Environmental Design (Second Semester)


Gwenn Woods 

Course Time:
This course is offered on Tuesdays.

Please note, this is a 1 semester / .5 credit class
that is only offered in the SECOND SEMESTER.



Course Pre-Requisites:

  • This course is open to 9th - 12th grade students.

Course Text:

  • none required

Course Description:
We are all designers, created in the image of the Grand Designer.
This course is an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of environmental design.
Particular attention is given to basic design concepts, visualization, visual analysis,
imagination, and creativity.

This course develops a basic design literacy, including what design is, how design comes about, and why design is important.  Students will learn basic problem solving methods and skills to tackle simple design problems in architecture, interior design, landscape design, and environmental graphics.

Students are introduced to a basic vocabulary of three-dimensional form making and space making, and they learn to solve simple design problems methodically, with creativity and imagination.  Design exercises are integrated with skill-building assignments.

Additionally, the course introduces fundamental principles of design composition:
the elements and principles of design, and the organization of space, circulation, and scale.

The history of design and historical methods will be discussed.

Elements and principles of design will be used to explore spatial and conceptual relationships. 

Designs will be developed through research, sketching, and orthographic drawing.
Students will learn what it is like to work in the design industry by exploring career possibilities
and the background needed to pursue them.

Through studio projects, students try their hand at designing as they learn the basics of design.


Course Content:

  • Fundamentals of Design- Introduction to the visual and verbal vocabulary of design. Application of the elements and principles in the areas of design, including architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, and visual communication / environmental graphics.

  • Design Process- An introduction to the design process and phases of design, including programming, schematic design, and conceptual design phases.

  • Components of Design- An introduction to basic materials, components, and factors such as concepts of space, form, function, accessibility, human factors, space planning, etc.

  • Design Communication- Focus on the use of sketching and drawing as a means of visually communicating solutions to design problems - including orthographic drawing, floor plans, elevations, sections, etc. We will also explore the concept of using built environments and communication to effectively display a message to the viewer.




Course Objectives:

By the end of the semester, it is expected that the student

will understand the following concepts and practices:

  • Develop an awareness of what design is, how design comes about,
    and why design is important.

  • To provide an introduction to design education relative to the environmental design professions of architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, and visual communications.

  • Classify careers from entry to professional level.

  • Explore entrepreneurship opportunities in the design industry.

  • Establish a basic understanding about the design process: the nature of design decisions, the factors which influence design, and the solutions, vocabularies, and analytic processes that are critical to successful design.

  • Define and illustrate the elements of design.

  • Define and illustrate the principles of design.

  • Recognize types of construction.

  • Develop an awareness of political and social climates on design.

  • Examine the positive and negative impact that a design product has on the environment.

  • Identify the characteristics of design styles.

  • Identify the factors that impact design choices.

  • Apply the principles and elements of design in selecting a design project.

  • Interpret written directions for assembling / constructing a design project.

  • Develop an understanding of the role of the design professional in society and of the value and importance of the designed environment.

  • To provide a set of design experiences whereby the student is motivated to express his / her creativity and can assess his / her personal interest in and commitment to the design profession if they so desire.





Tentative Course Schedule:

  • Intro to Course / Design Process / Elements and Principles of Design / How Design Disciplines Intersect.

  • Design Process

  • Architecture - Form / Structure / Function / Content / History / Career Opportunities

  • Basic Drafting / Orthographic Drawing (Plan and Elevation) Hand Lettering Basics

  • Architecture Project Studio

  • Architecture Project Studio / Critique

  • Introduction to Interior Design / History / Careers / Elements / Principles

  • Interior Design - Design Process Function / Space Planning / Finishes / Lighting / Furniture

  • Basic Drafting (Floor Plan)

  • Interior Design Project Studio

  • Interior Design Project Studio / Critique


  • Introduction to Landscape Architecture / Design Process / Careers / Elements / Principles

  • Landscape Architecture / Function / Form / Sociology / Environmental Psychology / Planning

  • Landscape Architecture Project Studio

  • Landscape Architecture Project Critique

  • Introduction to Environmental Graphics / History / Careers / Elements / Principles

  • Environmental Graphics Project Studio

  • Environmental Graphics Project Studio / Critique


Course Class Time:

  • This is a combination lecture / studio class.

  • After a lesson on the material, most of our time will be used for studio production and practice.

Course Homework Requirements:

  • There will be one research-based project (topic will be student’s choice) throughout the semester.

  • Students can expect to have 4-5 hours of homework each week and will be working on projects that were started in class.

Late Policy:
Projects will be accepted late, however, students cannot receive full credit for a late project.
Late projects must be handed in by the end of the quarter and will be lowered one more letter grade.


  • 50%  class portfolio projects
    This will make up the majority of the student work in the class. The student’s focus, attitude and participation are critical to their success in this class. Most of the work will be initiated in class and completed at home. Students will be instructed what supplies to bring to each class.

  • 30%  sketchbook exercises
    Students will be responsible for keeping a sketchbook throughout the semester and bringing it every time they have class.  Sketchbook entries can consist of a combination of drawings, sketches, observations, ephemera, and ideas related to the course. Students are encouraged to do their sketches for class portfolio projects in their sketchbooks. Having a sketchbook can provide opportunities for an exploration of visual language in design. It is a place for invention and experimentation with ideas, techniques and media. At the same time, a student’s sketchbook can assist them in solving problems. It is a place where one can examine and revise ideas, and review one’s development. It is an interactive process, i.e. one that can be repeated again and again. It shows the development of a student’s concepts, as well as the journey and research undertaken through their projects. A sketchbook is part of the student’s practice as a designer, a think pad, a place to work out drawing problems, and a place to experiment. I encourage students to carry it around with them, personalize it, and use it every day. It should always be with them. (You never know what will inspire you!)

  • 10%  participation

    Punctuality, attendance, and participation in class and in critiques are critical aspects of the educational process. As this is an experience-based studio class, students will learn from myself and from their peers, so it is very important to be in class.

    We will conduct critiques periodically throughout the semester where students are expected to participate in discussion. These critiques are very important days in which students will get direct feedback from myself and their classmates.

  • 10%  midterm take-home exam (open note)

  • Students will receive a detailed rubric explaining the grading criteria for each project, and will receive a grade and written comments for each completed project.

  • Students can revise and resubmit a graded project for a higher grade with no penalty.
    This must be done by the next week of class.

Course Supplies:

  • 3” notebook

  • sketchbook

  • tracing paper (1 roll)

  • grid paper pad (found in drafting section) at least 9x12

  • 12” architects scale (Staedler)

  • compass

  • HB graphite drawing pencil

  • 10” 30/60/90-degree triangle

  • 10” 45-degree triangle

  • vinyl / plastic eraser

  • extra fine sharpie

  • foam core board / rubber cement for final projects


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