ARCH 122 - Visual Communications II is an intensive two-credit hour course offered at Penn State University - Department of Architecture and is designed to introduce first year students to digital design and fabrication tools and technologies used in both the development of architectural form and the representation of architectural ideas.The goal of the course is two-fold: to introduce students to computational design thinking through the use of digital design and fabrication technologies, and to develop their 2D and 3D graphic communication skills.
The students are exposed to fundamentals of modern geometry and its applications in architectural design. Core topics of the course cover Euclidean constructions, regular and semi-regular tessellations, Platonic and Archimedian solids in an attempt to introduce students with the foundations of modern geometry. The students are also exposed to computational design theories and algorithmic thinking. While geometric knowledge helps students build precisely controlled geometrical compositions, algorithms become the exploratory tools to investigate emergent forms of design.
Besides an understanding of computational design thinking, weekly in-class and take-home exercises expose students to the tools available to architects for the visual communication of ideas and design documentation. The course provides instruction in the graphic language of architecture through 2D drafting and 3D modeling using digital tools. The aim is to help students develop their unique architectural language, define their own conventions, and to use digital tools in a creative way in the communication of design idea. A strong emphasis is placed on the translations between the digital and the physical, whether it is a 2D printout or a 3D physical artifact. The students are exposed to diverse digital fabrication methods (i.e. laser cutting, cnc milling, 3D printing) to use them not only to represent but also to generate design ideas.