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Media and Computer Policy

Architecture Media Policy

The Architecture program defines media as the medium(s) through which students and faculty produce work -- they can be hand-mechanical, digital, hybrids, etc. -- it is the process through which ideas are constructed, not simply represented.

Media is a fundamental way of seeing and speculating about architecture. The role of media is framed by the relationship among three areas of study that are present throughout the curriculum:

  1. History,
  2. Tools
  3. Contemporary Practice

There are several pedagogical approaches to the role of media that address the aforementioned areas of study. There are two primary contemporary approaches to teaching media that affect the teaching at SDSU Architecture:

  1. Integration into the studio sequence
  2. Stand-alone course sequence

It is impossible not to work or think through Media in the studio. However, working through Media as the primary vehicle for imagining and constructing architectural ideas is different than thinking of Media as a means to an end. Students are encouraged to not think about Media as a means to an end. Every studio in the Architecture curriculum specifically problematizes the role of Media.

In addition to studio, other course content is carefully designed to address Media in the context of the tools and spaces used by students. The spaces that are used include the construction (wood, metal and fabrication) shops, digital (computer and imaging) lab and the shared studio space. These are academic spaces in which Media is folded into the academic dialog shared between faculty and students.

Many courses within the Architecture curriculum will focus on Media. This Media Policy is not, however, connected to any single Architecture course in particular. This policy provides an overview of the academic and practical expectations of students’ engagement with Media.

Architecture Computer Policy

RIG (verb). Assemble and adjust (equipment, etc.) in readiness for operation.

RIG (noun). An apparatus, device or piece of equipment designed for a particular purpose.

The primary curricular position of Architecture is to give students an understanding of a conceptual framework to engage and maximize the design potential of digital tools comprising their own RIG. Students are expected to purchase a laptop computer during the fall of their second year as undergraduates. Successful completion of the program will require each student to develop proficiency with these technologies.

It is important to keep in mind that digital tools are continually changing and will do so throughout your academic and professional career. However, the fundamental concepts shaping computational design do not change as rapidly as software platforms and techniques. An agile RIG should be flexible, allowing students to explore the exchange of ideas and functions across different software. To facilitate and promote students’ aptitude with these tools, Architecture has developed these guidelines and policies.

Architecture encourages the purchase of a laptop as the primary piece of each student’s RIG. Architecture does not endorse a specific computer model or brand. Students are responsible for meeting the minimum criteria for both hardware and software based on the recommendations outlined here. Through the guidance of faculty and a creative, studio environment, each student is responsible for constructing and maintaining their own RIG.

  1. Students are responsible for the maintenance of their own RIG.
  2. Architecture encourages the purchase of a laptop as the primary piece of each student’s RIG.
  3. Students are responsible for providing and seeking hardware and software support for their RIG.
  4. Students are responsible for obtaining the necessary software to complete their coursework. [Software can be purchased at Jackrabbit Central - Student Union or online.]
  5. Students are responsible for testing and paying for output, which includes 2D and 3D printing and modeling. [On-campus printing includes the Yeager Imaging Center, University Student Union, Self Printing, etc.]
  6. Students are educated in Media as part of the Architecture curriculum. Software training is NOT part of the architecture curriculum.
  7. Architecture does NOT endorse a specific computer model or brand.
  8. Software piracy is illegal.



  • Operating System: MacOS 10.13.5 / Windows 10, 64-bit BootCamp
  • Processor: 2.6 GHz quad-core or faster
  • Screen Size: 15” Full-HD (1080p) (1920x1080 Minimum); 17” Full-HD Recommended
  • RAM: 8 gb Minimum
  • Disc Storage: 500 gb Minimum
  • Video Card: DirectX 11 or later strongly recommended


Each student should consider the role of systematic storage in the construction of their RIG. Systematic storage partly refers to an organized and recurring backup storage device that is updated manually or automatically. It is recommended that each student obtain additional external storage. External hard drives are well suited for archiving files and for supplemental storage. Small flash drives (also know as thumb drives, jump drives, pen drives or memory sticks) are well suited for transporting files between devices. Students are also encouraged to use their allocated online storage to archive their work. Finally, it is essential to carefully develop a system by which digital work is named and organized.


Each student may find additional hardware accessories (mice, keyboards, cameras, additional monitors, printers, etc.) to construct their RIG in order to support their work. An 11x17 color printer is highly recommended.


Outputs will vary depending on the course, but will likely include two-dimensional and three-dimensional drawings and models. Students can expect approximate output costs to be outlined in course syllabi.


Students are expected to obtain the software needed to complete the tasks and outputs required by their courses. Each student is expected to pursue the necessary aptitudes with regard to specific software tools. Addressing the implications and fundamental concepts of digital tools is a critical part of the DoArch curriculum. Direct software training, however, is not a standard part of the architecture curriculum.

The software platforms outlined below are integral to the development of each student’s RIG. This development is evident in the architecture curriculum through the relationship between hand-mechanical and digital processes. As students’ architectural education progresses, so will the capacity and composition of their RIG.

General Productivity

The list below is a basic outline of some of the most commonly used software for general communication. This is the communication and maintenance component of the RIG.

  • Microsoft Office (Available for student purchase at Jackrabbit Central - Student Union.)
    • Word
    • Excel
    • Powerpoint
  • Anti-Virus + Malware (Available for student purchase at Jackrabbit Central - Student Union.)
  • Email platforms (Available for student purchase at Jackrabbit Central - Student Union.)

Basic Digital Concepts

The list of software outlined below is tailored to give the beginning architecture student a basic understanding of the implications of using digital tools. Many platforms will be introduced in a focused manner, concentrating primarily on the role of lines as a drawing and graphic medium. This is the drafting component of the RIG.

Digital Modeling

The list of software outlined below is tailored to give architecture students an advanced knowledge of the role and use of digital modeling. Many platforms introduced as part of the basic digital concepts will be expanded as modeling tools. This will also mark the introduction of parametric processes. This is the modeling component of the RIG.

Digital Collaboration

The list of software outlined below is tailored to introduce architecture students to the role of building information technologies (BIM). Many platforms introduced as part of digital modeling concepts will be expanded and unfolded as data and information management tools. This will also mark the introduction of workflows and collaboration across disciplines. This is the data and information component of the RIG.