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Environmental Design Course List

View titles & descriptions for the Environmental Design department's courses.

Click a Course's Title to read its description .

Course # Course Title Credits
AD 200 Integrated 3D Design 3 credits
This course develops basic design literacy and teaches basic problem solving methods and skills in preparation for tackling complex design problems in architecture, object and furniture design as well as numerous other areas of construction and fabrication, including sculpture, ceramics, packaging, environmental graphics etc. Students are introduced to a basic vocabulary of three-dimensional form making, space making and they learn to solve simple design problems methodically, with creativity and imagination. Design exercise are integrated with skill building assignments from concurrent courses in representation and fabrication methods.

Concurrent Enrollment in AD 201 and AD 202 required for AD Majors. Non-Majors need permission to waive co-requisite.

AD 201 Fabrication Methods 1.5 credits
This workshop introduces the student to wood shop and metal shop techniques amongst others and to conceptual strategies for integrating material, details and construction. Students study the processes of making, their imprint on the work, as well as participate in conversations and readings that help connect materiality to a conceptually based approach to design.

Concurrent Enrollment in AD 200 and AD 202 required for AD Majors. Non-Majors need permission to waive co-requisite.

AD 202 Design Drawing 1.5 credits
Design Drawing introduces the methods of architectural representation into the rich visual vocabulary students bring from Foundation year. The plan, section, elevation, scale model making and axonometric are taught in counter point to the requirements of concurrent studio courses.

Concurrent Enrollment in AD 200 and AD 201 required for AD Majors. Non-Majors need permission to waive co-requisite.

AD 208 Visual Histories of the City 3 credits
This studio course examines how history, research and on-site experience inform studio practice. Students will combine visual and archival research techniques in order to investigate, analyze and document the stories that are told by the physical form of the city. The dialogue between Baltimore's development and that of the nation presents a unique case study through which students will unpack the spatial environment and history of the city. Visual material made from observation in various media - drawings, photography, recordings, etc - will be integrated with research findings to construct storybook-journals. The class will visit and collaborate with the Maryland Historical Society, who will archive the students' work. The Enoch Pratt library system and other sources of historic information around Baltimore will serve as important resources as well. Baltimore is home to a wealth of historically significant locations, and frequent field trips and independent, on-site art-making will be important components of the class. Locations may include MICA's own campus, Penn Station, Fort McHenry, The Washington Monument, The Basilica, Federal Hill, The Baltimore Museum of Art, and Camden Yards; as well as local churches, synagogues, and row houses, just to name a few examples.
AD 210 AD: Interior & Exterior 3 credits
This course expands on the set of core phenomenologies of architecture introduced in the first semester and also expands the realms of meaning and complexity of the design projects. Students investigate the mechanisms by which spaces take on meaning and the relationships between art, space and architecture. From ideation to problem solving, students are guided to construct a framework of design process and practice that is rigorous ,yet personal. The students conclude this course with a body of carefully crafted architectural drawings, scale models and documentation of their design process.

Prerequisite: AD 200, AD 201, & AD 202 Concurrent Enrollment in AD 211 and AD 220 Required for AD Majors. Non-Majors need permission to waive co-requisite.

AD 211 Digital Drawing 1 1.5 credits
Digital technologies are changing and the categories of 2D and 3D drawing are becoming blurred. This course focuses on the workflows between multiple computer drawing programs that students need to learn in order to explore and solve design and fabrication problems and to produce 2D and 3D output.

Prerequisite: AD 200, AD 201, & AD 202 Concurrent Enrollment in AD 210 and AD 220 Required for AD Majors. Non-Majors need permission to waive co-requisite.

AD 220 Obj Design: Body/Material/Form 3 credits
The subject of this studio is the material and ergonomic thinking that must accompany spatial thinking and architectural design. Students are introduced to concepts of ergonomics, and they learn to design at the scale of the body, incorporating systems of proportions and the systematic study of materials. Students research and identify ways to improve human conditions, brainstorm solutions, and create prototype products. Emphasis is placed upon innovative thinking, 2D and 3D mock-ups, model construction, and elegant technical solutions.

