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DesignIntelligence 25 Most Admired Educators for 2016

DesignIntelligence has named 25 educators for being the most "exemplary professionals" in their field. With professors from some of the US' top architecture schools, each honoree was selected with "extensive input from thousands of design professionals, academic department heads, and students." 

The "most admired" US design professors of 2016, include:

The Business of Design Success: How did BIG Get So... Big?

In recent years, the ever-increasing profile of Bjarke Ingels and his firm BIG have been hard to miss. For an office that is barely 10 years old, the number and scope of their projects is astonishing; to cope with demand, the firm has grown to employ almost 300 people. This growth, though, did not happen by accident. In this article, originally published on DesignIntelligence as "The Secret to BIG Success," Bob Fisher speaks to the firm's CEO and Partner Sheela Maini Søgaard in order to uncover the business plan behind the BIG phenomenon.

BIG may be the most appropriately named firm on the planet.

The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) seems to have an outsized impact in all it does. The Copenhagen-based design firm turns conventions and assumptions upside down and combines contrasting possibilities in outrageously bold, imaginative and playful ways. Projects like Via at West 57th Street in New York City and the Amager Bakke Waste-to-Energy Plant in Copenhagen are prime examples: the first a pyramid-shaped apartment building that defies the forest of rectangular towers around it, and the second a power plant that doubles as a smoke ring-blowing ski slope.

The world has taken note. Whether in praise or criticism, the architectural, cultural and business media tend to strike a heroic tone when describing the firm’s work: radical, ambitious, bold, confident. In short…BIG.

Danish National Maritime Museum, Helsingør. Image © Rasmus Hjortshøj Gammel Hellerup Gymnasium, Hellerup. Image © Jens Lindhe 8 House, Copenhagen. Image © Dragor Luftfoto Two World Trade Center in New York. Image © DBOX, Courtesy of BIG

The Best US Architecture Schools for 2016 are...

DesignIntelligence has released their 2016 rankings of the Best Architecture Schools in the US for both undergraduate and graduate programs. Nearly 1500 professional practice organizations were surveyed this year, as part of the survey's 16th edition, and were asked the following question: “In your firm’s hiring experience in the past five years, which of the following schools are best preparing students for success in the profession?”

This information, along with detailed accounts on the best programs that teach skills in design, communication, sustainability and technology, resulted in the 2016 rankings. The two top schools, Cornell for undergraduates and Harvard for graduates, held their positions as the best programs to attend, according to the study.

Without further ado, the top 10 undergraduate and graduate programs in the US are...

And the Best US Architecture Schools for 2015 Are…

DesignIntelligence has released their 2015 rankings of the Best US Architecture Schools for both undergraduate and graduate programs. Over 1,400 professional practice organizations were surveyed and asked to respond to the question: “In your firm’s hiring experience in the past five years, which of the following schools are best preparing students for success in the profession?” In addition, more than 3,800 architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, and industrial design students were also surveyed about their education, in data presented separately from the rankings.

However, perhaps more enlightening than the ranking itself are the firms' responses to several additional issues raised in the report.  For example, 54.6% of the firms surveyed selected sustainability and climate change as the professions’ biggest concern, while maintaining design quality was a close second.  Firms also provided insights on the most important qualities of new graduates entering the workplace, with an overwhelming 70.1% selecting attitude/personality as the most important attribute. 

Read on after the break for the Top 10 undergraduate and graduate programs.

2013 United States Best Architecture Schools

Milstein Hall at Cornell University / OMA © Matthew Carbone
Milstein Hall at Cornell University / OMA © Matthew Carbone

UPDATE: The lists have been updated from showing the Top 5 Schools in each category, to the Top 20. 

James Cramer and the Greenway Group have released the 14th edition of DesignIntelligence, a compilation of different rankings for accredited architecture schools in the United States. The report attempts to create a level playing ground upon which to rank the universities by polling thousands of students, talking to deans and administrators, interviewing successful designers in private practices, and visiting each university campus.  While the findings may raise some debate, overall, the report creates a dialogue as to how, and to what extent, higher education responds to the changing demands of our profession.

Although design education is generally well respected, several of the educators, students and practitioners interviewed this year were critical of its current state, believing that it is simply not good enough. As Cramer describes, “Respect for design education is high – and can grow further. This will require that there be a deep understanding of the dimensions of the trends in the design profession. When schools and practitioners are in harmony on these dimensions of change, they can reinforce and enhance each other. In this there is art and science. Leadership is at issue. The big shifts can be signs of new strength in a time of flux.”

A closer look after the break…