Course Syllabus

 AT4 Building Systems Integration  

Fall 2022


Link to Syllabus (pdf version)

Link to Project Guidelines 

Link to Schedule (v1)




1. Course Description  


Building Systems Integration (AT4) brings together the technical domains of life safety, fire protection, environmental systems, structure, and enclosures in a way that promotes the integration of disciplines. It also exposes participants to the issue of validating their design ideas against code and technical constraints. The knowledge, concepts, and principles learned in previous Tech courses are applied in a design-based project.   

The construction of a building is essentially a part-to-whole problem, as it involves the integration of multiple building components, systems, and processes into a whole.  In successful building projects, architects, engineers, fabricators, and erectors work together to develop each respective part. Within this process, architects hold a critical role in ensuring the successful synthesis of these multiple parts, all while keeping the design intention intact.  Through a better understanding of the different building systems and the constraints associated with them, architects can integrate systems more completely with greater economy, elegance, and efficiency.  A well-integrated building is an efficient one, an elegant one, and most importantly, a well-integrated building gets built. 

The intent of the course is an intensive introduction to the application of technical systems through design development.  The course objectives are to establish an understanding of the technical aspects of architecture and how they participate in reinforcing and supporting the design intentions, such as beauty, sustainability, functionality, and integration with the surroundings.  Structural form, environmental systems, materials, construction methods, and fire protection elements are developed systematically and integrated. 

This course takes a fresh look at the primary systems within a building.  What are their key drivers, requirements, and intentions around each system? What are techniques to rapidly iterate around design ideas and strategies?  The course is structured in two modules: a series of lectures on technical topics and assignments to encourage real-case applications. The participants will work in teams, selecting a design concept previously developed during the previous studio. The design teams will work with mentors to bring the chosen design concept to a highly-detailed level of development by constantly confronting the design intent against the technical constraints discussed in class and nurturing a critical decision-making process. 


2. Course Schedule Summary 

The table below provides initial details for the timeframe. Knowing that some dates may change, please refer to the Lecture and Crit Schedule for updated information.





Tuesdays 2-3pm 

Team Desk Crits 

Tuesdays 3-5pm 

BIM Primer 

Part 1: Sep 9 (1-6 pm) and 10 (10am to 4pm)

Part 2: Nov 4 (1-6 pm) and 5  (10am to 4pm) Only Friday.

Submissions & Reviews 

Mid-term (SD) – 10/18

Finals (DD) – 12/13

Package submission – 12/15  

Professor Office Hours 

Rotating Tue 3-6 

Other days by appointment 

TA Office Hours 

Monday 7-9 pm 

3. Instructors & Critics

Instructor:  Berardo Matalucci,  bm2996

Teaching Assistants: 

Revit Instructors:  Joseph Brennan,  jab2315

4. Course Content

A. Lectures  Tue 2-3pm

Each week of the course, we will introduce a technical concept as a series of lectures. We will discuss some key disciplines: life safety, egress, fire protection, structure, mechanical, electrical, plumbing systems, and sustainability.  The lectures intend to foster the development and integration of each system. A copy of the lecture will be available on Canvas; the use of laptops is strongly discouraged in lectures.  The lecture subjects are as follows:


  • Introduction to Building System Integration
  • Egress Design 
  • Sustainability
  • Structures
  • Mechanical Systems
  • Prefabrication and Modularity
  • Fire Protection
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical Systems
  • Detailing

Each lecture is taught through analysis, principles and analysis as follows: 

  • Design/Conceptual History and Development
  • Cultural Context of Construction Topic
  • Processes of Assembly, Performance and Materials
  • Applications and Case Studies
  • Direct Application to Project


B. Project Workshop Tue 3-5pm

The primary focus of the course is the project workshop.  Projects will be completed in small learning “teams” of four students.  Teams will select one project developed during the previous semester in Core Architecture Studio II, for which minor adjustments may be required to integrate the different building systems.  The building type consists of a multi-program educational building, requiring careful consideration of access and exchanges (circulatory, visual and energy), between programs.  Following the selection of the concept, systems of structural form, life safety, fire protection, environmental systems, and envelope design are carefully advanced.  The project is also developed in terms of constructive processes, assemblies, and will evaluate opportunities for prefabrication.   

The project deliverables are technical documents, developed through weekly small group crits.  These weekly consultations are guided by a reviewing team of an architect, a structural engineer, an enclosure specialist, and an MEP/Sustainable engineer.  The workshop will mimic the design process ranging from conceptual design to design development documents in typical project phases.  This is an iterative design approach, refined through drawing and analysis.  The project will begin with a scheme design in which environmental concepts, structural systems, egress, and construction systems are investigated.  Through design development, the building will be refined by sizing and integrating mechanical and structural system components as well as by developing the construction of the building envelope. Finally, in the design set, students will develop details, assemblies, and abilities to integrate among different systems.  


C. Building Information Modelling Primer  

Course deliverables, including Design Development and Construction Documents, are required in 3D Building Information Modelling (BIM) software.  A weekend primer will introduce basic concepts of BIM through the use of the software Autodesk® Revit®.  The workshop is held during the first week of classes.