Prerequisite: AD 200, AD 201, & AD 202 Concurrent Enrollment in AD 210 and AD 211 required for AD Majors. Non-Majors need permission to waive co-requisite.

AD 251 Intro to Architectural Design 3 credits
In this introductory studio, students are immersed in the philosophies and strategies of solving three dimensional design problems in general and spatial design problems in particular. Students integrate multidisciplinary competencies they may already have with new design skills. Projects explore idea generation, concept realization in 2D and 3D media including basic orthographic drawings.
AD 252 Introduction to Object Design 3 credits
Can re-designing a water bottle help save the planet? What will the next iPhone look like? Why can’t my shoes recharge my cell phone while I walk? Design is about looking into the future. Design is about people. Design is about thinking, inventing, solving problems, collaborating, being curious, asking questions, and challenging everything. Design is about new forms, new structures, and new materials. In this course, students imagine the issues our future holds and design products to meet these challenges. At the same time, they become familiar with current design issues, new materials, smart technologies, and presentation techniques. This course serves as an introduction to the practice of product design: where creations are imagined, developed, and realized. Through workshops and hands-on experimentation, students invent products no one else has yet to dream up.
AD 300 Architecture Lab 1 4.5 credits
Urbanism and Technology are the central themes of the Architectural Lab 1 studio. Students work on urban projects of intermediate scale that are public in nature and which demand close consideration of physical and social contexts. Beginning with detailed analyses of specific sites, students go on to develop programs and technically resolved architectural proposals for their sites. in developing their proposals, students address basic problems of light, circulation, materials, construction, and structure and learn to find creative solutions to each.

Prerequisite: AD 210, AD 211, and AD 220 Concurrent enrollment in AD 301 and AH 250 required.

AD 301 Building Technology 1 1.5 credits
Building Technology 1, together with Building Technology 2, forms a sequence of learning for students to learn about the materials and methods of building construction. This course, the first part of the sequence will integrate hands-on exercises such as the experimental load testing of architectural forms, visits to local construction sites and materials testing labs in order to teach the behavior and use of materials on the scale of a building, Students learn how material properties determine construction systems in general and the details of a design project in particular.
AD 302 Digital Drawing 2 1.5 credits
The course will build on the knowledge base from Digital Drawing 1 by introducing more advanced exercises including rendering and animation. Students will learn to create drawing sets from their model in Revit. The course will introduce advanced lighting and material setups, animated objects, HDRI lighting and key frame animation.

Prerequisite: AD 211

AD 310 Architecture Lab 2 4.5 credits
The City and Culture are the central themes of the Architecture Lab 2 studio. This studio continues the introduction of increasingly complex architectural problems and more critically informed design strategies. Students learn to analyze cities as indexes of social, cultural, historic and political forces. Using Baltimore as a subject large scale design inquiry is initiated and elaborated through more detailed design exploration at the scale of the interior and exterior of inhabitable space. Research and mapping techniques, contemporary design strategies for sustainable urban environments and digital + physical modeling are among the skills that are introduced in this studio.

Prerequisite: AD 300

AD 311 Building Technology 2 1.5 credits
The study of architectural building systems and the relationship between design strategies and building systems will be focus of this course. This course will build on research completed in Building Technology I and further explore architectural systems, principals of assembly, sustainability and innovative technologies. Case Studies, Site Visits, Design-Build Exercises and Guest Experts will all be used throughout the course.

Prerequisite: AD 301

AD 351 Digital Fabrication for AD 1.5 credits
Digital Fabrication applies the student’s working knowledge in 3D software platforms such as Rhinoceros, to the workflows and machine platforms of Digital Fabrication. Students learn to use 3D printers and CNC routers. This course focuses on the fabrication of forms that are conventionally difficult , it emphasizes applications of digital fabrication in the field of Architecture and Design and on the implications of digital fabrication as a mode of industrial production.

Prerequisite: AD 211

AD 354 Topics in Object Design 3 credits
This studio concerns real-wold design projects, where students will receive problems framed by the client. Students develop innovative objects that address the problems and end-users will test concepts during multiple sessions. Students will also have the opportunity to develop their projects into final prototypes and even have them produced! Through workshops, hands-on-experiments and inspiring presentations, students will develop their design skills to help them become better thinkers, problem solvers and interdisciplinary designers.

