreal’s Biodome: Habitat of Consumable Histories,” review. Submission for McGill School of Architecture, Arch 566 Cultural Landscapes: “Miniature Worlds” taught by Ipek Tureli, Winter 2014.

Lockhart. “Space for Life: An Issue of Scale,” review. Submission for McGill School of Architecture, Arch 566 Cultural Landscapes: “Miniature Worlds” taught by Ipek Tureli, Winter 2014.

Tharmaratnam, Sanjeevan. “A Space for Space at Space for Life?” review. Submission for McGill School of Architecture, Arch 566 Cultural Landscapes: “Miniature Worlds” taught by Ipek Tureli, Winter 2014.

Recommended readings on post-humanism, biophilia, sustainability, museums:

Anderson, M. Kat. “Wildlife, Plants, and People,” in Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005. 13 – 40.

Bateson, Gregory. “Introduction,” Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1979. 1-23.

Beatley, Timothy. “Biophilic Cities: What Are They?” in Biophilia. Camridge: Harvard University Press, 1986. 45 – 82.

Bennett, Tony. The Birth of the Museum: History, Theory, Politics. New York: Routledge, 1995.

Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. New York, Viking Press, 1972.

de Certeau, Michel. “Walking in the City,” in The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California Press. 91 – 110.

Crawford, Margaret. Everyday Urbanism. New York: The Monacelli Press Inc, 1999.

Davis, Susan G. Spectacular Nature: Corporate Culture and the Sea World Experience. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

Eco, Umberto. Travels in Hyper Reality: Essays. 1st ed. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1986.

Fagan, Brian. “Minus One Hundred Twenty-Two Meters and Climbing,” in The Attacking Ocean. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 2013. 1 – 22.

Gehl, Jan. “Public Space, Public Life: An Interaction,” in How to Study Public Life. Washington D.C.: Island Press, 2013. 1 – 8.

Gillis, John R. “Settling the Shores” in The Human Shore: Seacoasts in History. London: University of Chicago Press, 2012.

Gissen, David. “Insects,” and “Pidgeons,” Subnature: Architecture’s Other Environments. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2009. 168 – 179, 180 – 191.

Gottdiener, Mark. The Theming of America: Dreams, Media Fantasies, and Themed Environments. 2nd ed. Boulder: Westview Press, 2001.

Haraway, Donna. When Species Meet. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007.

Haraway. Donna. “Teddy Bear Patriarchy Taxidermy in the Garden of Eden,” in Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science. New York: Routledge, 1989, 26-58.

Haupt, Lyanda Lynn. “A New Nature, A New Bestiary,” in The Urban Bestiary: Encountering the Everyday Wild. New York: Hachette Digital Inc., 2013.

Haupt, Lyanda Lynn. “Coexisting: Finding Our Place in the Zoopolis,” in Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness. New York: Little Brown, 2011.

Hayles, N. Katherine. How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. London: The University of Chicago Press, 1999.

Jacobs, Jane. “Introduction,” The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Vintage Books, 1961, 3-28.

Jarzombeck, Mark. “Molecules, Money, and Design,” Thresholds. (1999): 32-38.

John Elsner and Roger Cardinal. The Cultures of CollectingCritical Views. London: Reaktion Books, 1994.

Judd, Dennis R., and Susan S. Fainstein. The Tourist City. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999.

Karp, Ivan. Museum Frictions: Public Cultures/Global Transformations. Durham: Duke University Press, 2006.

Kellert. Stephen, and Edward Wilson. The Biophilia Hypothesis. Island Press, 1995.

Kellert. Stephen. Building for Life: Designing and Understanding the Human-Nature Connection. London: Island Press, 2005.

Kellert. Stephen. Biophillic Design: The Theory, Science, and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life. Wiley, 2008.

Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara. Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

Lefaivre, Liane. “Ground-Up City: A Place of Play,” in Ground-Up City: Play as a Design Tool. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 2007. 36-79.

Lydon, Mike. “Tacticians” in Tactical Urbanism Vol.1: Short Term Action, Long Term Change. Washington: Island Press, 2014.

Mabey, Richard. “Thoroughwort: The Weed Ubiquitous,” Weeds: In Defense of Nature’s Most Unloved Plants. New York: HarperCollins, 2011.

Marris, Emma. “Unrivaled Nature of America,” Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 2011.

