professor
Michael J Waters

Mar 2021

This review is for the intro to the history of architecture with professor waters, a real king. Let me start off by saying I took this course as a freshman in the fall, started taking it at the end of add/drop period, and ended with an A. I recommend this course to everyone that is looking for something that isn't too much of a heavy workload, looking for an easy A, and isn't bored with learning about the architecture and cultural atmosphere in Greece, China, Japan, Rome, New York, UK, etc. There is a discussion section for the course but that was very manageable you just go through a previous text you analyzed for hw and don't even need to speak too much. The way professor waters teaches is lecture-based with a few guest lecturers. I took this in the fall of 2020 so this was all via zoom yet professor waters makes the lecture actually interesting and engaging so that you don't really lose focus. You learn stuff like what type of column is used in what architectural style and why the architect decided to use and create it. It was genuinely nice to learn and definitely gave me a greater appreciation for a lot of beautiful buildings. You also learn about the culture surrounding the time period when a structure was made ignorer to fully understand why and how it was created and what purpose it serves. I really like how he does this because you learn so much about these famous cities that you didn't know before. Waters smiles a lot when he's talking about something he is particularly excited about, which is really refreshing to see a professor who actually really understands what he's teaching enough to make small little jokes you can catch if you pay attention. He is also super understanding if people email him with concerns about a quiz or deadline he changes it so that his students don't need to worry. The TAs are also all really nice and helpful if you have questions Literally, just pay attention in class and take notes. The way I did it is typing notes all onto one google doc and that way I could command f things for quizzes or papers or the final. That's really all you have to do in order to get an A. So definitely take this course even if you aren't majoring in architecture. I'm a CS major and I'm so glad I took it.

Aug 2020

Very knowledgeable professor and his class was entertaining and informative. He's also super organized which is nice. If you have him don't expect a light work load, but don't switch out if you're willing to put in the effort. When I took the class we didn't have to memorize a single thing as most of the work involved was analyzing the art and writing about it.

Jul 2018

Michael Waters is by far one of the best profs I've ever had at Columbia. He is able to make such minuscule architectural details so enticing and is able to engage his students with his interesting commentary. This class was multi-dimensional and never felt bland. The TAs also did a fantastic job in not necessarily reiterating lecture materials but really deconstructing key themes and ideas and making connections to the Columbia University architecture. Through this class, I was eager to take other architecture classes. Unfortunately, no other architecture professor has been able to replicate Water's enthusiasm and most importantly, his power points. If anything, every presenter should take notes from professor Waters- Professor Waters + power points= power couple. The workload is also very manageable and is a great class for students with little to no architectural background.

Dec 2017

Easily one of the best professors I have ever had. Introduction to Architecture is everything that an introductory level class should be and more, and Prof. Waters leads the class brilliantly. He is so well prepared and so intelligent. I voluntarily went to lecture every single time even though it wasn't necessarily because I wanted to hear what he had to say. Also, he is so prepared and his powerpoints blow everyone else out of the water. You really really have to take a class with him. This guy deserves a gold nugget for sure.

Jan 2017

Professor Waters was excellent. He's new to Columbia and possibly new to teaching in general, however I have never seen a teacher so well prepared yet capable of going off script. Every class he gave us a sheet containing all the important terms and buildings. He also build the class around five themes that he managed to flesh out and make clear. He also managed to make the discussion sections more substantial than going over what was said in lecture. Each one added to the overall themes and often included short field trips. I see a gold nugget in the making.