Prerequisite: AD 220

AD 398 AD Independent Study 1.5-3 credits
For students wishing to work with a particular instructor on subject matter not covered by regularly scheduled classes, a special independent study class may be taken. A contract is required, including signature of the instructor and the student's department chair. This class may not be used to substitute for a department's core requirement on senior thesis/ senior independent.

Prerequisite: students at the Junior/Senior level with a Cumulative Grade Point Average of at least 3.000

ENV 212 Materials:Types & Connections 3 credits
This introductory course covers a range of materials through hands on experimentation in the shop environment. The physical properties of wood, plywood, metals, paper, and cloth are explored by making pieces, finding limits, and discovering opportunities unique to each material through sculptural exercises. In the second half of the semester, projects focus on combining materials. The connective properties of each material and how different materials interact and connect offer the added complexities and richness of combining and joining unlike materials in sculptural assignments and full-scale design prototypes. Fundamental principles of balance, mass, and form, and an overall sense of craft emerge from this hands-on experience.
ENV 220 Industrial Design Studio 3 credits
The purpose of this course is to establish the fundamentals of the theoretical and technical elements of industrial design with an emphasis on the design and construction of production furniture. Students will focus on historical ideas, materials, industrial methods, form and function relevant to innovative design solutions. They will apply problem-solving skills to the product development process, which will require the comprehension and application of two- and three-dimensional skills, such as sketching, 3-D computer modeling and physical model making. Prerequisite: ENV 200.
ENV 226 Introduction to Scenic Design 3 credits
Scenography is the creation of a three dimensional scenic world in which tales are told. Although the class will focus on production techniques relating to the theatre, those techniques are applicable to wherever a scenographic environment is required, be it for stage, screen, architecture or digital reality. Students will explore the various dramatic styles used in transforming a script into a production. They will learn how to do a script analysis and how to transform that information into dramatic space. In addition the various techniques necessary for the creation of a scenographic world will be investigated, from how research informs the design, to development of ground plans and elevations. Basic model making techniques and the use of Photoshop as a rendering tool will also be explored. All elements surveyed will be illuminated with field trips, films and guest lecturers.
ENV 283 Time and Place 3 credits
A roadside diner in 1950’s Baltimore. A walk through a tropical rain forest. A decadent Parisian dance hall. A mythic elfin kingdom. Each evocative of a particular time and place. But to bring these worlds fully to life requires an understanding of each world in all its complexities, and that means research. Unfortunately, for many, research conjures up images of high school term papers. And yet, research is the back bone upon which so much creative expression is built. It is a well spring from which the artist may draw inspiration. And yet so few understand how to do that. It is the intention of this course to show you how. And so whether your interests lie in film, illustration, exhibit design, scenic design, the digital arts, painting or whatever, you will discover how much richer your work will be if you simply understand how to do explore various times and places and to make use of what you find there. Students will discover the many areas that can be investigated and manifest their explorations as miniature environments, illustrative renderings or computer models. Students will also study landmark films and, by engaging in “reverse research,” discover the study that went into achieving that particular work’s unique artistic vision. In short students will discover how history is part of the creative process and how to take advantage of it. Field trips to various museum installations are also planned.
ENV 284 Time and Place 3 credits