The goal of the use of Revit® is to provide a tool for learning the relationship between architectural design intentions and material and building construction decisions. BIM software provides the flexibility to provide changes to the building model in response to changes in wall types, material choices, window and door types and dimensions, structural systems and materials, etc. Drawing output from the BIM models can also facilitate student learning by providing a faster and more thorough means to analyze, review, discuss and modify architectural / construction design relationships in the context of construction lab discussions. 

Further training will be provided in Video Tutorials will provide a basic introduction to the tools necessary to complete each step for an assignment. Building Information Modelling (BIM) software (such as Revit®) is playing a larger and larger role in how architects design and communicate and share project information with other design professionals and consultants including structural and mechanical engineers, lighting consultants, acoustic consultants, cost analysis consultants, etc.  As designers entering into the architecture profession at this time, it is crucial to develop expertise with the organization and work-flow of BIM systems. 

The primer will include: 

  • Intro to BIM: value and opportunities, limitations (detailing, concepts) and complexities
  • Revit Basics and Model Navigation
  • Modeling: walls, floors, windows, stairs, taming unruly curves
  • Structural and HVAC Systems for architects
  • Production: plans, sections, elevations, renderings
  • Future of BIM: Laser scanning; mobile devices; drone applications

5. Grading

In this course, every effort is made to grade impartially and to the best of our knowledge about performance.  Since project development is a team effort, the same grade is assigned to all students within the team.  On rare occasions, individual grades may be awarded for exceptional or deficient performance within a group.  Grading is based on the following criteria: 



Submission & Review 

Schematic Design (Mid-Term)


Design Development (Finals)


Process & 


  • Team collaboration
  • Assignments and Preparedness to weekly crits
  • Punctuality and Attendance
  • Sketches, project organization
  • Responsiveness to critic feedback
  • Lecture attendance



Submission and Review are evaluated based on the following criteria: 

  • Technical Concept
  • System Development
  • Integration of Systems
  • Complexity and Quality of Deliverables
    • Quality of drawing deliverables
    • Communication of concept and design in drawing form
    • Level of assembly drawn
    • Presentations at reviews and desk crits (presentation by all group required)


Final grades are assessed on a class-wide basis and are graded on a curve based on the following percentages: 


High Pass  



60 – 90% 

Low Pass 

50 – 60% 



6. Policies & Academic Integrity

  • If you require accommodation for a disability or any special need, please let me know as soon as possible.  Aspects of the course may be modified to facilitate your participation and progress.
  • All students are held to the academic policies of the University.
  • Plagiarism is knowingly presenting another person’s ideas, findings, images, or written work as one’s own by copying or reproducing without acknowledgment of the sources. It is intellectual theft that violates basic academic standards. In order to uphold an equal evaluation for all work submitted cases of plagiarism will be reviewed by the individual faculty member and/or the Dean. Punitive measures will range from failure of an assignment to expulsion from the University.
  • Students who miss deadlines due to valid extenuating circumstances may submit the required work at a later date, as agreed upon with the instructor. University regulations limit such circumstances to serious personal illness and death in the immediate family. Unexcused late projects will not be accepted, incomplete projects will be evaluated in relation to their degree of completion, and a student will be allowed to present such work only with instructor approval. Lectures and demonstrations cannot be repeated.  There is no excuse for late submittals, late attendance at reviews or pin ups, due to printer or computer problems. You have to organize your output ahead of time or find other resources outside the college to complete your work on time.   Late work will be accepted only at the discretion of the instructors and is subject to a 5% grade deduction for every 24 hours past the deadline.
  • The final course evaluations are important to the quality of instruction.  Please take the necessary time to critically and constructively evaluate the course as well as the instructor’s quality of instruction and guidance in relation to your own participation in the course, engagement in the subject matter as well as your interaction with your peers and your instructor.
  • I am committed to maintaining and coordinating processes to support students with mental health difficulties.  Please contact me confidentially should any issues arise during the course of the semester.

7. References

Reference excerpts from these texts will be provided for relevant class assignments and in support of lecture and crit materials.  The reference books will be provided at the library and in the studio.  Some are very useful reference books and it is recommended that students purchase the texts for future reference in studio work. 

  • Advanced Building Systems, Klaus Daniels, Birkhauser Edition
  • Building Code of the City of New York 2014 and Referenced Standards
  • Detail Magazine
  • Construction Manual Series, Bikhauser Edition
  • Fundamentals of Building Construction, Allen and Iano.
  • The Architects Studio Companion, Allen and Iano.
  • Constructing Architecture: Materials, Processes, Structures, Deplazes.
  • Heating, Cooling, Lighting. Lechner.
  • Structures. Schodek, Daniel.  Bechthold, Martin.
  • Professional Practice of Architectural Working Drawings.  Wakita, O et al.
  • Building Systems Integration.  Vassigh, S. and  Chandler J.
  • Integrated Buildings : Systems Basis of Architecture.  Bachman,

Course Summary:

Date Details Due