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.


The freshmen studio faculty will be having a supply kit arranged for students to purchase at Dick Blick, a local art supply store. Students will be taken to the store and will be able to purchase the kit then.

Computer Requirements

All students should purchase a laptop lock to secure laptops while in studio.
A simple lock like this one should be sufficient.

Apple Mac Book Pro

minimum performance specs:

  • 2.7 GHZ Processor
  • 256 GB Storage
  • 8 GB Ram
  • OS X El Capitan
  • at least 13” monitor, 15” if student does not plan to purchase external monitor
  • Additional monitor (21” +) is also recommended although not required (used monitors are a good option)
  • Mouse (useful for CAD)

PC laptop

  • minimum performance specs:
  • 6th Generation Intel Core Processor
  • 8 GB memory
  • 128 GB Solid State Drive
  • Windows 10
  • at least 13” monitor, 15” if student does not plan to purchase external monitor
  • -Additional monitor (21” +) is also recommended although not required (used monitors are a good option)
  • -Mouse (useful for CAD)

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