Monday, June 20, 2011

Art History to Architecture - Graduate Program Search

As I've  been looking for information about MArch programs, I've been referred to your blog by other websites on multiple occasions and found your responses to be very helpful. I decided to send you a personal email after I saw a post from that listed your email address. I am an art history major from DePauw University, a small liberal arts college not too far from University of Illinois, seeking help with refining my MArch school search.
I am searching for a program that includes constructablity and sustainability in their curriculum, and focuses less on theory.  As I've been looking at different programs, I am drawn to the schools that have their students working on community projects as a part of the curriculum. For example, the University of Washington, one of their student's studios focused on an "urban village," which looked at a section of land in an up and coming section of Seattle and created a school that responded to the community's needs.  Ultimately, after I graduate I want to work in disaster areas, rebuilding communities that were destroyed. I've looked into what people are rebuilding the Joplin communities, but only could find references to funding and the EPA. I found an organization called "Make It Right," which is an organization working to rebuild the lower 9th ward in New Orleans (
I am just wondering if I am on the right track because I'm a little stuck. I have been researching programs but not sure how to advance my search and narrow it down to the schools that will emphasize the area of architecture I'm interested in pursuing. I know University of Texas- Austin, has electives that focus on low cost housing, sustainability and other topics that would be helpful. Can you offer any suggestions on refining my search? Am I on the right track? Do you have any programs that would match my interests?  I noticed that some programs focus primarily on design, but I would like a program that focuses on the social and environmental implications of building as well. Lastly, I've read about the design-build theories that link construction and design very closely. Are there any programs that focus on this model more than others?
Thanks for your time and I'm looking forward to hearing back from you. I really appreciate any advice or suggestions that you can give! 

Thanks for your detailed question; I will do what I can to provide you some assistance.

First, I applaud that you have a very good idea of what you are seeking; this will help a great deal.  Now to some suggestions.

Probably your best source to help narrow the search of graduate program is  Compiled by ACSA, is a searchable database of all accredited programs in architecture.  It allows you to search by location, degrees, population, and curriculum including specialization.  I did a quick search on Community Design and 67 programs were returned.

I found the following from a search of low-cost housing + sustainability + architecture school.

North Carolina State University

Interesting Symposium at Iowa State University

Univ. of Virginia

Rose Enterprise Fellowship - Learn about this professional opportunity

Univ. of Minnesota

You could continue to use additional search to see what comes up.  However, the best way which will take the longest effort but have the best results is to search and review each program's website to discover if the program fits your needs.

For programs in Design-Build, refer to the following: --

NAAB maintains an updated list of accredited programs with their website and contact information - -- Ultimately, you will wish to be on the phone with faculty and directors of the programs.  I have attached the list from November 2010

Finally, because you are in Chicago, I will encourage you to attend the Chicago Architecture + Design College Day on Saturday, October 15 on the campus of IIT -- -- (see attached).
Dr. Architecture

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