Cornell University School of Architecture

cornell architecture

Cornell University

PROGRAMS: Cornell University School of Architecture

With a tradition of more than 130 years of dedication to the teaching of architecture, The AAP Department of Architecture appreciates and respects the challenge of working closely with the exceptionally talented students who are the backbone of our program. We strive to offer the best architectural education available, respecting our tradition while continuing to evolve to meet current and future challenges.

Undergraduate Program

The Department of Architecture has about 275 undergraduate students, a full-time resident faculty of 24, and six to 10 visiting faculty. The intensive, five-year architecture program graduates about 55 students each year.

Graduate Program

The Professional Master of Architecture program seeks individuals interested in practicing architecture, teaching architecture, and otherwise contributing to the culture of architecture as a social and spatial reality. This program, designed for applicants who possess a four-year undergraduate Bachelor’s degree in any area, joins Cornell’s renowned B.Arch. degree program and provides an additional option for professional education in architecture. The program admitted its first students in fall 2004.

Special Programs

  • Cornell in Rome
  • Study Abroad Programs
  • Introduction to Architecture Summer Program
  • On-Campus Summer Session

ABOUT: Cornell University School of Architecture

Cornell University has one of the oldest and most respected architecture schools in the United States. We strive to offer the best architectural education available, respecting our tradition while evolving to meet current and future challenges.

In our college we teach and practice architecture, fine arts, and city and regional planning as creative and powerful forces with the potential to improve the world. We prepare our students to address the complex problems of the twenty-first century through the application of the art and science of design. Providing rigorous theoretical training and studio experiences, we encourage imagination, technical creativity, critical thinking, a sense of history, and the development of a social, ethical, and artistic perspective. We advocate for the rights of all communities and all individuals to participate in the planning of their futures. We prepare our graduates for their role as world citizens in a diverse yet inclusive society.

HISTORY: Cornell University School of Architecture

In 1871, three years

into his tenure as the first president of Cornell University, Andrew Dickson White challenged the Board of Trustees to establish a new program to provide formal academic training in architecture. White combined a fascination with architecture with a sense of its importance to cultural history.

While still a young man, he had begun collecting architectural books and journals. He offered his collection, his “pet extravagance” and possibly the best collection in the United States at the time, to the University. In return, the Trustees agreed to found a School of Architecture and appointed Charles Babcock as the first professor of architecture in the United States.

Providing the first four-year course in architecture in an American university, it presented an alternative to apprenticeship programs or to study in Europe. The new architecture program was immediately popular, registering 32 students by 1876 and enrolling its first international student in 1879. A year later Margaret Hicks (A.B. 1878, B.Arch. 1880) became the first woman to graduate from an architecture course at an American university. In the 1920s, Cornell became the first architecture school to extend its curriculum to five years.

By 1896, the College of Architecture also offered classes in drawing, painting and sculpture, and a Department of Art was formally added in 1921. A City and Regional Planning program began in 1935, though it did not become a separate department until 1952. In 1967 the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning officially acquired its current name.

Cornell’s landscape architecture program became part of the College of Architecture in 1922, and by 1933 Cornellians had won seven out of eleven Prix de Rome awards in the field. Since 1973, the undergraduate program in landscape architecture has resided in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, while the graduate program is part of AAP.

The M.F.A. program began in the 1940s. A program in city and regional planning was launched in 1935. In the 1960s a graduate program in urban design was added. In 1986 the college launched Cornell in Rome, a program which has become a vital component of many AAP students’ education.

From the 21 students in the first class to a current enrollment of approximately 500 undergraduates and 200 graduate students, from a faculty of one to a faculty of more than 60, the college has grown and prospered.

VISIT: Cornell University School of Architecture

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