3 credits. Coberg. offered fall. A roadside diner in 1950’s Baltimore. A walk through a tropical rain forest. A decadent Parisian dance hall. A mythic elfin kingdom. Each evocative of a particular time and place. But to bring these worlds fully to life requires an understanding of each world in all its complexities, and that means research. Unfortunately, for many, research conjures up images of high school term papers. And yet, research is the back bone upon which so much creative expression is built. It is a well spring from which the artist may draw inspiration. And yet so few understand how to do that. It is the intention of this course to show you how. And so whether your interests lie in film, illustration, exhibit design, scenic design, the digital arts, painting or whatever, you will discover how much richer your work will be if you simply understand how to do explore various times and places and to make use of what you find there. Students will discover the many areas that can be investigated and manifest their explorations as miniature environments, illustrative renderings or computer models. Students will also study landmark films and, by engaging in “reverse research,” discover the study that went into achieving that particular work’s unique artistic vision. In short students will discover how history is part of the creative process and how to take advantage of it. Field trips to various museum installations are also planned.
ENV 286 Time&Place:CreatngTheat'clSpc 3 credits
“All the world’s a stage!” It would be better to say, The stage is all the world! Where else can you create the Egypt of the Pharaohs, Chicago during the Jazz Era, the French Quarter or Dickensian London? “The play’s the thing!” Learn how to make the verbal, visual. Discover the techniques necessary to take the written description of a setting and make it a physical reality; a three dimensional world through which characters move. What is the image for a play? What are the various theatrical styles available to a designer? What is the correct dramatic space and how do you find it? What is a theatrical ground plan and how do you draw it? What are sightlines and how do they affect the shape of a set? What is a white model and how do you build one? What are paint elevations? In short, what is the theatrical design process? These, and more questions, will be answered though the designing of two theatrical works, from concept to completion. Classes will be illuminated with tours of local production facilities, as well as by guest lecturers from the world of professional theatre.
ENV 287 Scenic Design II 3 credits
Continuing the exploration into the world of theatrical design, this course will focus on those dramatic works that make use of multiple settings to tell their tale, and exist in a place beyond the literal. In designing such productions, students will learn to understand the arc of a play, the manner in which scenes flow from one to another, and how to create a setting that allows for many different places to exist within the same dramatic space. Furthermore, students will learn how to move beyond the physical reality of a dramatic work into a more emotional and conceptually driven approach to a theatrical environment. Students will explore a design from concept to completion, going from an image for the play to designer drawings. Pre-requisite: ENV 286
ENV 295 Models and Miniatures 3 credits
Without a model to climb, King Kong would have been left standing on the animation table. Without a miniature (though they called them bigatures) “The Lord of the Rings” would have been minus a Minas Tirith. Learn the techniques, the materials, the digital processes used in creating the miniature worlds so necessary for both stage and screen. Once the basics are mastered, students will research, design and then build a miniature environment of their own choosing, be it set in a realistic or fantastical world. Patience required.
ENV 309 Art, Artists, and the City 3 credits
In this unique hybrid studio / seminar, we will consider the relationship between art and urban revitalization, with a focus on recent, top-down efforts by cities and states to use the arts, history and culture as tools for revitalization. Taking Central Baltimore and its Station North Arts District as our focus, the studio will ask students to work with members of the Central Baltimore community to analyze and assess existing arts-based revitalization strategies, and then make recommendations for improving them. Ultimately, the studio’s goal will be to produce a collection of arts-based design and planning ideas for Central Baltimore, ranging in scale from vision plans, to temporary events, to small-scale, implementable interventions. A book and a website that document the semester's analyses and projects will be made in order to contribute to the real dialogue about the revitalization of the neighborhoods in Central Baltimore. This is studio is part of a 6 credit sequence and students must be enrolled in both ENV 309 and AH 470B. By permission of instructor only.

