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An Architecture School in the Making

Under the leadership of founding dean Adele Naudé Santos, the UCSD School of Architecture is absorbed in its first research project rethinking the nature of architectural education. With just nine months until the arrival of the first class of students, she and her four founding faculty are honing in on the final aspects of the curriculum.

“We’re starting off with the idea of research, of inquiry, then developing our program around it.  “At some level it’s a state of mind,” says Santos. “Design in the studios will be associated with the questions we are addressing in the research group, and the ideas generated will be put to some greater use. We aren’t just creating theoretical design exercises.”

The school’s research agendas include housing prototypes, environmentally appropriate design, and energy alternatives among many others. Santos and the faculty are examining the variety of contexts in which these agendas can be explored and applied. “The world is our laboratory,” says Santos. “An important part of our curriculum involves a ‘practicum.’ Our students will work with the research group on projects located locally and throughout developing countries. For example, designing and building a prototype for affordable housing in Tijuana has all sorts of dimensions: climate, culture, materials and construction technology to name just a few.”

Santos describes the UCSD School of Architecture as an exciting experiment in architectural education. About the founding faculty, she says: “Dana Cuff, William Curtis, Craig Hodgetts and Susan Ubbelohde are all individuals who are exceptional, not only in the sense that they are accomplished within their area of expertise, but also in their willingness to explore, to be experimental. The choice of these four individuals reveals a lot about our aspirations for the new school. We are building this program together, from the curriculum to the research group.”

The school is in the process of admitting its first class in the Master of Architecture programs for fall, 1992. This first year, two degrees are offered: M.Arch I, a first professional degree for students with a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science; and M.Arch II, for those students who have earned a bachelor of architecture. Enrollment will be limited to a maximum of thirty students. Also in progress is an international search for additional faculty at the school; five hundred applications were received for the small number of posts.

Back to Spring – 1992 Newsletter