AR3111 Foundational Design Studio Syllabus:

AR3111 Foundational Design Studio Syllabus – Anna University Regulation 2021


 To give an understanding of design as creating form towards a purpose at various scales.
 To enable exploration of the universal visual, experiential and cognitive aspects of design through engaging elements and principles of form.
 To give an insight into the ways in which form/ morphology and use/effect can come together.


Architecture as a discipline starts with morphology as the answer to questions and needs of human society. While the needs are multifarious, including shelter and comfort, social and psychological wellbeing, culture and meaning, expression of time and context, etc., the means are negotiated through the fundamentals of form in its various attributes. In the foundational studio, the exploration would be on understanding these fundamentals as universals as well as in terms of particular manifestations in specific cultural and temporal contexts. The word form here means all physical manifested aspects.

The explorations in the foundational studio would be of two types. One would be to understand and break down form to its component elements and principles in order to get insight into the most important aspects that give a totality of cognitive effect(perceptive, behavioural, cultural etc.,) or use (anthropometrics, activities, scale, etc.,).Design exploration would continue after this to create a form for use/effect. Another would be to explore component elements like point, line, planes, volume, shape, colour, texture light, pattern, etc., using principles such as balance, unity, dominance, transparency, proportion, scale, solid, void, fluidity, movement, fractal, order, chaos, gestalt, etc., This exploration could be an end in itself or could lead to the creation of a higher level of or composite form/design through using elements and principles in conjunction towards human need/ use ( perceptive, behavioural, cultural, anthropometrics, activities, scale, etc.,).

The whole studio would be conducted through a series of related design exercises with multiple stages as well as standalone independent exercises. Observational/ analytical study and design exploration could go hand in hand or one could precede the other, based on the specific project. The exercises would be mediated through situations and contexts, historic and contemporary references, local or global character, aesthetics, basics of human response and behaviour, etc., Different media would be explored in 2D and 3D. The final exercise(s) would be focussed towards small product/ furniture/ architectural design/ component design in urban context, etc.,


 Awareness of the totality and components of form in the creation of design.
 Ability to explore the visual/ cognitive language and grammar of the universal elements and principles of design.
 Ability to understand needs as encompassing functional, behavioural, cultural, experiential, etc.,
 Ability to engage awareness towards creating a morphology that fulfils stated intents and needs.


 Kumar Vyas, ‘Design and Environment- A Primer’, National Institute of Design, 2009.
 Pierre von Meiss, ‘Elements of Architecture: From Form to Place’, Routledge, 2014.
 James F. Eckler,’ Language of Space and Form: Generative Terms for Architecture’, Wiley, 2012.
 Owen Cappleman and Michael Jack Jordon, ‘Foundations in Architecture: An Annotated Anthology of Beginning Design Project’, Van Nostrand Reinhold New York, 1993.
 Charles Wallschlacgerm and Cynthia Busic-Snyder, ‘Basic Visual Concepts and Principles for Artists, Architects and Designers’, McGraw Hill, New York 1992.
 Victor Papanek, ‘Design for the Real world, Human Ecology and Social Change’, Chicago Review Press, 2005.


1. Taiji Miyasaka, ‘Seeing and Making in Architecture: Design Exercises’, Routledge, 2013.
2. V.S. Pramar, ‘Design Fundamentals in Architecture’, Somaiya Publications, New Delhi, 1997.
3. Francis D. K. Ching, ‘Architecture: Form Space and Order’, Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., (Canada), 1979.