RISD’s Master of Architecture program is one of the few in the US embedded in a college of art and design. Here, architecture is taught in a way that understands the practice of design and making as a thoughtful, reflective process that both engenders and draws from social, political, material, technological and cultural agendas. The program aims to empower students to exercise their creativity by understanding their role as cultural creators and equipping them to succeed in the client-based practice of architecture.
More than 40 full- and part-time faculty members work with approximately 100 students in this professionally accredited program, providing criticism and support through critiques, informal reflection and ongoing discussion – both during and outside of class time. Visiting professors contribute alternate perspectives and insights, complementing the range of academic, research-based and professional practice among the resident faculty. M.Arch I candidates come to RISD from around the world, bringing different approaches and various degrees of fluency in visual, verbal, construction-based and technical expression.
Since graduate and undergraduate curricula are connected at RISD, the department offers a powerful synergy between the exuberance and fearlessness of the undergraduates, and the thoughtfulness, articulation and experience levels of the graduate students. The resulting learning environment offers an ideal preparation for the highly collaborative practice of architecture.
“In Architecture you’ll discover that we value individual sensibilities, material reasoning, facility with symbiotic meaning/making and perhaps above all, imagination. As you develop a fluency with design and spatial cognition, you’ll find a new sense of authority and confidence in your own voice as a creative thinker and maker.”
Laura Blosser MArch 2010
Josh Lantzy and Benjamin Phillips MArch 2010
Allison Johnson MArch 2014
Jacob Miller MArch 2013
Maria Paz MArch 2013
Eugenia Yu MArch 2013
Based on a three-year course of study (or two years for those who qualify for the Advanced Standing track), the curriculum builds on fundamental areas underpinning the creative practice of architecture: representation and fabrication; technologies and professional ethics; history and theory; and design and the process of projecting architecture. Throughout the program, ideas are expressed not only discursively but through actual production.
Students take a challenging, three-semester sequence of core studios involving group and individual efforts, manual and physical labor, digital- and hand-production, and abstract and concrete thinking. These courses challenge preconceptions in order to reconsider the intertwining intellectual, intuitive and physical factors involved in architecture.
The degree project represents the culmination of each student’s interests relative to the curriculum. A seminar in the fall of the final year helps focus these interests into a plan of action. Working in small groups of five or six under the guidance of a single professor, students pursue individual projects throughout Wintersession and spring semester. Degree projects are expected to embody the architectural values that best characterize their authors as architects and are critiqued based on the success of translating these values into tangible objects.
The faculty selection committee in Architecture is looking for evidence of the ability and preparedness to undertake graduate-level work. Portfolios should be professionally and concisely presented using only the highest quality images. Include all work that best represents your abilities, along with the breadth of your design and creative thinking.
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