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The Architecture and Environmental Design Program is a perfect example of Hampshire College's unique interdisciplinary curriculum. Our program embraces the complexity of architecture--the process, practice, and historical significance--by encouraging the exploration of the many aspects of design. Through a combination of practical and theoretical approaches, Hampshire's design students examine the social, political, historical, theoretical, scientific, and legal aspects of planning in the framework of studying architectural form.
The program encourages a rigorous studio regimen matched with a serious examination of architectural histories, texts, and contexts, opening up students to the ways in which architecture affects, and is affected by, the environment around it. Students explore, study, and analyze urban fabrics, social structures, environmental systems, and the economics of buildings in the design process, and pose questions about the impact of their actions on individuals, communities, and even nations. For example, the perceptual implications of architectural representation, the political repercussions of architecture and globalization, and serious explorations into environmental sustainability are encouraged in a rigorous and inventive manner-from studio, historical, and theoretical standpoints. Many students remain close to the core discipline, focusing on a role as a future architect, while others seek alternative routes within this program focusing on the relationship between architecture and other disciplines in art, science, or sociology. Many choose to fuse their design practices with architectural history, criticism, and theory. While taking in a diverse cross-section of courses in various disciplines, students are encouraged to identify and develop their individual role as designers and thinkers, and are asked: "What is architecture?" "What else can it be?"
Through a relationship with the Studio Arts Center International (SACI), Hampshire architecture students have the opportunity to spend a semester in Florence, Italy, studying architectural design. SACI was founded in 1975 to create a program for students seeking excellence in studio arts and liberal arts instruction. It combines the cultural resources of Italy with well-equipped facilities minutes away from Florence's central market, and is well known as a leading resource for students interested in art, art history, or architectural design.
A newly formed affiliation with the New York Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies allows Hampshire architecture students to participate in summer programs or semester exchanges with this prestigious and innovative institute. The Institute seeks to promote improvisational and interdisciplinary design solutions that address contemporary environmental and social issues.
Other Hampshire programs in China and Berlin offer the opportunity to study architecture in a global context.
In order to capitalize on the resources, courses, events, and design communities within the Five Colleges, students interested in exploring architecture can reach out to the Five College Architectural Studies program to expand their knowledge, skills, and experience. The objective of the Five College Architectural Studies program is to cultivate concerned architectural designers and thinkers through a flexible yet rigorous interdisciplinary course of study. Our cross-disciplinary approach to architectural education introduces students to a multitude of ways to think about design in history, theory, and in the studio.
Please visit the Five College Architectural Studies website for more information on classes, programs, faculty, and events--or to just join the conversation.