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Old April 21st, 2011, 08:45 PM   #1
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What is the best undergrad architecture school?

I heard Cornell's is pretty good, any other recommendations?
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Old April 21st, 2011, 09:37 PM   #2
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Depends since the term "best' is totally subjective.

Honestly I would look at the public universities first since they can oftentimes deliver an education on par with or even greater than the "ivy league" schools at less than half the cost.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 10:03 PM   #3
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Speak with some practicing professionals and ask them which skills they find most important coming out of school. How much is it knowledge of computer design programs vs. knowledge of structural physics, for example. What about design philosophy vs. economics of development? What facet of architecture do you feel excited about? Ask them for advice on the types of things you should learn and their recommendations on schools.

Then, seek out schools that offer comparable programs and have good co-op or internship programs. It's less about the actual pedigree of the school and more about one that 1) has the classes you need and 2) you feel most comfortable with. After all, what good is an Ivy League degree if it burns you out and you can't do the job afterward?! Conversely, many a quality worker can come from a so-called weaker school if they truly applied themselves and studied the craft.

I graduated from the "architorture" program in Georgia Tech in 1992, which did well in design but did not work well for me in terms of practical CAD knowledge, so as a pro I struggled early with the concept of hardlining someone else's design sketches while daydreaming about building skyscrapers. I eventually went back to study City Planning, where I'm now much happier and more capable. The arch program at Tech has grown stronger and angled more towards professionalism from what I've seen, and remains very affordable, but it's a unique element among a decidedly engineering school.

If you can, I'd also recommend working for a builder, as well. Even as an intern, it's invaluable knowledge to literally take part in the construction of even simple houses because too often designers fail to account for things like space for utilitites, pedestrian accessibility, and especially the context of the site. (I HATE seeing site plans that fail to account for the adjoining structures and spaces, as if they're desigining a building in the middle of nowhere!)
"How can anybody be enlightened? Truth is after all so poorly lit."

Last edited by GunnerJacket; April 21st, 2011 at 10:12 PM.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 10:49 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by GunnerJacket View Post
(I HATE seeing site plans that fail to account for the adjoining structures and spaces, as if they're desigining a building in the middle of nowhere!)
to be fair most building renderings do picture the building as if it is in the middle of nowhere sorrounded by forrests.
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Old July 16th, 2011, 07:11 PM   #5
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Here are two alternative programs which I think are worth serious consideration:

If you would like to acquire practical and marketable skills while gaining intern experience, then take a look at the BAC in Boston, Massachusetts.

Talliessin and Talliessin West offer educational programs. I don't know if they give accredited degrees, but a year or two could integrate fantastically with a conventional undergrad program. And the experience would get attention of potential employers.
Trout7000 is principal of a firm of Architects in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, crafting distinctive residential and commercial structures. This firm of New Mexico architects enjoys creating sustainable green building designs.
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