Fundamental Representation and Fundamental Design are the introductory studios to the architecture program. These courses introduce students to many techniques, processes, and skills that will further enhance their understanding of architecture, as well as their ability to represent and communicate their own ideas. It familiarizes students with basic concepts of architecture through a series of design problems, while challenging preconceptions about architecture. Emphasis will be placed on the formation of ideas, and the abilities of the student to carry these ideas throughout their designs in a clear and precise manner, using basic drawing and modeling skills.

Due to the ‘newness’ of the content and skill level being developed, the workload in the freshman studio class may seem daunting at first. The course is typically longer than all other University courses, meeting for a total of eight hours a week. The workload in relation to those contact hours is more than those in a typical six credit course that meets for only three or four hours a week. As skill levels increase in the first month of the studio class, the workload generally becomes more manageable.


Each student is required to have the supplies listed below ready to use on the first day of class:

  •  1 Hardcover Wire bound Sketch Book 9×12
  • 1 Stainless Steel T-Square 24″
  • 1 Cutting Mat 18×24
  • 4 Drawing Pencil 2B
  • 1 Metal 2-Hole Pencil Sharpener
  • 1 X-Acto Knife
  • 1 #11 Blade Bulk Pack 100 Count
  • 1 Swing Arm 100 Watt Student Lamp
  • 1 100 Watt Light Bulb
  • 1 Modeling Clamps 2/pkg
  • 1 White Vinyl Eraser
  • 2 Black Fine Line Marker
  • 2 Black Pentel Sign Pen
  • 1 Elmers Glue 1.25oz
  • 1 Cork Back Ruler 12″
  • 1 Metal Triangle 45 degree 6″
  • 1 Push Pins Aluminum 1/2″ SS Point 100pc
  • 1 Compass Non Inking
  • 1 White Trace 12″ x 50yd
  • 1 White Trace 18″ x 50yd

Computer Requirements


  • A laptop system with Intel processor (or several)
  • Mac Book or Mac Book Pro recommended
  • 100 GB of hard disk space
  • 6 GB of RAM
  • Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion)
  • Mac OS X  (Mountain Lion)
  • (Mac Book Air not recommended as you can not upgrade memory)


  • A laptop with a dual processor, or
  • Single processor with 2GHz clock speed
  • 100 GB of hard disk space
  • 6 GB of RAM

All Systems

  • A 21″ external monitor capable of XGA (1024×768) is recommended but not required.
  • For external data storage we recommend a USB flash drive for its convenience and portability.   Also consider using an external hard drive for extra storage and backing up.
  • An extended manufacturer’s warranty or other service arrangement such as Apple Care is highly recommended.  Students are responsible for maintaining their own computer.

Software Requirements

Anti-Virus Software

Mac computers are safe from virus and other malicious activity. The School of Architecture recommends that you do not install any anti-virus applications on an Apple OS X machine. They have proven to interfere with the operation of the OS X system.  Anti-virus software for PCs can be purchased at your discretion.

If you have questions regarding computers/software, please contact the Northeastern University help desk at 617.373.HELP.

Architecture Software

The School of Architecture is committed to using software that is widely used in the architecture industry, and available for student use. The Adobe CS package allows students to manipulate graphics, transform images and prepare projects for presentations.  Please purchase the most current versions of the following software programs by the first day of class:

Adobe Creative Suite Design Student Edition

You can purchase the Cloud version via MyNeu (see Discounted Software)
Note-Adobe has recently converted to a Cloud version of this software which requires a monthly fee but will allow you to access the software from any computer.

Autodesk AutoCAD Architecture

Reading Requirements

All incoming freshmen are asked to read Paul Goldberg’s “Why Architecture Matters,” before arriving at the University for the start of classes. The book offers a perspective on the field that will be helpful to incoming freshmen and will serve as the basis for the one-hour freshman course Architecture at NU. You can find the book on Amazon or any bookstore with a reasonable architecture collection.