Architecture and Environmental Design

In architecture we find elements of art history, critical theory, engineering, design, and the studio arts, as well as urban planning, sociology, economics, and political science.

Students at Hampshire interested in architecture and environmental design can combine any number of fields of interest, from topics such as spirituality and space, to ecology and design, to sustainable transportation systems, to memorialization and urban planning. Many of our students choose to concentrate in sustainable practices and community design, working in the studio and in the local community. Indeed, our goal is nothing less than to change the way in which we live in the world.

Hampshire College is also a member of the Five College Architectural Studies Program, and students have the option of obtaining a Five College major. The program is fiercely interdisciplinary, combining the history, theory, and design of the built environment.

In  the Five College Program students can study with specialists in community design, environmental design, sustainable practices, graphic design and representation, and architectural history and theory as well as global metropolitan studies, urban studies, and planning.

Our students have gone on to internships with significant firms, as well as advanced study in the most inspiring and preeminent graduate programs in the country. Many of our alums are designers at small and large firms, as well as writers and teachers in the field.

Student Project Titles

  • Los Angeles 1849-2042
  • Reflections on Holocaust Remembrance: History, Landscape and Postmemory at Auschwitz-Birkenau and Berlin
  • City Planning and Ataturk's Memorial Tomb in Early Republican Ankara
  • An Architectural Vision Quest
  • The Articulation of Social Interdependence through Architecture
  • Building Spaces with Children
  • Architecture and the Pursuit of Truth
  • Rebuilding New Orleans: Studies in City Planning
  • The Imagined City
  • Intimacy and Exposure: A Live/Work Dwelling for Artists
  • Okiciyapi: Examination of Architectural Intention
  • Archeology of Queer: Identity, Space and the Becoming of the Chinese City
  • Creative Experiments in Reconstructing Lowell
  • Gehry's Guggenheim Bilbao: The Art Museum Redefined

Sample First-Year Course

Utopia: Visionary Art, Architecture and Theory

This course is an examination of utopian plans in architecture and art, including the works of C-N Ledoux, William Morris, Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Kandinsky, Buckminster Fuller, and others. We will consider the philosophical constructs of utopia in architectural drawings, buildings, and plans in relationship to film, painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts. We will consider how different projections about life in the future are also harsh criticisms of the present, which often rely upon imagined views of social organizations in times past. We will examine the relationship of the individual to the community, and consider how spatial constructions — real and imagined — can affect this relationship. The course begins with an examination of significant literary utopias, including the books by Sir Thomas More, Bellamy, and Morris. We examine the tensions between theory and practice, by studying the successes and failures of actual attempts at utopian communities. Screenings of films that challenge the difference between utopia and dystopia will set up our discussions of displacement and chaos, as we consider whether utopian design is applicable to the 21st century.

Sample Courses at Hampshire

  • Advanced Architectural Design Studio: Narrative and Journey in Designed Space
  • Advanced Design + Media Lab: Art, Architecture, and Environment
  • Architectural Concepts and Fundamentals
  • Architectural Design: Basic Approaches
  • Architectural Design for Diversity and Social Change
  • Art and Exile
  • The Bauhaus
  • Crafting a Sustainable Design Lens
  • "Culturally Appropriate" Design
  • Poetic Structures of Space
  • Reconstructing Modernity
  • The Politics and Poetics of Space
  • Sites and Citations of the City
  • Theory of Architectural Ideas: Nature, Culture, and Architecture
  • Urban Space and Nature: Recent Environmentalist Approaches to Urban Design

Through the Consortium

  • Architectural Design Studio (AC)
  • Architecture and Design (UMass)
  • Architecture Since 1945 (SC)
  • Building Physics (UMass)
  • European Art and Architecture 1400-1800 (AC)
  • Introduction to the Built Environment (MHC)
  • Modern Architecture (MHC)
  • Sculpting Space with Meaning (MHC)
  • Site and Space (SC)

Facilities and Resources

Five College Architectural Studies Program

The Five College Architectural Studies Program (FCAS) explores collaborative programs in architectural studies and the built environment. The objective of FCAS is to cultivate concerned architectural thinkers, writers, and designers through a flexible yet rigorous interdisciplinary course of study. The program encourages students to explore a broad cross section of courses in and beyond the architecture discipline across the Five Colleges, and introduces students to a diverse collection of faculty members, methodologies, and design approaches.