ARCH 3241 - Fundamentals of Structures

Required Course
Credits: 2-3-3 (3 semester hours)
Type of Course: Supervised Lecture
Prerequisites: PHYS 2211


The first part of the course presents the application of classical mechanics to building structures and includes:

  • Forces and equilibrium of force systems.
  • Building loads and code requirements including gravity and lateral loading.
  • Force and moment analysis of typical elements and systems including cables, trusses, beams, and frames.


The second part of the course considers the behavior of structural elements and systems in architecture and includes:

  • Basic stresses and strains.
  • Structural properties of materials including strength, durability, environmental effects, and failure modes.
  • Structural design methods including "working stresses" and "ultimate strength."
  • Analysis and design of tension members and systems.
  • Analysis and design of beams and flexural systems including bending stresses, shear stresses, and deflection. Composite materials are considered.
  • Column buckling behavior and design procedures.
  • Soil behavior and foundation design including shallow footings, deep foundations, and retaining walls.
  • The incorporation of structural design in the architectural design process.
  • Case studies of typical structural systems in various materials including tall buildings, long spans, and lateral force systems.

Learning Objectives
Students will learn the basic theories and principles of structural behavior and its influence in architecture. They will acquire basic skills in identifying structural problems and numerical methods for determining structural arrangements and component characteristics. Case studies, including structural failures, emphasize the principles and their architectural application. 


Course Requirements

  • Weekly Assignments: Each week problems focusing on the application of the lecture and discussion material are completed, reviewed, and alternative solutions considered.
  • Bi-weekly exams: A series of 6 or 7 quizzes are given throughout the semester to establish the competence and mastery of the principles and techniques discussed in the lectures and homework assignments.
  • Final Exam: A comprehensive final exam consists of several structural problems and essay questions.