Architecture schools and the students they house have a particularly unique and interesting building-user relationship. Architecture students value the buildings of their school not only for providing the valuable work space necessary for constructing studio projects but also as an example and model of a building in use. As the buildings are the places where students first learn how to read and understand architecture, design schools become full-scale teaching tools that help new designers grasp structure, details, how materials perform and interact, and so many of the other core concepts of architecture. While the scrutiny of students and faculty can be exhaustive, architects have embraced the challenge of creating engaging works of architecture that both suit the specific needs of a school and take on the pedagogical challenge of educating students by example.
Buildings for teaching and learning architecture are often part of a larger college or university campus, which requires them to comply with a school’s campus master plan and fit within a sometimes homogeneous architectural context. Architecture schools are not typical academic buildings though—the demand for open studio space, critique spaces that accommodate large gatherings (but may not always be in use), and space for resources like a workshop or digital workrooms make flexibility an important factor for a successful architecture school.
Along with large interior spaces for sizable groups and individual workspace, light quality is vital for creating an inspiring studio space. Exposed structural elements and unfinished surfaces are also desirable in a building for teaching—while other clients might prefer to hide some less aesthetic building elements, revealing them helps students connect academic study to the reality of their surroundings.
A collection of 15 significant and recent architecture school buildings that inspire and challenge the next generations of designers.
Melbourne VIC, Australia
2016 ArchDaily Educational Building of the Year
Boston, MA, USA
Providencia, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Sudbury, ON, Canada
Columbus, OH, USA
New Haven, CT, USA
Cambridge, ON, Canada
Princeton, NJ, USA
2012 addition to existing 1963 building
Clemson, SC, USA
Ithaca, New York, USA