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BAM Ranking 2023: Top International Master's Programs in Architecture Revealed

The annual BAM ranking of International Master’s Programs in Architecture aims to assist architects and students in identifying the top international Master’s programs globally. Assessing programs from various leading architecture schools, it evaluates degrees through a comparative approach developed by a panel of 15 professors and international experts. For this edition, different Architecture and Built Environment programs have been selected to be part of the BAM Ranking 2023, and 18 Universities worldwide were featured in the 2023 edition of the BAM Ranking.

Similar to the past few years, Harvard University, Columbia University, and Universidad Politécnica de Madrid maintained their position at the top of the ranking. MIT has made the list with two programs, one focused on urbanism and the other on design. Moreover, Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, made the list with their English Program for Master in Architecture. The ranking also features TUDelft (Netherlands), TUM (Munich), and TUBerlin (Berlin) in Europe.

Are School Rankings a Thing from the Past? 16 Architecture Deans Criticize these Surveys in Official Statement

In a letter published on MIT's School of Architecture and Planning’s website, 16 deans from prominent architecture schools in the U.S, explain their position to stop participating in the annual survey that ranks universities. "Design education is not a popularity contest. Although generally our schools have been highly ranked in past DesignIntelligence reports and benefitted from the attention, we believe that it is time to stop participating", declares the statement signed by scholars, deans, and department chairs of MIT, Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, Yale, Rice, and UCLA, to name a few.

Stating clearly their position to boycott future ranking, the decision came after two years of informal discussions where the methodologies used behind these academic surveys were questioned, as well as their consequences. In fact, the letter adds that "however well-intentioned they may be, we believe that the DI rankings have the potential to create a disservice to the public". 

2022 Best Architecture Master Programs According to the BAM Ranking

In order to help architects and students to get to know the best International Master’s available in the world, BAM’s annual ranking compares and evaluates programs, from the best schools of architecture, through a comparative and objective methodology, developed by 13 international experts. For the 2022 edition, different Master’s Degree Programs from the recent QS Ranking – Architecture / Built Environment have been selected to take part in BAM’s Ranking.

Similar to previous years, in 2022, Harvard and Columbia maintained their leading positions in first and second place. MIT made a comeback to the list with two master's programs, in the fourth position, the Master of Science in Architecture Studies in Urbanism (SMArch Urbanism), and in the sixth position, the Master of Science in Architecture Studies in Design (SMArchS Design). Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and ETH Zurich were both ranked third, offering the best master’s program in Europe. Pontificia Universidad Católica in Chile occupied the 18th position, presenting a top master's degree in South America, followed closely in the 20th position by the Universidade de São Paulo.

2021 Best Architecture Masters According to the BAM Ranking

In order “to help architects and students to get to know the best International Master’s programs available”, the Best Architecture Masters (BAM) has established its annual list of top postgraduate architecture curriculums. Based on the QS Ranking by Subjects – Architecture / Built Environment, for the 2021 edition, 22 Universities were selected to be evaluated, by an Expert Committee, formed by 15 professors from all over the world.

In 2021, the Harvard Master in Architecture II continued to lead the ranking, and Colombia maintained second place with its Master of Science Degree in Advanced Architectural Design. TU Delft in the Netherlands took on the third position, becoming the best in Europe while Tsinghua University in China followed in the fourth position, becoming the best in Asia. The Master in Architecture of the Pontificia Universidad Católica in Chile occupied the 15th position and was named the best program in Latin America.

The Future of Universities, Offices and Cities: Highlights From Digital Futures 2020

Like most functions in recent months, this year’s Digital FUTURES, which is held annually since 2011 at Tongji University in Shanghai, had to move online due to the pandemic. The organizers took this as an opportunity to give the event a global dimension, turning the festival into what they rightfully call the most significant worldwide event for architectural education ever staged, with a 24/7 display of workshops, lectures and panel discussions involving some of the most prominent architects and educators. Here is an overview of the festival, together with a selection of lectures from Digital FUTURES World.

Photographs by Victoria Lautman Depict India’s Subterranean Stepwells

Victoria Lautman, the LA-based journalist, started taking pictures of stepwells in India, thirty years ago, collecting images from all over the country. The Fowler Museum at UCLA is exhibiting nearly fifty photographs of these water-harvesting structures, till the 20th of October 2019.

