Course Syllabus

Architecture  Foundations Studio - SA

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Søren A, 21-1.jpg

Semester & Location:

Summer - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Core Course 6 credits

Major Disciplines:

Design, Graphic Design, Studio Art


Documented background in fine arts or studio art, or completion of a course in drawing at university level. Basic knowledge of one or more programs in the Adobe Creative Suite.

Corequisite Course(s):

Enrollment in the studio simultaneously enrolls you in the 1-credit Visual Journal course


Søren Amsnæs, 

Program Director:

Natalie Jeffers-Hansen,

Time & Place:

Studio space V10-A23 - See Canvas calendar below for dates and times

Visual Journal:

For the Visual Journal 1-credit component refer to Visual Journal course on Canvas.

Description of course:

The Design Studio is the core course of the summer program, and required for all AD students. Design projects are the basis for learning in the studio and will be the basis for discussions, presentations, and the development of individual design skills. The studios at DIS emphasize the awareness and knowledge of designing for a context outside your own and use Copenhagen as an ‘urban laboratory’ for exploration and precedent study. Project work will be done both individually and in teams.                                                          

Learning objectives across DIS design studio courses:

To enhance the individual student’s

Design Knowledge:

Building an understanding of the Danish and Scandinavian architecture and design tradition - historic as well as contemporary - through the work on assignments, and the study of precedents and case studies in studio

Design Experiences:

Exploring Danish, Scandinavian and Northern European architecture and design on field studies and study tours as well as through the exposure to Danish, Scandinavian and European faculty in studio

Design Skills:

Studying and working with Danish and Scandinavian architecture and design methods and philosophies shaped by democratic, humanistic, and contextual aspirations

  • Democratic: We believe design matters to society, its well-being and progress, and our common sanity
  • Humanistic: We believe design must care for people, at all levels, in their common and individual everyday, and for the environment as the habitat for human activity
  • Contextual: We believe design connects us to what we share – the common ground, history, identity, and each other.

Learning objectives specific for this course:

The Architecture Foundation Studio serves as an introduction to the discipline of architecture and design in a Scandinavian context.

Students in this course will gain experience and knowledge of architecture and design by;

  • Study and working with basic tools in architecture such as plan, sections and spatial representations to develop architectural understanding and language
  • Study and working with the context to gain an understanding of the values of the location for example daylight, topography, urban context and other site-specific relations
  • Exploring conceptual design development through sketching, model-making, research and observations.
  • Study and working with the detailing and understanding of the value of materials, texture as well as sustainability.
  • Developing student’s individual portfolio by carrying out two design projects in the course of one semester from initial design challenge to finished presentation of design solutions.
  • Strengthening oral presentation skills by presenting finished architectural proposals to professionals from the architectural community in Copenhagen.

In the Architecture Foundation Program there are no expectations to students skills regarding experience with computer program to develop a project.

Focus (and grading) will be based on the grading rubric and in particular on the understanding of concept, context, function, light, scale and to document the process.

During the semester students are challenged to execute the presentation of the projects through analogue processes with hand drawings, model making and light studies.

Students will be introduced to relevant digital programs to be able to communicate spatial and architectural ideas and intentions.

To support an understanding and to develop a language to communicate architectural ideas students will be introduced to a compendium reviewing basic tools and definitions as well as readings regarding basic architecture experiences and observations.


Søren Amsnæs: Architect M.A.A. (Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, 1983). Employment with PLH Architechts, Homann Architects. Since 1988, own office specializing in visualization and project presentation for clients in Denmark and abroad. With DIS since 2012.

Required texts:

Reading material for studio will be distributed by the studio faculty on Canvas.

Approach to Teaching

Studio instruction is a combination of one-on-one tutoring, discussions, and occasional lectures. The studios are organized as vertical studios, meaning that students of different levels will be taught within the same studio. Expectations will therefore relate to each individual student and their respective level of experience.  Studio work will include individual as well as team assignments, both of which are considered important as preparation for later work in the profession. 

Field Studies and Study Tours

The field studies and study tours of the Architecture and Design Program at DIS form an integral part of the learning process. We travel to places to learn through experience and through analysis. We travel to places to understand and ultimately, to become better architects and designers.

Field Studies

During the summer you will go on faculty led field studies to sites relevant for your studio assignment. These field studies will allow you to study and analyze architecture in and around Copenhagen and are integral to your individual design development as well as to the advancement of your studio project.

Long Study Tour

The week-long study tour will expand your frame of personal experience from Copenhagen to include other countries in Scandinavia. This is an opportunity to compare what you have studied thus far in Denmark with a larger Scandinavian context and in turn with your previous experiences from your home country. Visits will be to both contemporary and historical sites to provide background for understanding the design context you experience today.


An open house exhibition is held at the end of the semester. Works from all Architecture, Graphic Design, Interior Architecture, and Urban Design studios, as well as from the Furniture Design in Scandinavia program are exhibited. Details issued in due time by your faculty and on Canvas.

Expectations of the students

You are expected to be fully engaged in the studio discourse, be prepared for each individual desk critique, be present in studio during all sessions, be present throughout the presentation sessions, and to invest time outside of studio hours developing projects.

Students are expected to check DIS Canvas daily. The most current schedule including last-minute changes will be maintained here. Readings and other relevant course material will be posted here for downloading.

Design Community

On Design Community on Canvas, which you have also been given access to, you can find department-wide resources, links and communication. Remember to check resources and announcements issued on Design Community throughout your time at DIS.

Evaluation & Grading

Evaluation is based on daily work in studio and on final presentations. Assignments are generally presented to a panel of jurors including the student’s own instructor. Grades are given by the instructor in accordance with other jurors.

To be eligible for a passing grade, you must complete all of the assigned work.

The final grade is determined as follows:



Assignment 1 - Process


Assignment 1 - Presentation


Evaluation Criteria for Assignments

Studio Process - Evaluation in studio is based on the following:

  • Approach: Student is motivated, positive, engaged in the project and in all studio activities, attending and prepared for every session in studio, inquisitive, self-critical, receptive to input from both faculty and fellow students.
  • Production: Student is diligent, productive, continuously engaged in sketching, prototyping, model making, and other forms of physical/digital design development, to support the progress of the project and the dialogue with faculty.
  • Innovation: Student is creative and experimenting, continuously willing to push the project forward, exploring different design opportunities, oriented towards generating unique design solutions.

 Final Presentation - Evaluation is based on completion of design goals agreed upon by student and studio faculty, and the criteria presented below:

  • Completeness: Student presents the required deliverables - well-crafted drawings, models and other visual presentation material - to convincingly communicate the scope and content of the project in a meaningful and creative manner.
  • Delivery: Student orally presents the project in a well-prepared and organized way, communicating the project intentions in a professional manner and engaging in a receptive and reflective dialogue with critics.
  • Design: Student presents a final product of high artistic quality that convincingly shows a conceptually clear and well-motivated design solution where the elements of the brief have been explored thoroughly and creatively.

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 Due