Fall 2020 - IAT 233 D100

Spatial Design (3)

Class Number: 7788

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 9 – Dec 8, 2020: Thu, 12:30–2:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Completion of 21 units, IAT 102, and IAT 106.



Designing and understanding spaces used by people. The iterative process of making and criticizing, experiencing and analyzing spatial form. Compositional ideas for form-making. Critical thinking applied to design. Computers are the principal medium used in this course for form-making and visualization.


Anyone visiting one of SFU’s campuses is asked to wear a non-medical mask in all indoor public areas. Public areas include building entryways and atriums, hallways, stairwells, washrooms and study areas.  Proper mask use procedures: https://www.worksafebc.com/en/resources/health-safety/posters/help-prevent-spread-covid-19-how-to-use-mask?lang=en


This course prepares students to spatial design by building on the foundation of knowledge and skill on representation such as sketching, digital and physical model making. It integrates spatial design skills by:

  • Using representations, e.g. sketching and modeling, apply design elements and principles for analyzing and creating spatial structures (including objects as an integral part of space) for human interaction.
  • Exploring syntactic rules considering their cultural and historical origins for composing three-dimensional spaces to accommodate various functional requirements considering individuals or groups, and their interaction.
  • Examining how human experience varies between physical and digital spatial environments in relation to temporality, movement, dimensions etc.
  • Developing an awareness of the interplay between the human body, human senses, and human activities in relation to the form and function in spatial design.
  • Applying computational design modeling to solve physical or virtual spatial design (e.g. games and animations) problems framed around human use, requirements, and variable design constraints.


  • 2 x Assignment (Individual) 20%
  • 4 x Mini Project (Teams or Individual) 60%
  • 2 x Quiz (Indvidual) 20%


Note-1: In case the course is delivered online and accessing the SIAT's computer and prototyping labs are limited or not available due to COVID-19 restrictions, the course activities will shift focus on digital representation with limited physical prototyping or modeling assignments. The lecture and lab activities will be on Canvas and other online meeting software, such as Zoom. The students are expected to access to computers capable of running Canvas, meeting software, as well as digital modeling software Rhino+Grasshopper and rendering software, e.g. TweanMotion. These will be discussed at the beginning of the term.

Note-2: The outline is subject to change.


Students are required to complete SFU Lab Safety Orientation offered by EHS, pass a test, and complete an in-lab orientation session to use the SolidSpace Lab.





The SIAT's prototyping lab will provide essential prototyping tools, 3D printer, Laser cutting. The basic material for 3D printing and laser cutting will also be covered as part of the lab fee. Students are required to supply their own sketchbook (without rules or grid lines), sketching tools  (e.g. pencils with different gauges and softness, eraser, ruler, compass etc.). The students are also expected to provide their low-fidelity prototyping material (e.g. cardboard, foamboard, acrylic, MDF) and tools (modeling knives, scissors, glues, masking tapes, etc.).


While we heavily use Rhino and Grasshopper parametric plug-in for modeling, this is not a software course. At the university level, we introduce conceptual and general approaches to design-modeling. We expect the students to self-learn some of the software features. We will recommend you online tutorials over the course of the semester that are available to public or SFU students.
  • 3D CAD/Rendering Software:
    • Rhino+Grasshopper for parametric modeling and rendering software, e.g. TweanMotion of Unreal.
  • 2D Software: ·         
    • Adobe Creative Suite (e.g. Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop)
    • MS Word, PowerPoint


Frank Ching. (2017). Architecture: Form, Space & Order, 4th ed. (4th Ed.). Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons.

Wucius Wong. (1977). Principles of Three-Dimensional Design. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co.

Flemming, Ulrich. (1990). Syntactic structures in architecture: teaching composition with computer assistance. Syntactic structures in architecture (pp. 31–48). MIT Press. Retrieved from https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=109152

Álvarez, R., & Duarte, F. (2018). Spatial Design and Placemaking: Learning From Video Games. Space and Culture, 21(3), 208–232.


Matthew Frederick. (2007). 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School (1 edition). The MIT Press; 1 edition.

George Hlavacs. (2014). The Exceptionally Simple Theory of Sketching: Easy to Follow Tips and Tricks to Make your Sketches Look Beautiful. BIS Publishers.

Klaus Klemp, J. M. (2017). Dieter Rams: Ten Principles for Good Design. Prestel.

Thomas Hauffe. (1998). Design: A Concise History. Laurence King Pub.

Kimberly Elam. (2011). Geometry of Design: Studies in Proportion and Composition (2nd Revised, Updated ed. edition). Princeton Architectural Press; 2nd Revised, Updated ed. Edition.

Ellen Lupton, J. C. P. (2015). Graphic Design: The New Basics: Second Edition, Revised and Expanded (Revised and updated ed edition). Princeton Architectural Press; Revised and updated ed edition.

Al-Saati, Maha et al. (2012). The architectural image: space, movement and myth, SFU PhD Thesis, http://summit.sfu.ca/item/13638

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).