Michael Speaks, Dean
201 Slocum Hall
About the College
The Syracuse University School of Architecture consistently ranks among the best schools of architecture in the nation. The reasons most often cited are our committed and diverse faculty, our number and variety of study abroad opportunities, and our nationally-accredited, professional degree programs, which provide students the technical skill and the cultural knowledge necessary to practice in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.
Consistent with our commitment to prepare students for a world shaped by globalization, the Syracuse School of Architecture has created the Global Studio program with facilities and full time faculty in Florence, London and New York. Students may spend up to two semesters studying full time in each of these programs. In addition, we offer a range of other study abroad options with shorter programs of study in Turkey, Japan, China and India. We are also committed to bringing world-class practitioners and educators to teach and lecture at our home campus in Syracuse. Each semester we organize a visiting lecture series featuring architects and designers from around the world. And, each semester, as part of our Visiting Critic Program, nationally and internationally recognized professors lead studios on our Syracuse campus.
Shaped by globalization and rapid technological transformation, the practice of architecture, over the last decade, has undergone dramatic change, placing the architect, once again, at the center of some of the most defining issues of our time. The School of Architecture at Syracuse University has not only kept pace with these changes, but our faculty, staff, students and alumni have led and continue to lead the effort to make a better world through the design of better buildings and cities. We invite you to visit and to join us.
Michael Speaks, Ph.D.
Dean, School of Architecture
As a professional-degree-granting college within a research university, the School of Architecture at Syracuse University is dedicated to creating a rich academic environment marked by the confluence of advanced practice, contemporary theory, and social engagement. Our primary goal is to help students develop the capacity and judgment necessary to understand the built environment and generate architecture as a critical response, so that each student can engage both the discipline of architecture and the multiple discourses-artistic, technological, social, political, environmental, economic-necessary to be a successful practitioner and a conscientious citizen. Through our teaching and public programming, we help students gain a deep knowledge of architecture’s techniques, traditions, methods of inquiry, and modes of production, so that they emerge with the intellectual breadth and acuity to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world that demands agility and innovation. Through both programming and outreach activities, we aim to engage a wider public audience in a dialogue about the role of architecture in society.
To serve this mission we are committed to the following principal objectives:
- Recruiting, enrolling, and retaining the most qualified students.
- Recruiting, employing, and retaining the most qualified faculty and staff.
- Creating and sustaining a supportive academic environment marked by academic integrity, cultural diversity, and social responsibility.
- Providing the best professional education possible by offering professional degree programs that combine expertise specific to the discipline of architecture with critical thinking skills and intellectual knowledge central to humanistic study.
- Teaching an integrated curriculum within which courses in design and other specializations support the proposition, exploration, and development of architectural ideas.
- Maintaining and enhancing our expertise and capabilities in significant areas of research and practice.
- Providing opportunities for students to participate in international study programs to better understand the global forces and local cultural contexts that contribute to the production of architecture and urban design in these settings.
- Offering visiting critic studios both on and off campus that provide students with an exposure to alternative perspectives and advanced building practices.
- Demonstrating overall competency through a self-directed process of research, documentation, proposition, and project development within the capstone experience of thesis.
- Increasing student awareness of and ability to engage with major issues such as social equity, economic development, and ecological balance.
- Encouraging faculty and students to participate in interdisciplinary initiatives offered within a diverse and rich campus setting.
- Preparing graduates to enter the profession in a variety of ways, with strong basic design skills coupled with the technical ability, business acumen and an understanding of the ethical role of the architect in society.
- Supporting faculty achievement in creative activity and scholarly research.
- Generating advocacy and support for School initiatives from alumni, faculty, staff, and advisory board members, and among civic and business leaders.
Syracuse Architecture Studio Culture
The primary goals of the School of Architecture at Syracuse University are to promote research into architecture and to educate students for professional practice and other forms of architectural engagement. Faculty instructors challenge students to develop the capacity for understanding the built environment and generating architectural design proposals as a critical response. They assist students in cultivating manifold design capabilities linked to critical intelligence about the discipline and supported by state-of-the-field expertise in representation, technology, structures, theory and history.
A central component of this mission is the cultivation of a learning environment that supports students in the fullest development of their capacities as designers, scholars, professionals, and citizens. To this end, students, faculty and staff are dedicated to the task of working together to foster five fundamental values:
- mutual respect among all members of the School;
- optimism about the potential for student learning, creativity and contribution;
- collaboration among students, faculty, staff and the broader public in pursuing advances in learning, knowledge, and practice;
- critical engagement with the discipline, the profession and the world; and
- continual innovation in teaching, learning, and research.
