Shaping Place


Fall 2015 and Winter 2016 quarters

Taught by

Anthony Tindill
sustainable design
cultural anthropology

How do the places that we build and inhabit shape who we become and with whom we belong? What are the ways we can design places that last in time, remain relevant to our lives, include the desires and voices of diverse communities, and establish a balance with our environment? This intermediate-level, two-quarter program explores themes of design and place through the lenses of anthropology, history, and architecture. We will develop a broad understanding of how human beings have created a sense of place in their environments past and present, looking at nomadic life ways, rural settlements, urban shantytowns, and contemporary gated communities. 

In fall quarter, we will study archaeology and architectural history, looking at the material and meaningful aspects of human dwellings and institutions. We will learn techniques of drawing and ethnography to document various field sites in Olympia and in the wider Pacific Northwest. In winter quarter, we will deepen our understandings of the cultural features of lived spaces and shift to more extensive design processes. We will focus on sustainable and accessible building techniques and methods of engaged research that aim for inclusiveness and community participation. Students will complete individual and collaborative projects that engage with real-world design problems using ethnographic approaches. Case studies across both quarters may include the Rural Studio architectural project in Alabama, Tumwater’s Camp Quixote, a local elementary school design-and-build project, resettlement and refugee camps in Haiti and other global locations, gendered households in Southeast Asia, and the ruins and rebirth of urban Detroit.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

architecture, design, sustainability studies, anthropology, and history.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Required Fees

$130 in fall for design materials and an overnight field trip; $30 in winter for design materials.

Internship Possibilities

In spring quarter, advanced students have the opportunity to carry out relevant internship work in conjunction with program activities. Students must complete an in-program Internship Learning Contract in consultation with the faculty and Academic Advising. Please go to Individual Study for more information.


Date Revision
April 13th, 2015 This program has been cancelled.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Fall); 16 (Winter)

Class standing: Sophomore–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 50


Course Reference Number not yet available.


Accepting New Students

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