Since 1887, Pratt Institute has been at the forefront of creative activity in Brooklyn. As part of a leading design institute, the Graduate Architecture and Urban Design (GAUD) is committed to balancing knowledge with understanding. The curriculum is oriented towards integrative learning methodologies, immersing students in a combination of coursework in Design, Technology, Media, and History-Theory, before deepening their study with Directed Research-based Advanced Studios and Electives. The three programs (M.Arch, MS.Arch and MS. Architecture and Urban Design) offer access to some of the field’s leading design thinkers and practitioners and are amplified by a robust lecture series and events.
The School of Architecture has a unique culture that is based upon individual creativity and innovation, complemented by sophisticated faculty and student-based research that explores the most advanced perspectives in each of the school’s academic programs, says Tom Hanrahan, Dean of the School of Architecture.
Under the new leadership of Chair David Erdman, a range of summer programs will further expand the GAUD’s curriculum, all of which are made accessible to students from a wide range of backgrounds. With three new summer programs in Brooklyn and two international programs, the GAUD’s students are given exclusive access to faculty, courses, and facilities.
In the summer programs, students take a deep, immersive dive, which we hope will change your way of thinking about what architecture is and can be. The programs are complemented with experiential learning, extensive excursions, on-site learning, and discussion, cutting directly to the core of what we do at the GAUD, explains Erdman.
Post-professional students begin their program with a Summer semester of intensive disciplinary studios and seminars that are highly integrated and coordinated to give the students a rich experience.
For students who want to spend a summer in Brooklyn and experience the neighborhood’s multi-disciplinary energy, summer courses offer a taste of the GAUD’s rigorous programs and access to the Department’s full facilities. Ideal for students with an undergraduate degree who are considering enrolling in an M.Arch program, the compressed four-week Immersion Studio is a way for prospective students to further explore their interest in architecture and apply to Pratt or programs worldwide.
Entering M.Arch students are offered two separate two-week summer “Primer” courses prior to entering in the Fall. For students without an architecture degree Primer 01 is optional and gives students a critical edge up in preparation for the year ahead. For those students with a Bachelor of Science in architecture and admitted as M.Arch (AS), Primer 02 (a required course) gets them up to speed before starting their first semester.
As a non-architecture graduate going into the three-year Master of Architecture program, my greatest apprehension was the steep learning curve of the various software programs. I was pleasantly surprised that the course was focused on design, despite being geared toward the introduction of software. I really enjoyed the hands-on aspect of being able to work with various tools for model-making, such as laser cutting and 3D printing, says Naomi Ng, now a first-year M.Arch student in the GAUD.
For current M.Arch students, who want to extend their learning through the summer and get a sense of what the GAUD’s Directed Research Electives are like, the international programs in Havana and Rome offer an immersive introduction to those courses and shape a seminal understanding of how to see and engage the city as an architect.
In Havana, students join Chair David Erdman and visiting assistant Professor Natalia Echeverri to explore the importance of new architectural contexts, as they learn about the city, connect with its unique history, and anticipate the future of its urban fabric. For their final project, students meet with local designers and engage key stakeholders to work on a 20-story hotel proposal for a post-industrial site on the city’s harbourfront.
The opportunity to travel to Cuba and learn from its architecture was incredible. The trip was structured around an intensive investigation of the city, ultimately inspiring our final project. Coming back to New York, I found that my experiences with the program helped me transition into a new semester, said M.Arch student Chase Kaars enrolled in the Havana summer elective after her first year at the GAUD.
In Rome, students study with Mark Rakatansky to learn about new architectural mediums, exploring generative design and developing new visualization methods, using apps and augmented reality to analyze and diagram buildings, while traveling between cities like Rome, Florence, Mantua, Vicenza, and Venice.
As Erdman further sums up, whether, in Brooklyn, Havana, or Rome, the summer courses explore as many ways of thinking as possible, no matter what your background is.
For enrollment information, please visit Graduate Architecture and Urban Design Programs.