These values inform all of our activities. In the context of classrooms, studios, and other learning environments, they translate into these guidelines:
- The School encourages students and faculty alike to embrace the design studio and the classroom as places of intellectual and creative exploration and collaboration. The frequently open-ended pursuit of knowledge through design and other forms of learning requires generosity of spirit on all parts, including the recognition that faculty members bring a high level of expertise to their teaching and that students bring a diversity of valuable prior knowledge to their learning. It also requires clear communication, rigorous testing of ideas, and a commitment to excellence on the part of all participants.
- The School encourages collaboration among students in their academic work and in extracurricular activities, as well as among students, faculty and staff in continually advancing knowledge and improving the ways we work together. It also promotes a culture of engagement in which students develop intellectually, technically and ethically through interaction with problems, opportunities and people not only within the field of architecture but also beyond it.
- The School values social, intellectual and disciplinary diversity in its staff, faculty and student population, as well as in its curriculum. In its teaching, research and daily activities, it strives to support and promote each of these kinds of diversity.
- The School recognizes that balance is a crucial element in the pursuit of excellence, and it encourages faculty to guide students in developing the capacity to reconcile what often seem to be competing imperatives in their work and in their lives. This includes managing expectations so as to minimize conflicts among courses, helping students to manage their time effectively, and promoting an appropriate balance between academic work and the other essentials of life.
- The School expects students to uphold the principles of academic integrity in their work and ethical conduct in their daily lives. Honesty, trustworthiness and fairness are essential attributes for conduct in class, within the university community, and in academic activities beyond Syracuse. These principles should guide behavior not only in the completion of course assignments, but also in treatment of buildings and equipment; interaction with university staff, systems and procedures; and behavior in the studio and elsewhere.
The School of Architecture B.Arch and M.Arch programs are fully-accredited by the National Architectural Accreditation Board (NAAB).
In the United States, most registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accreditation Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit professional degree programs in architecture offered by institutions with U.S. regional accreditation, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted an eight-year, three-year, or two-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.
Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may require a pre-professional undergraduate degree in architecture for admission. However, the pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.
Syracuse University, School of Architecture offers the following undergraduate NAAB-accredited degree program:
B.Arch - 162 Credit Hours
For further information about NAAB accreditation, visit the NAAB website.
Chair, Lawrence C. Davis, 201 Slocum Hall
Contact School of Architecture, (315) 443-8242
The Syracuse University School of Architecture offers one of the most distinguished undergraduate programs in the nation leading to a professional bachelor of architecture degree. Founded in 1873, the school provides a comprehensive and intellectually challenging approach to the design of the built environment. It is a course of study that recognizes the mix of art and technology, and responds to the changing demands of the profession and society.
The design studio sequence is at the core of the five-year undergraduate program and is unique to architectural education. It is here that students begin to understand the fundamentals of design, working alongside their classmates. Instruction takes place at the desk through extensive one-on-one communication with dedicated professors, and in formal and more casual reviews of work. In addition to studio and class work the school hosts a renowned lecture series, as well as symposia and exhibitions by leading architects, critics, and scholars, many of whom also participate in studio reviews held throughout the semester.
Our faculty members are recognized for their level of commitment to each student’s progress and represent a broad range of the profession, from practicing architects, architectural historians, and theorists to professional artists and engineers.
Upper-level students have the option to study in New York City and abroad through programs in Florence, Italy; and London, England. They also have the opportunity to select a visiting critic studio led by notable architects from across the nation and abroad. These design studios explore advanced architectural issues, computer applications, and fabrication techniques.
Prospective students may apply to the school for fall admission. All applicants must submit a portfolio of creative work. We strongly recommend all applicants to visit the school and complete an interview and in-person portfolio review with a faculty member.
Students from other schools of architecture may apply for fall admission to the first or second years of the B.Arch. program. In most cases transfer students begin the studio sequence in the first year (ARC 107 ) unless advanced standing has been approved. Transfer credit evaluations are completed after a student is admitted into the B.Arch program.
Syracuse University students interested in Intra-University transfer to the School of Architecture must have a minimum 3.0 grade point average, prepare and submit a portfolio of creative work, and participate in a personal interview. No mid-year transfers are accepted.
Students not enrolled in the B.Arch. program may minor in Architecture. The minor in architecture is described in the Architecture Minor section of the School of Architecture course catalog. For information on the major or minor in the history of architecture, please see the College of Arts and Sciences .
For further information about our undergraduate program, please visit our website.
