At Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture, prospective students are likely to find a course of study that will interest them. The School’s newly revised undergraduate curriculum allows students to choose studios in their 4th and 5th year that concentrate on breadth or depth in the following topics of interest: Sustainable Design, Digital Design, Management and Critical Practice, Design/ Build, Urban Design, and Future Studios. For example, students interested in digital fabrication, computational design, and new materials may choose to concentrate in Digital Design.
What makes an architecture school worth consideration are its special programs and initiatives. These programs, often run by a few faculty members, vary from addressing human rights and legal issues to working with local communities to remedy social and economic issues.
UCLA's Architecture and Urban Design (AUD) school has just such a program. Called cityLAB (not to be confused with the student-run, science-based UCLA CityLab), it is in many ways unique to a university setting. Run by founder/director Professor Dana Cuff and co-directed by Professor Roger Sherman. It’s name is well-suited: a laboratory to test ideas and address issues arising from city conditions in ways that cannot be done by profit-driven firms. These issues include housing, commercial revitalization, and community and municipal collaboration. These projects have operated successfully on grants that support not just the work being done by the professors, but by staff and Graduate Student Researchers who are paid to work in all aspects of the projects.
Opportunity. Challenge. Innovation. These words form the backbone of RMIT University (Melbourne Institute of Technology University) in Australia. Too often, architecture schools become enamored of the aesthetics in the field to the detriment of all else. Not so at RMIT. Here, the approach is an ideal combination of meaningful research with design solutions. The architecture program achieves this by teaching design skills based in their practical application and framed by social idealism and cross-disciplinary training.