BOLDLY ENVISIONING + CREATING THE MOST JUST, COMPELLING, + COURAGEOUS OF FUTURES
Architecture at UVA emphasizes the design process, creative speculation, critical inquiry and social impact. Design is our instrument, our strength, our expertise, our responsibility and our commitment. We focus on the pressing challenges of the day, recognizing the role of creativity, experimentation, and innovation, in shaping new futures. These challenges are addressed through our diversity of approaches, scales of work, methods and instruments - all of which share a common ground in which design is the milieu of the citizen-architect. Our strategies include objects, buildings, public spaces, infrastructures, landscapes, and territories - expanding the boundaries of the discipline, always rooted in design excellence.
4-year undergraduate program with pre-professional and design thinking concentrations
1-year, 2-year, 2.5-year, and 3-year graduate programs
UVA School of Architecture offers a curriculum built around the design studio. Our undergraduate and graduate architecture students take studio courses every semester; these are intensive project-based, often research-focused courses, through which our students develop individual or collaborative design propositions. Studios build the capacity to creatively, innovatively and ethically respond to spatial, material, tectonic, and cultural questions through an articulated design process. The design process is a rigorous way of addressing the most relevant questions of the day, through critical inquiry and ambitious acts of making.
The studio is a unique teaching and learning space and an essential element of our shared curricula, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. It is a space of community where our students are encouraged to experiment, speculate, and engage through individual and collective design actions. Studio courses are supported by a rich and diverse suite of lectures, seminars, and workshops in architectural technology, fabrication, theory, history, professional practice, visualization, and design culture.
We promote and create global research and travel opportunities for our students, with the recognition that the future of architecture is increasingly global. Direct engagement with the sites and communities we are studying and designing for is a critical part of our curricula. Our students travel locally and nationally, but also internationally to experience design in-situ, to engage in fieldwork, and to gain a deeper awareness of global cultures.
Students have many options to study abroad for summer sessions or for full semesters. UVA School of Architecture offers ongoing programs in Venice, Vicenza, Barcelona, China, and Ghana, and continues to build its study abroad opportunities.
In addition, our research studios focus on global sites, cultures and questions; Recent studios, as well as ongoing research developed by faculty, have speculated on design propositions in India, China, Argentina, Japan, Germany, the Arctic, and more.
As part of a leading research institution, UVA School of Architecture offers our undergraduate and graduate students opportunities to work directly with faculty on a variety of relevant contemporary topics that frame a consistent multi-year research agenda. Two studios are defined specifically as "Research Studios" and build upon our faculty's research trajectories and expertise.
Research studios are also often interdisciplinary and enhanced by collaborations with non-profits, organizations, communities, and leading-edge design practitioners. Internationally known visiting faculty further build upon the rich and diverse approaches and themes addressed within research studios.
YAMUNA RIVER PROJECT with Pankaj Vir Gupta
VOICES FROM A DIVERSE COMMUNITY with Elgin Cleckley
At UVA Architecture I've learned that an architecture education is omnipresent in the sense that designers never cease to acquire new knowledge; instead, they treasure and apply every minute detail within the human experience to their innovations. - Mohamad Ismail, M.Arch.
Having the chance to see different parts of the world during my education at UVA is a rewarding opportunity. There is so much we can learn from getting out of our comfort zone and spending time in cultures different to ours. - CEM AKGUN, BS ARCH - DESIGN THINKING
Kai-Uwe Bergmann (BSArch 1991), Partner + President of BIG Architects, NYC
With over two decades in design, construction and material apprenticeships, management leadership and teaching in the field of architecture, Kai-Uwe has pushed the conversation of architecture to broaden the definition of what architects can do – by designing spaces as well as buildings, designing systems such as energy, transportation, water management as well as solving structural, vertical transportation and facade systems. Kai-Uwe was the School of Architecture's 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient.
BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group): The Mountain, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2007; Image by Iwan Baan.
Deanna Van Buren (BSArch 1994), FOUNDER of FORUM DESIGN STUDIO
Deanna Van Buren is the founder of Forum Design Studio and an advocate for social justice and ethics in design. Through her designs, as well as workshops and events she is championing restorative justice: a form of incarceration centered around rehabilitation rather than punishment. A recent winner of the Women in Architecture Award, she has been recognized for her pioneering efforts in the field and her dedication to making positive changes to society.
Portrait by Jeff Singer; The Mediation Womb: FORUM DESIGN GROUP
Becca McCharen (BSARCH, 2006), FOUNDER + CEO OF CHOMAT FASHION
Since its 2010 launch, Becca's Chromat fashion label has been featured on stage, on the runways across the world. McCharen was chosen by the New York Observer as “One to Watch”, and named to the Forbes list, “30 Under 30: People Who Are Reinventing the World in 2014,” and is a recent honorable mention award recipient for Vogue's CFDA Fashion Fund. McCharen’s designs, reflect her architecture background – dramatically sculptural and mathematically precise, and marketed as “structural experiments for the human body.”