School of Architecture College of Design

ARCH 3250: Builders of the Universe

Builders of the Universe

Fall Semester 2013

Aaron Marx

This is a workshop exploring memory in the built environment and the potential of digital modeling in the architectural design process. It seeks to develop student's knowledge of geometry and the principals of surface development by exploring memory in architecture. Through the lens of Einstein's 1932 book, Builders of the Universe: From the Bible to the Theory of Relativity, this workshop considers significant paradigm shifts in our conception of the universe through physical and digital modeling.

Course Structure

Exercise 1: Texts on the role of memory in architecture. Students write an essay on the potential of memory in the architectural design process or built environment.

Exercise 2: The concept of digital modeling is introduced to the students through readings and discussions about changing perceptions of the universe.

Exercise 3: Examples of memorials, real and imagined, are introduced. Each student is assigned a particular memorial and makes a report to the group.

Exercise 4: The students are introduced to a 3D computer modeling environment, geometric principals, the development of surfaces, and digital fabrication techniques. Finally, these skills are used to develop a memory palace related to the School of Architecture centennial.

Exercise 5: Each student incrementally improves their designs and digital models, these models are rendered and represented in relationship to memory in architecture, the results are organized into a final presentation.

Course Objectives

  • To consider the role of memory in the built environment and design process.
  • To gain a critical understanding of the ways in which architects interact with digital technology and speculate upon new modes of interaction between architect and computer.
  • To gain basic proficiency in a digital modeling program and understand the design potential of these tools through creative use.
  • To utilize collaborative university resources (Northwest Architectural Archives and Special Collections, Rare Books, and manuscripts) in the classroom.


School of Architecture
145 Rapson Hall
89 Church Street
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Fax: 612-624-5743


Contact Information

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107 Rapson Hall, 89 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
P: 612-624-1717 | E:

General Information
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