The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture

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fall 2008

ARC 435K:
Construction III: Structure and Skin

Ulrich Dangel

Course Summary

This course is an introduction to analyzing the behavior of basic structures through quantitative methods of conventional structural analysis and design. It functions as an applied statics course and emphasizes schematic calculations for the design of components and connections of various structural systems. In addition, essential design criteria and assembly techniques of the building envelope and its relationship to the overall structural system will be explored.

The analysis aspects of this course will examine the structural behavior and application of support members and columns in timber, steel, reinforced concrete, and masonry. Throughout the course, the student will be required to make assessments in the areas of material, form, and fabrication.

The primary objective of the course is to provide the student with the ability to use methods and analyses, along with rules of thumb and present day conventions, to determine the preliminary sizing and evaluation of a total structural system. Consequently, the student will learn to make a judgment on which structural systems and envelope assemblies are appropriate and applicable to a specific design solution.


  • Lectures will cover the significant material introduced in the required reading assignments.
  • Homework will be assigned at the end of each lab session and will be due at the beginning of the following lab. Lab sessions will review example problems similar in nature to those assignments. Late homework assignments will be reviewed but not credited.
  • In addition to the weekly assignments, projects will constitute the fundamental course work.
  • Homework and projects will be accomplished in groups (may be individual).  Any individual not performing a commensurate share of the work may be eliminated from the group but is still responsible to satisfy all homework/project requirements.
  • Quizzes may be given without notice to cover reading assignments, which should be completed prior to the presentation of the material in lecture.
  • Exams will be closed book and will cover all lectures, labs, and reading assignments within a given period.
  • All course material (course description, syllabus, assignments, projects, readings, grades, etc.) will be available on Blackboard at https://courses.utexas.edu

Course Requirements

Simplified Engineering for Architects and Builders, Ambrose + Tripeny (required, available at Coop)
Interactive Structures – Visualizing Structural Behavior (DVD-ROM), Vassigh (optional, available at Coop)

Reserved Texts:

Fundamentals of Building Construction, Allen; The Architect’s Studio Companion, Allen; Building Structures, Ambrose; Designing the Exterior Wall, Brock; Building Construction Illustrated, Ching; Structures – Or Why Things Don’t Fall Down, Gordon; Facade Construction Manual, Herzog, Krippner, Lang; Construction: Principles, Materials & Methods, Olin; Architectural Structures, Place; Why Buildings Fall Down, Salvadori; Why Buildings Stand Up, Salvadori; Building Skins, Schittich; Structures, Schodek; Elementary Structures for Architects and Builders, Shaeffer

Attendance Policy

Attendance is mandatory in all lectures and labs. At the instructor's discretion, any student with more than 2 unexcused absences may be dropped from the class or the student's final grade may be lowered by one letter grade for each additional absence. Absences are excused only for medical conditions and personal or family emergencies. Written documentation will be required for any excused absence. A student who misses classes or other required activities for the observance of a religious holy day should inform the instructor as far in advance of the absence as possible, so that arrangements can be made to complete an assignment within a reasonable time after the absence. A student who fails to complete missed work within the time allowed will be subject to the normal academic penalties.


Final grades are derived from homework and quizzes, two semester exams, a final exam, and the semester projects. Grading is based on a 100 point scale as follows:

For graduate students: 

A 93 - 100
A- 90 - 92
B+ 87 - 89
B 83 - 86
B- 80 - 82
C+ 77 - 79
C 73 - 76
C- 70 - 72
D+ 67 - 69
D 63 - 66
D- 60 - 62
F 59 and below

For undergraduate students:

A 90 - 100
B 80 - 89
C 70 - 79
D 60 - 69
F 59 and below

The individual grades accumulated over the semester are averaged towards the final grade as follows: 

Homework/Quizzes 10%
Exam 1 20%
Exam 2 20%
Final Exam 25%
Projects 25%


Students with Disabilities

At the beginning of the semester, students with disabilities who need special accommodations should notify the instructor by presenting a letter prepared by the Services for Students with Disabilities Office. To ensure that the most appropriate accommodations can be provided, students should contact the SSD Office at 471-6259 or 471-4641 TTY.