Spring 2022 Electives

Any 500 level or higher graduate course at UB may count as an elective in the M.Arch program. If a student wishes to take a course outside of the Department of Architecture, they must work with the department offering the course to register. The courses below are those offered by the Department of Architecture. Note that all of these courses have limited seats because they are dual listed with an undergraduate section.

Please note that additional technical methods and intellectual domain seminars can also be used as electives in the M.Arch program. 

ARC 526- Site Planning and Design- Matthew Roland


Examine the integration of context and requirements in site planning and design. Topics will include site selection, site assessment (including physiographic, biological, land use/zoning, infrastructure, cultural and historic contexts), design and implementation.  Topics may also include pedestrian movement and circulation; public transit; provisions for the handicapped; services and utilities; site preparation, earthwork, and foundations, site improvements (including landscaping) and sustainable design principles and standards.

ARC 528- Historic Preservation- Kerry Traynor


This course will begin by exploring the historic and theoretical underpinnings of historic preservation in the United States and abroad. We will then explore the contemporary practice of historic preservation - what has been done and why; how things are accomplished – economically; materially; legally; politically; culturally and how, as professionals, we can engage in an intellectual discourse concerning matters of preservation, conservation, restoration, re-use, and sometimes demolition. The approach to study will be based in theory – reading; writing; listening and discussing; and physical investigation – on-site discovery, inquiry, historic research and documentation.

ARC 588- Special Topics- Hadas Steiner


Course description pending. 

ARC 589- Special Topics- Charles Davis


Title: Constructing a Settler Colonial History of American Architecture

This course develops a settler colonial history of "American Architecture" that establishes a racial critique of the social, ethical and technical elements of the built environment. Key texts from Settler Colonial Theory, American Studies, Critical Race Theory and Whiteness Studies provide the intellectual basis for reinterpreting architectural case studies and texts across time, from the late 19th to the early 21st century. Students will work in groups to mine local and digital archives to reinterpret canonical case studies of American architecture, as well as to recover the lost contributions of people of color.

Sample Reading List:

  • Lorenzo Veracini. Settler Colonialism: A Theoretical Overview
  • Ariella Azoulay. Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism
  • Linda Marin Alcoff. The Future of Whiteness
  • Sven Beckert. Empire of Cotton: A Global History
  • Martin Berger. Site Unseen: Whiteness and American Visual Culture


ARC 590- Shinohara II- Georgios Rafailidis


In this course, we will continue the work we undertook in the seminar last semester and take a closer look at the domestic space in the work of the Japanese architect Kazuo Shinohara. He was arguably the most influential architect of modern Japan despite the fact that most of his built work (35 out of 42) consists of houses, most of them of modest scale. His work can be described as puzzling and enigmatic and can yield very different readings. In this course, we will have a look at further ten houses find out why his work has been so influential within architectural discourse. We will aim to develop our own idiosyncratic interpretation of Shinohara’s houses.

Students will be responsible for studying a single Shinohara house, understanding it intimately and presenting it to the class. Students will be expected to engage in weekly discussion during class.

ARC 592- Special Topics- Young Tack Oh


Title: Buffalo buffalo buffalo

We will explore anthropological approaches that find relevance in the colloquial and create a more holistic approach to socially constructed facets of the built environment. We will indulge the Situationist practice of dérive as an architectural device to discover the infraordinary, or quotidian spatial practices as written by Georges Perec, and ultimately produce a network of qualitative observations of the built environment, or modernology, as was practiced by Japanese architect Kon Wajirō. The aim of the class is to redefine accepted notions of data and find qualitative ways to represent them. Broader and more progressive understandings of the human condition will allow us to critically reexamine the historicism that defines architectural knowledge today. Looking at temporalities and nuances of meso and micro scale events throughout the city and employing anthropological fieldwork methods such as participant observations, surveys, and interviewsthe course will compile an archive of some of the overlooked, neglected, or forgotten forces that make up the fabric of Buffalo.

ARC 593- Special Topics (Dark Matter University)

Title: Foundations of Design Justice

The design professions cannot survive and thrive without immediate change toward an anti-racist model of education and practice. Foundations of Design Justice is an introductory seminar collaboratively created and taught by Dark Matter University to provide knowledge and tools for design students, teachers, and workers to move forward together. Design Justice advances collective liberation by challenging the privilege and power structures that use architecture and design as tools of oppression. This work takes place through critical understandings of historical contexts, the development of new forms of knowledge and practice in our present, and speculating on future radical efforts of racial, social, and cultural reparation, through the process and outcomes of design. This class introduces students to the practice of Design Justice by building a shared foundation of anti-racist forms of communal knowledge and spatial practices, grounded in lived experience. 

Throughout five modules, students will participate in weekly discussions and contribute reading reflections, module projects, and a final Design Justice Teach-in. The course is rooted in new forms of knowledge production, so students can expect to co-create this shared learning environment. Topics include design justice principles, community work and power building, infrastructure and neighborhood systems, the social and political dimensions of housing, and the role of labor and capital in the built environment. Students will hear from various guest speakers throughout the semester with expertise in each module topic. 

ARC 598-Special Topics- Mustafa Faruki


Course Title: The X Project

This proseminar will task students with re-thinking architectural education through the lens of our nation’s history of slavery and anti-black racism. Students will research this history with the goal of reimagining architecture courses at UB. Could the 3rd year regatta, for example, or the 4th year housing studio be reinvented to include a reckoning of our collective past of enslavement and apartheid? Students will work in groups to explore HOW YOU THINK YOUR architecture curriculum could be expanded to reflect not just our complicated history, but also the growing movement for social justice and anti-racist education - led by students - across America today.

Reading, film watching, podcast listening, syllabus writing, graphic designing, and discussing will be our primary activities. By the end of the seminar, students will propose their own courses that could possibly be taught - at UB and elsewhere - to the next generation of aspiring architects.

The course will consist of in-person strategy meetings, group research days, and remote sessions with visiting critics working across the design and education fields.

ARC 640- Computer Applications- Building Information Modeling (REVIT)- Albert Chao


Using technology for graphical representation has become a standard in Design practices. Understanding how technology can aid in the design, rather than inhibit creativity, has been a struggle in the emerging world of Architecture. Each professional needs to be able to leverage technology throughout the design and construction process to aid in such tasks as site planning, schematics, design development, analysis, construction documents and project management. In this course students will learn Autodesk Revit to aid in the design process and analysis, create construction documents, and render graphics for each stage of design.

Course Schedule

For more specific information on courses including scheduled times, days, modality and restrictions, please see the course schedule.