The BFA in Architectural Design program resides in the School of Constructed Environments (SCE). This academic home supports the interdisciplinary inquiry that distinguishes Parsons as a whole. Students in other SCE programs—interior, product, and lighting design—share with architectural design students research and fabrication facilities and an open design studio with wireless digital capability. These colleagues also collaborate on projects, dismantling the boundaries that historically have constrained design disciplines. In the process, they form an intimate community of learners.
By enrolling in Art and Design History and Theory courses as well as related studio classes, students acquire essential research, writing, and critical reasoning skills while developing conceptual foundations for creative inquiry. Because Parsons is part of The New School, students can choose from a wide range of lecture courses and electives in the humanities, social sciences, media studies, and business.
Classes use New York City as a window into the history, theory, and techniques of architectural design. New York boasts some of the world’s most forward-thinking, influential practitioners, such as Morphosis, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and LO-TEK. Visiting these studios, as well as industry resources like the Center for Architecture and MaterialConnexion, lend unique insight into key projects, leaders, and innovative design thinking. These activities also provide entrée to future internship opportunities.
The school’s urban setting grounds sponsored projects such as the Design Workshop’s BronxScape—a design-build course in which SCE students recently created a rooftop recreational area in the Bronx for the young-adult residents of public housing—within the school’s mission to address social needs in participant-involved, sustainable ways.
Architectural Design equally values excellence in form making and rigor in research. As the role of the architect in contemporary society increases, so does the need for global perspective and skills in collaboration, research, and critical thinking.
At Parsons, such tools are developed through coursework that brings together students from diverse backgrounds. For the Global Exchange Lab’s recent effort to connect cultural and social institutions along Bangkok’s San Saeb Canal, for example, architectural design students traveled to Thailand to work with students from Chulalongkorn University. And lectures by leading architects and architectural historians continually nourish a culture of intellectual inquiry; recent visitors include Enrique Norten, Shigeru Uchida, and Reiulf Ramstad. Faculty and outside scholars and practitioners share fresh thinking in Scapes, SCE’s publication.