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1st semester studios project, MID student Zoe Nemetz


Learn basic design skills in a collaborative environment.


This information applies ONLY to students beginning their degree program in the Fall of 2013 or later.

Today's design professions draw upon a shared fluency in creative thinking and problem-solving. Architecture, interior architecture, landscape architecture and the emerging design professions require skills in reading, writing, visual representation, critical thinking and research that are shared across these fields. Foundation works to develop students' design and technical skills; understanding of spatial relationships, human scale, and materiality; critical reading, writing, and research capabilities; and awareness of the design industry and professional practice, all of which are required to succeed in Segments II (Integration) and III (Synthesis). Taken together, these skills form a foundation of abilities that allow designers to generate and communicate ideas to each other and to the world at large. 

The Boston Architectural College Foundation program allows students to learn basic design skills in a collaborative learning environment. Students begin developing intellectual, professional and social networks that will serve them in their academic endeavors and extend to a lifetime of engagement with design and designers. Boundary-crossing networks expand creative possibilities by bringing together different ways of thinking and differing priorities.

The Foundation program, consisting of 30 credits, can be completed in two semesters by a student who is taking a full-time academic course load. Beginning with City Lab, a unique introduction to the BAC and to Boston, the student in first-semester Foundation learns to integrate design and thinking skills in the areas of collaboration and community, critical reading and research, design representation, and application of design methods and creative problem solving. The Foundation program is offered both at the graduate and at the undergraduate levels. 

Semester One Foundation - 15 credits

3 credits     City Lab* - collaboration and community
3 credits     Transdisciplinary Studio 1 - design methods and creative problem solving
3 credits     Visual Thinking (master's degree) or Design Representation (bachelor's degree) - graphic representation of design ideas
3 credits     Design Theory and Inquiry (master's degree) or Critical Reading and Research 1 (bachelor's degree)
3 credits     Liberal Studies Elective (bachelor's) or a discipline- specific history survey (master's) introducing students to the broader contexts within which their design thinking will be practiced

Critical Thinking and problem solving continue in the second semester of Foundation. Bachelor's degree students in all four on-site degree programs share the common Foundation. Master's degree students take the shared Foundation courses of Sustainable Material Assemblies, Making and Modeling, and Community Practice, and take courses specific to their discipline beginning in the second semester.

Semester Two Foundation - 15 credits
3 credits     Sustainable Material Assemblies - understanding how the built environment is put together
3 credits     Making and Modeling - graphic and three dimensional representations of design ideas
3 credits     Community Practice - introduction to the practice of delivering a project in the real world
3 credits     Transdisciplinary Studio 2 (bachelor's only)
3 credits     Critical Reading and Research 2 (bachelor's only)

All Master's degree students take a Studio (3 credits) in their discipline. Architecture and Interior Design students take a Design Theory and History course (3 credits) in their discipline; Landscape Architecture students take two 1.5-credit courses in Landscape Representation.

Foundation Portfolio Review
Upon completion of the 30 credits of the Foundation program, the student submits a portfolio for review by the College. Successful completion of the Portfolio Review demonstrates the student's understanding and ability to reflectively synthesize the learning of the Foundation program. Read more at Foundation Portfolio Review.

Foundation Practice Assessment
(applies to all programs except MDS and online tracks)

The Foundation Assessment introduces students to the Practice assessment process. It is separate from the Foundation Portfolio Review and is incorporated into the FND2003: Community Practice course which occurs in a student's second semester. Based on coursework completed during CityLab and Community Practice, students develop graphic evidence which is assessed by their course instructor and a Practice Examiner at the end of the semester.

It is the moment when the instructor and examiner determine the student's initial Skill Level, provide suggestions about future assessments, give career guidance, and discuss the student's short-term and long-term Professional Development goals. The student will receive a copy of their Foundation Assessment Student Learning Contract (SLC) from their instructor.

Preparing for your Foundation Practice Assessment
The Community Practice Instructor will work with students to prepare for their Foundation Assessment.

Scheduling your Foundation Practice Assessment
The Community Practice Instructor will announce the day and time of the Foundation Practice Assessment.