Course Code: 
ARCH 436
Course Type: 
Area Elective
Course Language: 
Course Coordinator: 
Courses given by: 
Course Objectives: 
This course aims to provide an insight into the poetics of construction and transmutability of materials as the substance of the built environment and generator of the works of architecture through hands-on exploration.
Course Content: 
This course discusses and builds on the tectonic theories that emerged in the 19th century in the writings of Karl Bötticher and Gottfried Semper and regained significance since Kenneth Frampton’s Studies in Tectonic Culture. It investigates the ways in which the constructional core of architecture is expressed through material properties, assembly techniques, and joints in the intersection of cultural precedence, crafts traditions, and technological and social immanence. Standing at the intersection of building, literature, and philosophy, this course focuses on narrative-generating capacity of joints and speculative and innovative hands-on explorations of various materials and methods that aim to equip students with constructional logic and skills. It further considers utilitarian translations of discarded materials through repurposing and upcycling and making the construction process accessible to all. A series of design & build briefs will guide the applied works which will continuously iterate between imagining, retrieving, conceiving, representing, and assembling materials as constructional and spatial components. The course will highlight self-build technology and accessibility of materials and methods to lay people. It will conclude with a one-day charrette and self-build oriented design challenge further open to the participation of student groups outside this course. The charrette will allow the students of this course to put recently acquired constructional knowledge and representational skills into practice. All semester’s work will be collected in a collective booklet.
Course Methodology: 
1: Lecture, 2: Question-Answer, 3: Discussion, 4: Seminar, 5: Project, 6: Teamwork, 7:Technical excursion
Course Evaluation Methods: 
A: Testing, B: Jury, C: Homework, D:Quiz, E:Internship

Vertical Tabs

Course Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes Program Learning Outcomes Teaching Methods Assessment Methods
Theoretical and applied knowledge of tectonic theory, properties of materials and techniques of assembling. 17 1, 3, 5, 7 A, C
Skills to generate detailed drawings for assemblies. 2, 17 1, 3, 5 A, B, C
Skills to translate drawings into assemblies 2, 4, 17 1, 3, 5 A, C

Course Flow

Week Topics Preparation
1 Introduction to Tectonics Theory  
2 Material Imagination / Formations I: Inhabiting Matter  
3 Craft Traditions / Formations II: Encountering Materials & Techniques  
4 Assembly Drawing and Field Trip / Formations III: Documenting Assemblies & Joints  
5 Textiles and the Weaver / Formations IV: knitting and plaiting   
6 Translations I: textile work and assembly drawings  
8 Wood and the Carpenter / Formations V: carpentry skills and wood joinery  
9 Translations II: timber work and assembly drawings  
10 Stereotomy and the Mason / Formations VI:  carving  
11 Earthworks / Formations VII: assembling a mold & casting  
12 Circularity / Translations III:  fab-brick assemblies and assembly drawings  
14 Portfolio / Collections: portfolio with the semester’s work and the charette work  

Recommended Sources

Lecture Notes -
Other Sources
  • Chad Schwartz, Introducing Architectural Tectonics: Exploring the Intersection of Design and Construction.
  • Kenneth Frampton, John Cava, Studies in Tectonic Culture: The Poetics of Construction in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Architecture.
  • Demetri Porphyrios, From Techne to Tectonics.
  • Charlie Hailey, Design/Build with Jersey Devil: A Handbook for Education and Practice.
  • Lisa Huang, Learning from Failure in the Design Process: Experimenting with Materials.
  • Juhani Pallasmaa, The Thinking Hand: Existential and Embodied Wisdom in Architecture.
  • Marco Frascari, The Tell-the-Tale Detail.
  • Ute Poerschke, On Concrete Materiality.
  • Matthew Mindrup, The Material Imagination: Reveries on Architecture and Matter.
  • Peter Zumthor, Atmospheres.
  • Gottfried Semper, Harry Francis Mallgrave, Wolfgang Herrmann, The Four Elements of Architecture and Other Writings.
  • Karl Bötticher, Der baumkultus der Hellenen.
  • Gaston Bachelard, Earth and Reveries of Will: An Essay on the Imagination of Matter.
  • Gaston Bachelard, The Psychoanalysis of Fire.
  • Gaston Bachelard, Water and Dreams: An Essay on the Imagination of Matter.
  • Martin Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought. 
  • Karsten Harries, Art Matters: A Critical Commentary on Heidegger’s “The Origin of the Work of Art.”
  • Richard Sennett, The Craftsman.
  • Franz Kafka, The Burrow.

