Temporary Environments


    This minor introduces undergraduate students to hands-on research, design, and fabrication of ephemeral constructions for shelters, markets, and events. Through processes and methods for design research and material applications, students learn how physical limitations can be quickly framed, exceeded, reformed, and dissolved again. There is an emphasis on tangible solutions that can be tested in prototyping and field implementation so that students can develop projects beyond pure concept. Across topics ranging from the interim conditions for disaster relief to transportable shelters used in camping, from the ephemeral constructions used for public events and markets to exhibitions, temporality and relevant technologies will be used to accomplish a sense of place within temporary environments.

    The Temporary Environments minor is offered through Parsons' School of Constructed Environments and requires successful completion of 18 credits across four subject areas, as outlined in the chart below. Please note that PLSD 2003, History and Theory of Temporary Environments, is required of all students intending to complete this minor.

    Note: Course availability may vary from semester to semester. Some courses may be in development and offered at a later time. Students seeking to pursue alternative coursework to fulfill the minor should consult with their advisors.


    A student who has completed this minor should be able to demonstrate:

    • Competent knowledge of the historical role of temporary structures and environments as social innovations
    • Competence in the creation of drawings, diagrams, and models to represent, develop, and test concepts
    • Understanding in the functional knowledge of production elements such as project planning, installation procedures, project management, and specification of materials and equipment
    • Understanding of the language and importance of the simple concepts of scale, tectonics, systems, mechanics, and space making for temporary environments that include shelters, markets, or events
    • Strength in working on individual projects, as a member on a team, and on integrating effective communication with community stakeholders that affect the design process and/or field research


    Subject Area Course Options Requirements
    Introduction to Tools and Methods for Discovery, Design, and Development of Project Concepts

    6 credits

    Students who have introductory-level studio skills/experience should instead select 6 credits of coursework in the subject areas "Skills-Focused Studio/Seminar" and/or "Project-Based Studio/Seminar" (below).

    Common Vocabulary, Historical Precedents, and Functional Knowledge of Production Elements

    3 credits
    Skills-Focused Studio/Seminar 3–15 credits
    Project-Based Studio/Seminar 3–15 credits


    Minors are available to undergraduate students across The New School except those students at Lang and in the Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students who are completing a self-designed BA or BS in Liberal Arts, who are not permitted to declare minors. For students at Lang or in the Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students interested in pursuing a deeper study of this subject area, opportunities are available through the self-designed major in Liberal Arts. To explore this, contact an academic advisor or read more information about self-designed options for Lang or the Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students.
    For questions regarding this minor’s curriculum, including requests for course substitutions, please contact Mark Bechtel, assistant professor of modeling, technology, and product design, at