Back to classes

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Classes at Nanjing University are in full swing again and it’s been a bit of an effort to keep up. I am thankful that this term’s class load is much lighter than last term. Most of my classes this semester are lecture based and other than a few projects we aren’t really doing much conceptual designing. The positive view of that means I am not tied up for hours on end in the studio, unfortunately it also means that I am not doing much actual design work (it’s ok I have a job for that).

If you are interested in what it’s like to study architecture in China, here is a list of classes I am taking this term.

City Patterns and Research: sociology in the urban setting. Not only is this more of a sociology class than one dealing in city planning but it’s also from 6:30-8:30pm after a very long Monday. I probably sound like an undergraduate freshman complaining about night classes but it’s really difficult to enjoy this class.

Architectural history special topics: from what I have gathered thus far this class is a history of early dynastic architecture in China. When it comes to learning in a second language this is the class that is most difficult for me. I love the history of the class but there are some many professional and specialized words, that I find myself looking at my dictionary as much as the professors power point.

Chinese Wooden Construction: This is taught by my thesis advisor and while it leans more towards a historical overview, we also get to look at modern applications. Not only am I really happy to be taking a class with my advisor (he is a magnificent instructor and his classes are extremely interesting) but he also has us building little wooden contraptions which I will probably have to share on the blog later.

Architectural Systems Integration: I actually opted to take the extra course credit in this class. We are discussing building systems, integration and building performance. It’s a lot for someone who didn’t study architecture in undergrad but it’s good to know that I am catching up on knowledge I will be able to apply later on. Taking the extra course credit means that apart from the normal course load, I have several projects to finish before the end of the term. I already did a presentation in class about how green roofs can improve building performance and our next assignment is to analyze the building performance of a structure on campus.

Architectural Cinematography: I’ll admit it, I picked this class because it’s easy really interesting. I have had the professor before and really like his teaching style. Also, learning how to capture a building or a space on film really helps with presentations and will be helpful in the office. Besides, it gets me out of the classroom and lets me run around campus looking at buildings and thinking about composition and creative angles to capture the feeling a building creates.

On the 9th week of the term most of my classes will end and I will pick up two new ones: Architectural Environmental Studies and the theory section of my City Pattern and Research class (which is taught by the dean of the department). I can only guess what those classes will be like but it’s not the only thing that will change. I will also be beginning projects with my thesis advisor at that point. It seems like the excitement never ends.

Recently I posted a question in the architecture group on LinkedIn asking what classes other people in my field took or are taking. I am really interested in what kind of differences there are in architecture programs in China and other countries! I’m hoping to get some constructive feedback and find out just how different my education has been thus far! 

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