Final Projects 2012-2013

Final Projects 2012-2013


Advanced Construction students were challenged this year to design and fabricate a sunscreen to prevent the entrance of excessive sunlight through the windows of the U2 studios.


Situated on the first floor of the Macdonald-Harrington building, the U2 studio room is oriented southwest and thus, suffers from excessive sun radiance from early afternoon until sunset. During the winter months, while the sun is at a lower incidence angle, glare and excessive light is the main concern. From April onwards, students suffer as well from excessive heat from the sunrays entering the room through the clear glass.


U2 students usually fabricate their own devices to overcome these problems. These consist on large pieces of cardboard, which are rudimentary installed on the window frames. While this solution prevents the entrance of sunlight, it is obviously not very successful in ensuring a comfortable light balance in the room. Could MArch students help their second year peers to find a better solution? An innovative solution that works in all seasons, capable of eliminating the disadvantages of a southwest facing room, without compromising its advantages? 


A total of six different proposals were presented by MArch students last December 2012. Each of them included a physical prototype designed and built by Advanced Construction students. The fabrication of the physical prototypes was funded in its entirety by the Sustainability Projects Fund from the Office of Sustainability of McGill University.


Final Projects 2011-2012


Final Projects 2010-2011


The aim of the course is to provide knowledge and expertise to develop complex architectural structures from conceptual design to fabrication using advanced technologies for modelling and simulation.

Skills Development

  • Design:
  • • Understand the behaviour of any given structural system
  • • Identify the main force paths and the nature of the force (compression, tension, shear, bending)
  • • Understand material choice, use and distribution within the structural system.
  • • Appreciate how the form and geometry in a structure should be the result of the forces acting upon the material
  • • Finally, demonstrate critical and technical analysis in the conception of structural systems

  • Construction:
  • • Demonstrate abilities to apply critical and technical analysis to historical modes of construction
  • • Be able to connect this analysis to design philosophies and material strategies, and relate them to manufacturing processes and construction.
  • • Approach design and production as reciprocal methods of project development rather than as successive stages of a project.
  • Identify how computational tools can facilitate the liaison between the design and construction phases, and be able to employ them.

  • Leadership:
  • • Ability to present and communicate research findings individually and as part of a group.
  • • Acquire skills to contribute to interdisciplinary professional teams.


  • The course is structured in three main parts: Design & Material Lectures, Fabrication Tutorials and a Final Project.
  • Design & Material Lectures: These lectures study a number of case studies representing different structural typologies focusing on the logics between structure, form and material in all types of constructions. One of these typologies is later on followed by a lecture and a series of tutorials dedicated to build up a physical model of a representative example using Rhinoceros & Grasshopper. 

  • Tools and Fabrication Tutorials: These tutorials provide the students with the skills necessary to model the structural system studied in the case studies. Prior to these lectures, additional tutorials will be provided: during the first (Vbscript) and second (Grasshopper) weeks of the course.
    Following these tutorials students will explore laser cutting and/or CNC-milling as forms of design output, pursuing an opportunity to work directly with advanced design technologies reproducing one of the digital models previously prepared in the series of tutorials described above. As part of an assignment students will fabricate a scaled model using laser cutting/CNC milling. This will help students to familiarise themselves with the tools available in the prototyping lab.

  • Final Project: This final phase of the course consists on the development of a structural system from design to fabrication and construction of a real scale prototype in groups.