McDonough, William. “A Centennial Sermon: Design, Ecology, Ethics, and the Making of Things,” Lecture, Sermon at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. New York City, February 7, 1993. Available on:

McDonough, William, and Michael Bruangart. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. Toronto: Random House, 2002.

Mitchell, W. J .T.  Landscape and Power. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994

Rebar Group. “The PARK(ing) Day Manual: A Primer on User-Generated Urbanism and Temporary Tactics for Improving the Public Realm”. San Francisco, 2011.

Snyder, Gary. “The Etiquette of Freedom,” in The Practice of the Wild. Berkeley: Counterpoint Press, 1990, 3-24.

Sorkin, Michael. Variations on a Theme Park: The New American City and the End of Public Space. 1st ed. New York: Hill and Wang, 1992.

Spirn, Anne Whiston. “Urban Nature and Human Design: Renewing the Great Tradition,” Classical Readings in Urban Planning compiled by Jay M. Stein. Washington: Island Press, 2001, 475-497.

Thompson, E.P. Making of the English Working Class. New York: Pantheon Books,1963

Urry, John. The Tourist Gaze. 2nd ed. London: SAGE, 2002.

Vanderbilt, Tom. “Trouble with Traffic Signs-and How Getting Rid of Them Can Make Things Better for Everyone,” Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What it Says About Us). New York: Random House, 2008, 186-203.

Williams, Raymond. “Ideas of Nature,” Problems in Materialism and Culture: Selected Essays. London: Verso, 1980. 67-85.

Williams, Raymond. The Country and the City. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973.

Wilson, Edward O. “The Conservation Ethic,” Biophilia: The Human Bond with Other Species. Cambridge: Harvard University, 1984, 119-140.

Wolch, Jennifer. “Zoopolis,” Animal Geographies: Place, Politics, and Identity in the Nature-Culture Borderlands. London: Verso, 1998, 119-138.

Wolfe, Cary et al. What is Posthumanism? Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010.

Young, Terence, and Robert B. Riley. Theme Park Landscapes: Antecedents and Variations. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 2002.

Zukin, Sharon. Landscapes of Power: From Detroit to Disney World. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.

Zumthor, Peter. Thinking Architecture. Boston: Birkhauser – Publishers for Architecture, 1999.

Academic Integrity

McGill University values academic integrity. Therefore, all students must understand the meaning and consequences of cheating, plagiarism and other academic offences under the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures (see for more information).(approved by Senate on 29 January 2003)

L’université McGill attache une haute importance à l’honnêteté académique. Il incombe par conséquent à tous les étudiants de comprendre ce que l’on entend par tricherie, plagiat et autres infractions académiques, ainsi que les conséquences que peuvent avoir de telles actions, selon le Code de conduite de l’étudiant et des procédures disciplinaires (pour de plus amples renseignements, veuillez consulter le site

In accord with McGill University’s Charter of Students’ Rights, students in this course have the right to submit in English or in French any written work that is to be graded. approved by Senate on 21 January 2009 – see also the section in this document on Assignments and evaluation.)

Conformément à  la Charte des droits de l’étudiant de l’Université McGill, chaque étudiant a le droit de soumettre en français ou en anglais tout travail écrit devant être noté (sauf dans le cas des cours dont l’un des objets est la maîtrise d’une langue). 

Student Performance Criteria (Canadian Architectural Certification Board)

The following Student Performance Criteria, as defined by the CACB, are addressed in the master’s year final studio program:

A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, A9, B1, B3, B4, B5, B7, B8, B9, B11, C1, D2

The complete list of the 31 Student Performance Criteria is included here (and can be found online at

A1. Critical Thinking Skills.

Ability to raise clear and precise questions, use abstract ideas to interpret information, consider diverse points of view, reach well reasoned conclusions, and test them against relevant criteria and standards

A2. Research Skills.

Ability to employ basic methods of data collection and analysis to inform all aspects of the programming and design process.

A3. Graphic Skills.

Ability to employ appropriate representational media to convey essential formal elements at each stage of the programming and design process.

A4. Verbal and Writing Skills

Ability to speak and write effectively on subject matter contained in the professional curriculum.

A5. Collaborative Skills

Ability to identify and assume divergent roles that maximize individual talents, and to cooperate with others when working as members of a design team and in other settings.

