Course Syllabus


Semester & Location:

Summer - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Corequisite course - 1 credit

Core Course Study Tours:

Sweden/Finland or Sweden/Norway

Major Disciplines:


Faculty Members:

Maja Popovic

Søren Amsnæs

Heidi Grynderup Poulsen

Morten Noer Andersen

Jeanette Hendeliowitz

Birgitte Borup

Tina Midtgaard

Heinrich Mermann

Joshua Morrison 

Program Director:

Henning Thomsen,

Time & Place:

In studio and on two course dedicated one-day field studies

Thu 13 Jun + Thu 20 Jun (specifics issued by your studio faculty)

Course description:

The visual journal is an independent study, process-driven, analytical tool where students record drawn inquiries for this course, as well as for studio, study tours, and self-driven studies.

The focus is to develop skills on facilitating better explorations and understandings of what we perceive: observing, analyzing, and communicating the diverse conditions and possibilities of the physical environments and objects that surround us.

Using a visual journal on a daily basis will develop students abilities to draw, think critically and analyse in three dimensions and across different scales.

Learning objectives:


By the end of this course, the student will have furthered their ability to conduct self-initiated analysis of the physical environment through the use of a visual journal. The student will have the ability to develop an individual visual journal as praxis and tool for evaluating and reflecting upon the student’s own design processes.


The student will obtain a deeper knowledge of the various techniques essential to record and visually communicate design problems and solutions. Through on site analysis exercises, the student will gain insight into cultural identity in Copenhagen and beyond.


The student will become aware of how to see and think critically about the built environment and cultural identity surrounding them. They will develop their personal attitude to design issues concerning architecture, environment and culture.

Inspiring texts:

Crowe,Lasseau_Visual Notes for Architects and Designers.pdf

CULLEN_The Concise Townscape_The Architectural Press_1978.pdf


GAGG_Basics Interior Architecture 05 Textures + Materials_2012.pdf

LANGE_Colours of Copenhagen_1997.pdf

LASEAU_Graphic Thinking for Architects and Designers_2000.pdf

Mike, Yoshiaki; Sketch Now Think Later.pdf

Stephanie, Bower, Understanding_Perspective.pdf

Inspirational assignments (optional but a great way to get started):



VJ_Asn02_Human Interaction.pdf

VJ_Asn03_Serial Vision.pdf


Required Materials and Equipment:

Students are given a dedicated sketchbook at the beginning of summer.

Students are encouraged to use a wide range of drawing materials whether it be unique drawing tools or paper types.Charcoal, graphite, ink, sepia tones, paints and collage are some of the media to be explored on this course. Students should identify for themselves the most relevant and appropriate media to explore the given assignment. Students are welcome to ask the instructor or fellow students for advice and feedback in the critique sessions.

Approach to teaching:

Visual Journal is introduced in studio and on two course dedicated one-day field studies to various sites, buildings and public spaces in and around Copenhagen.

Expectations of the students:

Students are encouraged to be experimental and extend their representational abilities in free hand drawing, at the same time deepening their understandings of the design issues and problems.

Evaluation & Grading

As a minimum, each visual journal should include;

  • Your name, address, and name of studio faculty 
  • Entries from the two VJ field studies (clearly identified and labelled).
  • Entries from studio design projects, study tours, and field trips
  • Entries from independent, self motivated visual note taking.

Journals will be formally reviewed by the studio faculty at the end of the summer session.



Visual Journal Notebook


Evaluation based on:

  • Completeness: Student has documented observations from the entire summer session including field studies, studio project development, independent observations, and the long study tour.
  • Analysis: Student has employed a variety of analytical drawing techniques that display a multi-scalar and nuanced understanding of the object of study and its form, function, materiality, and context.
  • Technique: Student has displayed both an attention to detail and a sense of curiousity while exploring new visual notetaking techniques. These may include: orthographic projections, various diagrams, collages, light and materiality studies, mixed media, etc.

All work in the visual journals needs to be identified clearly for assessment purposes. Any work not identified will not be graded and as a result will bring down your final grade.

To be eligible for the pass grade in this class, you must complete all of the assigned work.

Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:


DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -

Course Summary:

Date Details