AR3711 Critical Design Studio Syllabus:

AR3711 Critical Design Studio Syllabus – Anna University Regulation 2021


 To enable an understanding of architecture as having the capacity to critically interpret and transform status quo in the built environment and society through the act of design.
 To guide in the taking of critical/ philosophical/ ideological positions respect to various aspects of contemporary life and to explore architectural morphology as an expression of those positions.
 To encourage propositions/projections directed at positive future transformations.


Architecture as a discipline balances many concerns in the creation of buildings. However, it also represents ideas and production reacting to/ reinforcing/ anticipating/ transforming specific aspects of the existing world towards a more desirable future. This could spring from individual perspectives as well as through concerted efforts which then become movements. Architecture can thus seek to understand, reflect, strengthen, question, change status quo. The process of design can thus offer a possible, intended future.

Projects/ design situations will be given in this regard which address issues/ programmes of current society with a larger impact in terms of scale or importance. Different realms/ aspects of contemporary life can be explored. Some possible projects/ area of inquiry are institutional campuses of significance, mixed use projects involving diverse user groups, culturally and socially important buildings, urban life, technological developments, culture, globalisation, place, meaning, identity, appropriate architecture, etc.,

Suitable processes can be engaged for critical and creative thinking which could include wide and interdisciplinary reading to take critical positions, social processes, contemporary processes such as mapping and diagramming, methods related to technical or empirical aspects, etc., The particular line of thought will be taken through to completion through the processes. It is preferable to have one major project with small exercises under it if required.


 Ability to understand the wider implication of design decisions and their interdependency with larger processes of society.
 Ability to take creative, critical and informed decisions in the context of significant projects that could shape society in positive ways.


1. Kate Nesbitt, ‘Theorizing a New Agenda for Architecture’, Princeton Architectural Press, 1996.
2. Neil Leach, ‘Rethinking Architecture’, Routledge, 2005.
3. Harry Francis Mallgrave and David Goodman, ‘An Introduction to Architectural Theory- 1968 to the Present’, Wiley Blackwell, 2011.
4. Stephen A. Kliment, Editor ‘Building Type Basics’ Series, Wiley.


1. Mitchell WJ, ‘Imagining MIT: Designing a campus for the 21st century’, MIT Press,2011.
2. HimanshuBurte, ‘Space For Engagement’, Seagull Books, 2008.
3. Mark Garcia, ‘The Diagrams of Architecture’, Wiley 2010.
4. BjarkeIngels, ‘Yes is More’, Taschen, 2009.
5. Steven Holl, JuhaniPallasmaa, Alberto Pérez Gómez, ‘Questions of perception: Phenomenology of Architecture’, William Stout, 2006.
6. Richard Coyne, ‘Interpretation in Architecture: Design as Way of Thinking’, Routledge, 2005.
7. Adam Sharr, ‘Reading Architecture and Culture’, Routledge,2012.
8. Wendy Gunn, Ton Otto, Rachel Charlotte Smith, ‘Design Anthropology: Theory and Practice’, Berg, 2013.