Humanity has become obsessed with breaking its limits, creating new records only to break them again and again. In fact, our cities’ skylines have always been defined by those in power during every period in history. At one point churches left their mark, followed by public institutions and in the last few decades, it's commercial skyscrapers that continue to stretch taller and taller.
But when it comes to defining which buildings are the tallest it can get complicated. Do antennas and other gadgets on top of the building count as extra meters? What happens if the last floor is uninhabitable? The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has developed their own system for classifying tall buildings, measuring from the “level of the lowest, significant, open-air, pedestrian entrance to the architectural top of the building, including spires, but not including antennae, signage, flag poles or other functional-technical equipment.” Using this system more than 3,400 buildings have been categorized as over 150 meters tall.
In it’s 12th year of publication in DesignIntelligence, James Cramer and the Greenway Group have compiled the 2011 America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools ranking. Cornell University repeated as the No.1 Undergraduate Architecture program. The most significant switch among the universities this year, the University of Michigan Graduate program grabbing the No.1 spot, nudging out Harvard (No.2) who had consecutively held the top position for the last six years.
James Cramer answered the ever popular question, why rank schools, “At university, students’ experiences can significantly enhance or diminish their interests as well as their likelihood for future success. This gives schools both tremendous opportunity and huge responsibility, since what happens in them has the potential to change the careers of individuals as well as the architecture profession as a whole.”
Cramer continues, “Another answer is given by the architecture firms that employ recent graduates. If the purpose of a professional degree is to prepare students for professional practice, then how well are degree-granting institutions performing the task? Ongoing research by the Design Futures Council and Greenway Group shows that architecture firms and related professional practice careers are being deconstructed and reinvented at an accelerated pace. Beyond the economy, for example, the profession is being shaped by profound changes in technology, such as building information modeling. Can educational institutions keep pace with the changing needs of 21st-century practices? And so we ask in our survey, “In your firm’s hiring experience in the past five years, which schools are best preparing students for success in the architecture profession?”
After the break you can find the complete rankings divided into the following categories: analysis and planning, communication, computer applications, construction methods and materials, design, research and theory and sustainable design practices and principles as seen at Architectural Record.
People at opentravel made a ranking on the world’s best planned cities. We surely agree on some of them, but we also think there are a lot of cities that may very well deserve a spot on the list. What do you think?
The complete ranking with photos taken from our Flickr pool after the break.
Every year, the Greenway Group led by James Cramer (chief executive of the AIA from 1988 to 1994) assembles the architecture-schools rankings. The rankings include the top 10 undergraduate architecture schools and the top 10 graduate schools.
Also, there are different skills rankings, like “analysis and planning”, “communication”, “computer applications”, “construction methods and materials”, “design”, “research and theory” and “sustainable design practices and principles”. This may be a great tool for architecture students when looking for a school and useful also for architecture firms when deciding on who to employ.