Material Sharing

Assignments 10 Classroom Applications / Delivered in physical and digital format

1 Portfolio  / Delivered in physical and digital format

Exams 1 Final Project / Delivered in digital format


Mid-term Exams    
Project (Assignment) 10 40
Field survey    
Other 1 20
Final Exam (Final Project) 1 40
Contribution of Final Examination to Overall Grade   40
Contribution of In-term Studies to Overall Grade    60
Total   100
Course Category  Expertise/Field Courses

Course’s Contribution to Program

Program Learning Outcomes 
Contribution Level

 (1: lowest,                               5: highest )

1 2 3 4 5
1 Critical thinking skills: Ability to develop clear and open questions, use abstract ideas to express ideas, evaluate opposing views, reach to the well-examined results and test them with similar criteria and standards          
2 Communication / Graphic communication skills: Ability to formally express each stage of planning and design process with various techniques including hand-drawings and information technologies to create appropriate presentations; to have an ability of a complete and accurate technical description and documentation of the project       x  
3 Research skills/ Ability of Utilization from Examples: Ability to obtain relevant information, assessment, recording and apply during the architectural processes; the ability to discover examples that are appropriate to program and form, concerning the composition and development of architectural and urban projects          
4 Design skills: Understanding the creation, development and implementation processes of two and three dimension design, architectural composition, and visual perception and organization in urban design, ability to apply basic architectural principles in building, interiors and layout     x    
5 World architecture: Comprehending the rules of world  architecture, landscape and urban design, and also the climatic, technological, socio-economic and cultural factors which shape these principles          
6 Regional Architecture / Cultural Diversity: Comprehending the effects of national traditions and historical heritage in national and vernacular architecture including local architecture, landscape and urban design.          
7 Cultural Heritage and Conservation: Having awareness of the protection of historical areas as well as the basic principles for the documentation of historical monuments and buildings for the preparation of their restoration projects.          
8 Sustainability: Conservation of artificial sources which also include naturally and culturally significant buildings and spaces, regarding the role of sustainability in the architectural and urban design decisions and understanding the formation of healthy buildings and establishments            
9 Social Responsibility: Comprehending  the needs, behaviors, social and spatial patterns which characterize different cultures          
10 Nature and Human: Understanding the interaction between physical environment and humans          
11 Geographical Conditions: Ability to design settlement and building considering the natural and artificial properties of site            
12 Life safety: Understanding the basic principles of life safety systems with an emphasis on the topic of emergency exits          
13 Structural systems: Understanding the behavioral principles of standing structures with vertical and horizontal forces and the development and application of contemporary load-bearing systems          
14 Building Physics and Environmental Systems: Understanding the basic principles of lighting, acoustics, air-conditioning and energy use in the design of environmental systems.          
15 Building Shell Systems: Understanding the materials and basic design systems and correct application types of building shells          
16 Building Service Systems : Understanding the basic design principles of building service systems composing,  plumbing , electric , vertical circulation, communication, security and fire safety systems          
17 Construction Materials and Applications: Understanding the principles and standards of building materials and components in terms of production and applications.   x      
18 Integration of Building Systems: Ability of evaluation, selection and integration of building service systems, environment, security and building shells in building design.          
19 Program Organization and Evaluation: The ability to evaluate an architectural project with a comprehensive program, according to the design criteria concerning the client, user requirements, appropriate precedents, space and equipment requirements, site conditions and related laws and standards          
20 Comprehensive Project Development: Ability to improve and evaluate an architectural project with a comprehensive program from graphical design to system details (Structural and environmental systems, security, etc.)          
21 Control of Building Cost: Within the framework of the design project; understanding the basics of finance, building economy and cost control          
22 Architect-Employer Relationship: Understanding the responsibility of analyzing the requirements of the owner and customer as an architect          
23 Teamwork and Collaboration: Ability to enhance individual skills and take on different roles through identification and work as a member of the design team , in conjunction with other environments          
24 Project Management: Understanding the duty of tasking, contracting, personnel management, consultants, project delivery methods and service agreement           
25 Application Management: Understanding issues of office organization, business planning, marketing, financial management, project management, risk mitigation, the basic principles of leadership and the profession of issues affecting the globalization, outsourcing, project delivery, expanding practice that support the profession of architecture           
26 Leadership: Understanding the pioneer role of the architect in the process of project and design for contract administration          
27 Legal Rights and Responsibilities: Understanding the legal responsibilities of the architect in building design and construction such as public health, safety and well-being, property rights, zoning and housing regulations, user rights which affect architectural studies          
28 Architectural Practice / Professional Development: Understanding the role of the internship in professional development, and  mutual rights and responsibilities of the employer and the trainee          
29 Professional Ethics: Understanding the ethical issues that are related to the professional adjudication in architectural design and practice          


Course Duration (14 weeks x total work hours) 12 4 48
Workload outside the classroom (research and reviews) 12 2 24
Quiz - - -
Homework 4 2 8
Presentation/Seminars - - -
Midterm Exams - - -
Project - - -
Laboratory - - -
Field survey  - - -
Others  - - -
Final exam (Final Project) 1 48 48
Total workload      128
Total workload / 25     5.12
ECTS of the course     5