A6. Human Behaviour

Understanding of the relationship between human behaviour, the natural environment and the design of the built environment.

A7. Cultural Diversity

Understanding of the diverse needs, values, behavioural norms, and social/spatial patterns that characterize different cultures and individuals, as well as the implications of this diversity on the societal roles and responsibilities of architects.

A8. History and Theory

Understanding of diverse global and local traditions in architecture, landscape, and urban design, as well as the factors that have shaped them.

A9. Precedents.

Ability to make a comprehensive analysis and evaluation of a building, building complex, or urban space.

B1. Design Skills

Ability to apply organizational, spatial, structural, and constructional principles to the conception and development of spaces, building elements, and tectonic components.

B2. Program Preparation

Ability to prepare a comprehensive program for an architectural project that accounts for client and user needs, appropriate precedents, space and equipment requirements, the relevant laws and standards, and site selection and design assessment criteria.

B3. Site Design

Ability to analyze and respond to context and site conditions in the development of a program and in the design of a project.

B4. Sustainable Design

Ability to apply the principles of sustainable design to produce projects that conserve natural and built resources, provide healthy environments for occupants/users, and reduce the impacts of building construction and operations on future generations.

B5. Accessibility.

Ability to design both site and building to accommodate individuals with varying physical and cognitive abilities.

B6. Life Safety Systems, Building Codes and Standards

Understanding the principles that inform the design and selection of life-safety systems in buildings and their subsystems; the codes, regulations, and standards applicable to a given site and building design project, including occupancy classifications, allowable building heights and areas, allowable construction types, separation requirements, occupancy requirements, means of egress, fire protection, and structure.

B7. Structural Systems

Understanding of the principles of structural behaviour in withstanding gravity and lateral forces, and the evolution, range and appropriate applications of structural systems.

B8. Environmental Systems

Understanding of the basic principles that inform the design of environmental systems, including acoustics, illumination and climate modification systems, building envelopes, and energy use with awareness of the appropriate performance assessment tools.

B9. Building Envelopes

Understanding of the basic principles involved in the appropriate application of building envelope systems and associated assemblies relative to fundamental performance, aesthetics, moisture transfer, durability, and energy and material resources.

B10. Building Service Systems

Understanding of the basic principles that inform the design of building service systems, including  plumbing, electrical, vertical transportation, communication, security, and fire protection systems.

B11. Building Materials and Assemblies.

Understanding of the basic principles utilized in the appropriate selection of construction materials,  products, components, and assemblies, based on their inherent characteristics and performance.

B12. Building Economics and Cost Control

Understanding of the fundamentals of development financing, building economics, construction cost control, and life-cycle cost accounting

C1. Detailed Design Development

Ability to assess and detail as an integral part of the design, appropriate combinations of building materials, components, and assemblies.

C2. Building Systems Integration

Ability to assess, select, and integrate structural systems, environmental systems, life safety systems, building envelopes, and building service systems into building design.

C3. Technical Documentation

Ability to make technically precise descriptions and documentation of a proposed design for purposes of review and construction.

C4. Comprehensive Design.

Ability to project a comprehensive design based on an architectural idea, a building program and a site. The design or designs should integrate structural and environmental systems, building envelopes, building assemblies, life-safety provisions, and environmental stewardship.

D1. Leadership and Advocacy

Understanding of the techniques and skills for architects to work collaboratively with allied disciplines, clients, consultants, builders, and the public in the building design and construction process, and to advocate on environmental, social, and aesthetic issues in their communities.

D2. Ethics and Professional Judgment

Understanding of the ethical issues involved in the formation of professional judgment regarding social, political and cultural issues in architectural design and practice.

D3. Legal Responsibilities

Understanding of the architect’s responsibility to the client and the public under the laws, codes, regulations and contracts common to the practice of architecture in a given jurisdiction.

D4. Project Delivery

Understanding of the different methods of project delivery, the corresponding forms of service contracts, and the types of documentation required to render competent and responsible professional service.

D5. Practice Organization

Understanding of the basic principles of practice organization, including financial management, business planning, marketing, negotiation, project management, risk mitigation and as well as an understanding of trends that affect practice.

D6. Professional Internship.

Understanding of the role of internship in professional development, and the reciprocal rights and responsibilities of interns and employers.


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