The Architecture of Architecture Schools

By Laura Raskin and Asad Syrkett

Gund Hall, Harvard University
Photo © Bruce T. Martin
Gund Hall, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. John Andrews, 1972. Slideshow


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As Marc Treib writes in an essay in Joan Ockman’s Architecture School: Three Centuries of Educating Architects in North America, architecture-school buildings haven’t changed much from their early-20th century design roots: prominent drafting rooms and studios, surrounded by classrooms, lecture halls, and offices. Each iconic structure remains a symbol of the institution’s educational mission. But with the rise of digital tools, increased class sizes, and an emphasis on collaboration and transparency in both architectural education and the workplace, schools must adapt. Many of them have. The following is a look at six structures renovated in the last decade, and how well they do—or do not—serve their clients: students. Most of these renovations have contended with a need to both preserve an icon and address the evolving requirements of students, faculty, and the demands of the profession. The degree candidates we spoke with feel passionately about their buildings’ quirks—from favorite new views to skateboard-friendly hallways— and use them as case studies for learning.

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