Architects seem to have to know a lot, so what exactly do architecture students study when they they go to school? The core of each degree program is the study of DESIGN, both as a thing in itself and a way to bring together what students learn in other classes. For most schools, other core components of architecture include history and theory, structures, professional practice, social issues, digital technology, and building systems. Other common areas of study include urban studies, hand drawing, sustainability, fabrication, materials, and philosophy. Different programs emphasize their own priorities, so it's important that prospective students understand the direction of each school as well as the degrees it offers. Schools are guided by their leadership at the dean, director, or chair level as well as by faculty research interests.
Architecture has historically engaged and combined diverse interests in design practice, like art, drawing, science, and even music. Fundamentally, architects have to be knowledgeable within their practice to build beautiful, safe, and healthy environments. But to produce design that is relevant, they have to be open to and continuously seek out new things to stay connected to evolving culture and technology. Perhaps it is this constant reinvestment in knowledge that sparked Frank Lloyd Wright to say that "the mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilization."
In preparation for this responsibility, one of the most important abilities faculty cultivate in school is CRITICAL THINKING, which helps students explore and find meaning in the broad scope of their education and eventual practice. Take a look at some projects architecture students and faculty have made in the arts outside of architecture...
Image 1 > Folding Martha is an exploration in the effects of folding, similar to origami where sheets of paper are folded to create complex objects.
Image 2 > An exploration of architecture through drawings, models, and photography.
Image 3 > A series of professionally-designed posters for numerous theatre shows based on 8 directors' theatrical conceptions.
Image 4 > This "comic book" chronicles three superheros Utilitas, Firmitas and Venustas as they solve problems of the world(s).
Image 5 > Portable chairs crafted from various paper products.
Image 6 > These are sketches from a 3-week travel program in Western Turkey. The program is part of a continued exploration of architecture through freehand analytical sketching.