Michael Ellars


Michael Ellars, AIA, APX, CSI, CDT, LEED AP, CASp

Building Science Education

In 2015, I started teaching undergraduate building science at the USC School of Architecture as part-time, adjunct faculty. At the undergraduate level, Building Science is a joint degree between the School of Architecture and the Viterbi School of Engineering, formally administered by the latter. It is a wonderful program that offers architectural education to what are technically civil engineering majors who are interested in structural engineering.

ARCH 305: Building Science II

I currently teach ARCH 305, Building Science II, a lecture-and-studio course positioned as the transition from the conceptual design realm of ARCH 205 to the structurally focused ARCH 405. The course content is largely the same as when I taught ARCH 405, but the overall progression of the program is improved by moving this part earlier. The first semester covers basics of site analysis, conceptual design, and basic mechanical and structural engineering from a design perspective. The second semester introduces other building systems, such as electrical and building envelope, while building upon the concepts of the first semester. The focus of both semesters is on a complete design project coupled with a research paper on a given building design topic.

ARCH 405: Building Science III

Between 2015 and 2017, I taught ARCH 405, Building Science III, the capstone architectural studio for undergraduate building science. In the summer of 2017, a swap was engineered with the (former) instructor of ARCH 305 to better utilize my knowledge and experience as part of a transitional year between ARCH 205 and ARCH 405.