Presenting the AD Architecture School Guide: University of Utah

Presenting the AD Architecture School Guide: University of Utah
University of Utah campus

It’s pretty easy to check out what the top architecture schools are, parsed by country. Just try Google and you’ll find a list of Top 10 Architecture schools in___. There is, most obviously, our own ArchDaily list of the Best Architecture Schools in the US. Another search yielded this site which ranked the Top 10 schools based on a vote and parsed by continent. In other words, it’s pretty easy to find school rankings.

What’s less easy is to actually 1) get accepted to one of these schools, and 2) figuring out a way to afford them. Besides which, it may not be appealing to attend one of those really famous schools because after all, they can be very large, intimidating, and even factory-like, depending upon how big the classes are. What many people are seeking is a balance between the quality of the faculty, class size, location of the school, and cost.

If this sounds like someone you know (or maybe it’s you), we’re here to help. In fact, if you’re attending a school that you think is great and deserves some acknowledgement, tweet me @xiaying.

In the meantime, there are a lot of schools that are running some very innovative architecture programs all over the world. And we will be looking at some of them to help people make what can be a pivotal life decision. In fact, what school you attend often shapes who you are to no small degree—at least at first.

(Read our first featured School after the break)

U. of Utah College of Architecture: ecologically-aware strategies

The Utah University college of Architecture and Planning

For our first school, we look at a trend that is gaining critical mass: ecologically-aware strategies and materials. It is, as one professor at the University of Utah’s College of Architecture + Planning calls it, a building ecology. The school, which offers both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees (2 and 3+ years), contains many unique programs. One of them is ITAC, which stands for the Integrated Technology in Architecture Center. This research hub offers faculty and students the opportunity to be “an agent of change toward better buildings.” Through a myriad of collaborative research projects and studios, ITAC continues to provide different ways for students and professionals to envision and engage the design and building process. What does that mean? Well, it includes designing and producing different building materials that are recycled and sustainable and flexible to analyzing and providing different rating systems. Students and faculty even collaborated on an energy efficient house that is not only inhabited by one of the directors of ITAC, Jörg Rügemer, but serves as an ongoing example and case study of passive energy efficient strategies.

The pedagogical approach is comprehensive, actively combining practical, real world experience with research and theory. Says Director and Professor Ryan Smith in an interview, “We often incorporate examples from basic and applied research and professional practice into the classroom demonstrating the full social and economic impacts of environmentally led decisions. We also allow students to investigate architectural design as a research question, exploring, probing, and integrating thinking outside of their discipline… Confronting students with such facts in a positive classroom environment, and allowing them to see actual research examples from the center of simulated and monitored buildings, sharpens their understanding and prepares them for the profession to be systemic thinkers and have an ability to perform research-based design.”

Another unique program at the University of Utah is called DesignBuildBluff (DBB). This offers students a different opportunity to design and build that results in real buildings. Begun as a single Design+Build Studio by adjunct professor Hank Louis, the goal is to improve the lives of citizens of the Navajo Nation and its Red Mesa Chapter. What can be more inspiring for students then to work in a studio whose design might be chosen for people with immediate needs?

It’s clear that there is some very interesting and innovative education going on at the University of Utah’s College of Architecture + Design. If you or someone you know is interested, then just know that for undergraduate admissions, the applications period is between March 1 to the end of April. For the MArch degrees, the application deadline is December 1st.

Windcatcher house, on the Navajo Reservation (image via


B. Arch Residents: from $5375 US to $5432 US for 25 credit hours. Non-residents: from $17373 US to $17583 US for 25 credit hours.

M.Arch Program Residents: $9757 US for 25 credit hours. Non residents: $24349 US for 25 credit hours.

B.Arch: 01-april. M.Arch: 01-december.

B.Arch & 2 years M.Arch: fall 3+ years M.Arch: summer.

About this author
Cite: Sherin Wing. "Presenting the AD Architecture School Guide: University of Utah" 06 Aug 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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