Off Campus Programs
Syracuse Architecture offers opportunities for advanced-level architecture students to spend a semester or a summer studying in one of our off-campus centers - New York City, Florence, or London. Undergraduate students typically study away in the spring semester of their third year and/or the fall semester of their fourth year of the B.Arch program. Virtually 100% of students study away for a single semester, but opportunity exists to enroll for two consecutive semesters as well - 50% of our students choose to study away for a full year. Our programs are also open to non-SU students who study architecture and are currently enrolled in an accredited architecture program. Special scholarship opportunities exist to aid students in taking advantage of study away programs.
As part of the Florence Architecture Program, established in 1980, students engage the traditional European city and gain an international perspective on design and theory. Annual symposia attract European architects and international critics who are in the forefront of the profession, and there are extensive field trips to sites of architectural significance such as Venice, Milan, Rome, Lucca, Bologna, and Pisa. The Florence Center includes five separate structures that house classrooms, lecture halls, a library, computer clusters, language center, and gardens. The recently renovated architectural studios are housed in 19th-century artist studios on Piazza Donatello, just a 15-minute walk from the historic center of Florence. The program is staffed by Syracuse based and Italian faculty. The program also features lectures, visiting critics and workshops in collaboration with experts from across Italy and Europe.
The London program is based at the Syracuse University London Center in central London, near Covent Garden and the British Museum. The program is structured around a design studio and includes history courses and a field studies seminar exploring the historic and contemporary architecture of London, with excursions to other cities in the UK. Students may also select from the wide range of nonprofessional courses available to satisfy elective requirements. The program is staffed by Syracuse and London-based faculty and includes guest lecturers and visiting critics drawn from the extensive London architecture community.
New York City
The University’s Fisher Center is based at 136 Madison Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, and offers opportunity to study in one of the most architecturally rich and culturally vibrant cities in the world. The curriculum focuses on the city’s history, urban morphology, planning, real estate development, as well as urban theory. The program draws on NYC based and Syracuse Architecture faculty and includes guest lecturers, additional programming, as well as extensive field studies in and around the Metropolitan New York City.
Short-Term/Summer Global Programs
In addition to the regular semester offerings, summer and other 2-5 week off campus opportunities are available. Options vary from year to year and are designed to introduce students to architecture, urban cities and the disciplinary cultures that create them. India, France, Turkey, Greece, Germany, Russia, Spain, Austria, China, South America and Japan have been the subjects of study for such programs in the recent past.
For further information about our off-campus programs and how to apply, contact the Syracuse Architecture Associate Dean’s office at (315) 443-3324 or visit our website.
Facilities, Research, Institutes
Slocum Hall, the School of Architecture’s campus home, offers an ideal environment for teaching, research, production, and exhibition. Constructed in 1918 and listed on the National Register of Historical Places, the five-story building underwent a dramatic redesign from 2006-2008 to enhance and restore original qualities while updating it technologically, functionally, and aesthetically. Slocum Hall now includes a vast open central atrium space, an auditorium as well as expanded studio, research, and office space.
The building’s openness provides a cohesive setting that generates activity and communication between students, faculty, and visitors, supported by interconnecting vertical spaces or atria within the building. The central atrium and additional openings in the bearing wall allow pathways for natural light and ventilation. Facilities are closely integrated with the school’s pedagogical priorities. Public review spaces, an exhibition gallery, the architecture reading room, faculty offices, and the café are located along the perimeter of these atria in order to encourage collaboration and exchange.
Computing and Fabrication
The School of Architecture has two computer clusters, containing 60 latest-generation PCs connected to their own network and servers. State of the art software is available for a wide range of applications: 2D and 3D drafting; modeling, visualization, rendering and animation; image manipulation; desktop publishing; web page generation; video production; and GIS.
An output room provides an assortment of plotters, printers, and large and small format scanners available to students throughout the school from school or personal computers.
A digital fabrication equipment includes 3D printers using various media (liquid and solid polymers, paper and starch), laser cutters, large and small, CNC mills and a vacuum former. Required and elective courses range from introduction to the 3D computing environment to digital animation and digital production.
A fully equipped workshop is staffed by a full-time professional instructor and includes a full suite of woodworking equipment including saws, drills, planers, routers, sanders, a lathe, and various hand tools. There is also a ventilated spray booth for painting and finishing.
Reading Room and Library
Bird Library, the University research library, has an excellent collection of more than 10,000 architecture titles. In addition, the Architecture Reading Room on the third floor of Slocum Hall serves the needs of the School of Architecture and its students for quick access to course reserves, current periodical titles, and reference works. The general stack collection of more than 2,500 titles includes such commonly used architecture books as history surveys, monographs on key figures in architecture, technical sources, and reference standards. The Architecture Reading Room also houses a significant collection of prints of architectural working drawings. It provides a quiet and convenient place to study, and is interconnected with the larger Syracuse University library system.