Concurrent enrollment in AH 370 required, total 6 credits.

ENV 311 Artifacts & Residue 3 credits
The way we experience and perceive the world affects our decisions and informs our creative processes in which we choose to express ideas. The focus of this course is to bring emphasis/study to the student/participant as to their presence in this universe through methods of phenomenology. The intent is to provide a series of organic explorations, through which the student/participant will indulge in an examination of self and the environmental context. Participants are encouraged to question their own values and perceptions. As these questions arise, the student/participant must be able to explore and delineate, perhaps further evolving the process in that an idea presents itself and perceptions form. The results of these explorations will be delineated through various mediums chosen by the students/participants (sketch, paint, film, image, form, written and/or spoken word, music, whatever methods may convey the idea or message). This course is an empty canvas, an opportunity to explore boundaries and perceptions, all which affect our creative process, in turn the environment in which we inhabit. NOTE: There is a $250 fee for this course.
ENV 314 Baltimore Hist. Preservation 3 credits
An introduction to how artists and designers play a crucial role in how we understand history. Students are exposed to the fundamental issues and techniques used in the fields of historical preservation, restoration, and archaeology. In the real world, artists and designers are intimately involved in all aspects of these fields and this class is no different. Each semester the class partners with a real, historic place in the greater Baltimore area and works with professionals in a team-based setting to enhance the public’s understanding of history. This course is recommended for any student wishing to gain professional experience by working on a diverse, trans-disciplinary team engaged in a real-world project. Presentations of these projects are made at the end of each semester to the directors and their staff of the projects undertaken. May be repeated for up to 6 credits.
ENV 328 The Mill: Hist. & Reconstruct. 3 credits
Linchester Mill, Carloline County on the Eastern Shore of Maryland is a small mill town and mill, which has its origins as early as 1681. The mill building (owned by the Caroline County Historical Society) and its environment will be documented using techniques if field measurements, free hand technical drawings, research and field trips to other mills in Maryland, to develop a philosophy and interpretive program toward the restoration of the mill itself and the redevelopment of the town environment. The class will travel to the site and work with the Caroline County Historical Society and the instructor, John Wilson, a member of its board of directors.
ENV 330 The Urban Environment 3 credits
This course looks at the city through the multi-disciplinary lens of environmental design. Readings from fiction and non-fiction, film viewings of works such as Blade Runner and Metropolis, and selected field trips in the Baltimore area present a broad view of the physical urban environment. This wide-range of materials is divided into thematic sections that explore the physical presentation of urban concerns such as race, gender, class, safety, and publicness. Each student is expected to make a final project, with the media of their choice, that documents Baltimore's urban environment through one of the class themes.
ENV 337 Baltimore Maritime Studio 3 credits
Utilizes the historic ship as a vehicle to allow students to formulate a vision for their professional future and enables students to begin making this vision a reality. Students work together in teams towards specific goals, using real-time design projects. Teams document, study, and interpret a selected ship, using methods and techniques of institutions that professionally preserve and interpret historical ships. The class learns the elements of ship design, develop criteria for evaluation of the proposed ship restoration, and design an interpretation facility, using design drawings, renderings, architectural models, and computerrelated presentation techniques. The class is co-taught by a professional naval architect and in collaboration with various museums and maritime societies. May be repeated for up to 6 credits.
ENV 338 Innovation & Precedent 3 credits
AAs designers, we are caught in the complex relationship between innovation and precedent. Technical and specialist information, critical to the innovative designer, is rooted in precedent, both contemporary and historical. This course is an immersive learning experience in the complex ways in which the innovating mind of the designer learns from and uses precedents for the purposes of understanding architectural history, materials, and details and structures. The course is taught in a highly participatory and interactive environment, which focuses on integrated and qualitative knowledge. It aims to give students valuable experience in how to investigate and use historic precedents as a learning resource, how to understand the relationship between innovation and precedent to self motivate and pursue individual research, and how to appreciate design competence as multi-faceted and yet integrated effort.

Concurrent Enrollment in ENV 387 Required for ENV Majors Non-Majors need permission to waive co-requisite.

ENV 355 Waterworks 3 credits
In this advanced Environmental Design studio, we will work with poetic and practical aspects of water in the urban environment. Addressing global issues of climate change and conservation of resources, we will be working with local non-profit, community and city organizations in east Baltimore to help us pinpoint where and how our efforts will be most effective. By looking at the local conditions of storm water, parks, underutilized places and opportunities for improvement, students are encouraged to develop water-based art and design proposals that will be supported within the community. Proposals can be sculptural, design-based, or socially driven and take on forms in the language of landscape, architecture, as objects or events. Collaborations are encouraged. We will be working collaboratively with IS 355. Suited for undergrads in sculpture and environmental design, these courses are excellent elective options for MACA and MASD students.
ENV 377 Living with Climate Change 3 credits
Climate change is arguably the most important challenge affecting our future and shaping the environment we live in. Artists and designers need to be cognizant of and engaged in the complex relationships between the built environment and the processes of climate change if the needs of the groups most vulnerable to its effects, i.e. those who are least able to mitigate or adapt, are to be represented. Students will learn about climate change processes and impacts, including their inequitable distribution, the role of cities, current strategies for mitigation and adaptation on local and global levels through a selection of global case studies and including innovative examples from artists and designers, and finally how climate change is often driven by the global north (or local rich) and suffered by the south (or local poor). In addition to papers and exams, students will research and develop an individual area of focus and will be asked to address a social or physical problem as a studio project within their discipline of practice.
ENV 386 Object Design IV 3 credits
This new course introduces students to the interface between graphic design, industrial design, and other components of the successful innovative product development and marketing. First, students are “deep diving” into the user world to observe and document the “why behind the why.” Then teams process the information, pinpoint the real “why,” and brainstorm the new product concept. The development process includes 2D and 3D sketches, mockups, and communication materials. Students not only develop new product designs but also concentrate on communicating the features of the design, including structural packaging, POP, marketing campaigns, advertising, and websites.

