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Tectonics 3


Tectonics 3

Number: ARCH 653
Credits: 3
Format: In person

Semester: Fall
Meeting Times: Mon/Wed 9:30-11:00
Room: Olver Design Building 312

LMS Link


Alexander Schreyer,
M.A.Sc., Dipl.-Ing.

Senior Lecturer and BCT Program Director

Office: Olver Design Building 318
Phone: +1 (413) 545-1976

Office Hours | Faculty Page | LinkedIn

Course Description

This course explores the interrelations between building functions, loads, structural system, materials and construction methods. Topics addressed are structural building layout, design, structural detailing, and documentation of predominantly large-scale buildings and other structures made of steel, concrete, engineered wood and masonry.

Students will be exposed to a wide range of topics centered around structural systems and will be encouraged to develop an integrated approach to planning that considers efficient and appropriate structural solutions. Concept-based design projects and assignments will provide an opportunity to practice this approach.

Emphasis is placed in this course on development of efficient structural form, conceptual and preliminary structural design (using software and approximate calculation methods), integrated design and structural detailing.

This course covers NAAB-requirements for structural systems.

Pre-requisite: Tectonics 2 (or BCT 530/330) or equivalent knowledge of mechanics.

Learning Goals

  • Understanding of the interrelation of structural materials, systems, and building shape.
  • Awareness of the creative potential of structures.
  • Understanding of the most common loads, their relative magnitudes, applications, and considerations for design.
  • Understanding of effects of material capacities and building regulations on structural layout.
  • Awareness of structurally optimal and efficient design.
  • Ability to create a feasible, preliminary structural layout and perform sizing of a building’s gravity systems. Ability to conceptualize lateral force resisting systems.
  • Understanding of structural design software and its use for digital modeling of structures.


  • Building Structures Illustrated / Ching / 2nd. Ed. / J. Wiley & Sons / ISBN-13: 978-1118458358

It would also be helpful if you still have access to the text from Tectonics 2:

  • Statics and Strength of Materials for Architecture and Building Construction / Onouye, Kane / 4th Ed. / Prentice Hall / ISBN-13: 978-0135079256 

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