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INSTALLATION: MADWORKSHOP x UCLA Architecture and Urban Design x Succulent Walls

Succulent Walls tackle how architecture can respond to Southern California’s precarious relationship to water and lack of disaster preparedness. The work of a Master of Architecture (M.Arch.I) Research Studio taught by Heather Roberge, this collaboration between Mary and David Martin's MADWORKSHOP and UCLA Architecture and Urban Design prototypes a series of residential water catchment systems. By integrating a system for easily installed water storage and food production into the residential vernacular, the class of eleven graduate students hopes to transform our laissez-faire attitude towards this critical and finite resource into one of proactive self-sufficiency. Five group projects were distilled

Introducing GSAPP Conversations' Inaugural Episode: "Exhibition Models"

We are pleased to announce a new content partnership between ArchDaily and Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) in New York City.

GSAPP Conversations is a podcast series designed to offer a window onto the expanding field of contemporary architectural practice. Each episode pivots around discussions on current projects, research, and obsessions of a diverse group of invited guests at Columbia, from both emerging and well-established practices. Usually hosted by the Dean of the GSAPP, Amale Andraos, the conversations also feature the school’s influential faculty and alumni and give students the opportunity to engage architects on issues of concern to the next generation.

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Director of London's Architectural Association, Brett Steele, to Become UCLA Dean

Brett Steele, Director of London's Architectural Association (AA) since 2005, has announced that he will become Dean of UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture in August 2017. Although American-born, Steele has since become a naturalized British citizen. He studied at the AA, the University of Oregon, and the San Francisco Art Institute respectively, before working as a Project Architect at Zaha Hadid Architects in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Event: UCLA Architecture and Urban Design 50th Anniversary Gala

The UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture celebrates the 50th Anniversary of UCLA Architecture and Urban Design (UCLA A.UD). Join the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture as we celebrate and recognizeUCLA Architecture and Urban Design's (UCLA A.UD) role in shaping the world through architecture, urbanism, and design. The event, held Saturday, March 19, honors legendary architect Denise Scott Brown, visionary designer Yves Béhar, and a key group of influential advocates who have helped preserve Palm Springs’ extraordinary legacy of mid-century modern architecture. 

How 5 California Colleges Approach Campus Design

In this article, originally published in 2 parts on Metropolis Magazine as "Building a University: How 5 California Schools Approach Campus Design" (Part 1 & Part 2), Sherin Wing investigates how different Californian universities utilize the design of their campus to express and enable their differing missions.

A school is more than just the sum of its intellectual records. Its legacy is very much tied to a physical place: its campus. More than a mascot or a symbol, the design of a campus and the buildings that form it greatly contribute to a university's lasting identity.

The key, then, is how a school’s material identity advances its intellectual mission. For example, academic buildings often physically symbolize the type of scholarly exploration and research that takes place therein. Administrative centers, on the other hand, anchor the more idealistic work taking place in the lecture and science wings. At the same time, individual buildings can function collectively as didactic forums for the public, demonstrating such principles as energy and water-use efficiencies. Lastly, the circulation between the buildings themselves is important. Open green space, for instance, can accommodate crowds, lectures, and even protests, providing a counterpoint to the more stately, processional routes that crisscross a campus.

Clearly these are different, and at times conflicting, agendas. How are they ranked and pursued by individual universities? Five campus architects at different California universities reveal how similar factors work in concert to produce very different visions and results. For some the initial plan of a school continues to wield influence over future developments, while in other cases a commitment to architectural movements and types gives rise to an eclectic, flexible approach to campus design.

Find out how these 5 California Universities approach their architecture after the break

UCLA’s cityLAB at the School of Architecture and Urban Design

UCLA’s cityLAB at the School of Architecture and Urban Design - Featured Image
Backyard Homes Conceptual Rendering, image courtesy Daly Genik Architects

What makes an architecture school worth consideration are its special programs and initiatives. These programs, often run by a few faculty members, vary from addressing human rights and legal issues to working with local communities to remedy social and economic issues.

UCLA's Architecture and Urban Design (AUD) school has just such a program. Called cityLAB (not to be confused with the student-run, science-based UCLA CityLab), it is in many ways unique to a university setting. Run by founder/director Professor Dana Cuff and co-directed by Professor Roger Sherman. It’s name is well-suited: a laboratory to test ideas and address issues arising from city conditions in ways that cannot be done by profit-driven firms. These issues include housing, commercial revitalization, and community and municipal collaboration. These projects have operated successfully on grants that support not just the work being done by the professors, but by staff and Graduate Student Researchers who are paid to work in all aspects of the projects.