Prerequisite: ENV 366

ENV 387 Arch Design and Strategies II 3 credits
In this three-credit continuation of ENV 367, students apply conceptual and spatial skills developed in the first semester and examine a series of real-world project sites through an architectural process of analysis and synthesis. Working from the armature of the architectural program, students are invited to join the discourse of this potent and timehonored art form and are encouraged to explore the cultural and formal expressions unique to this field. Integrating formal, cultural, and historical perspectives, each project is tailored to bring into focus a different aspect of the complexity and richness of the architectural language. Students are encouraged to work in a wide range of drawing, building, and digital media and to incorporate personal interests and related course work into their studio experience. Prerequisite: ENV 350.

Prerequisite: ENV 367 and concurrent enrollment in ENV 338

ENV 390 Design Build 3 credits
This class is dedicated to the collaborative design and construction of public installations. MICA has partnered with the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) to design and build an installation in McKeldin Square by the Inner Harbor. The installation is an evolutionary sculpture that is added to, subtracted from, or manipulated with successive classes. Each semester will be divided into design sessions and fabrication/installation sessions. The class benefits from diverse areas of expertise - sculpture, environmental design, fibers, painting, animation, graphic design, and the community arts. The class focuses on 'real-world' conditions, how to provide and adapt for them, generating documents for constructing the installation - including construction and fabrication details. We will then make provisions for material procurement, organize assembly means and methods, and construct the installation. The diversity of the team is important to the collaborative effort, and students will learn to work in a team environment, assisting with their own expertise while getting educated by the expertise of others.
ENV 400 Urban Design 3 credits
Introduces urban design in a studio format and covers issues of form, spatial relationships, and the mix of intention and circumstances to shape our cities. Students look at the city at a variety of scales: the street, park, and larger civic spaces. They examine the forces such as geography, transportation, political structure, and others that influence the design of cities. To build an understanding of urban processes, students look at cities through a variety of lenses, namely experiential, historic, and political. The studio includes research, readings, and short-term and longer-term projects. The longer term project includes looking at a site within Baltimore City in collaboration with the Baltimore City Department of Planning. The class concentrate on urban areas of Baltimore but look at other American cities and cities around the world as well.
ENV 410 ENV Thesis Studio 1 3 credits
Thesis students are expected to develop a body of work that reflects specific convictions as a designer, their most profound work as a conceptual thinker, and their highest level of craft as a maker. The thesis gives the student an opportunity to pursue questions, explore ideas, and formulate a response as a body of work particular only to the student’s career at MICA. Students are encouraged to select one of the department’s four themes to both fulfill a concentration and provide inspiration for their career. Environmental design majors only.

Prerequisite: ENV 387 or permission of Chairperson or concurrent enrollment in ENV 366

ENV 480 ENV Thesis Studio 2 3 credits
During this studio, the student will develop the thesis project constructed and begun in Thesis 1. The course instructors and visiting critics will provide a framework for the students’ independent pursuit of the project. Each student will develop his or her own project requirements in response to the criticism provided during class and at formal reviews. Students are expected to demonstrate the ability to conduct a complex spatial or object design investigation; to engage in social and professional criticism and produce a conceptually sophisticated body of work that is crafted to professional standards. An electronic book of the thesis project, a hard copy of the electronic book and a compilation of high quality digital images are required to be submitted at the time of the final review.

Prerequisite: ENV 410 or permission of Chairperson