Architecture at Knowlton trains architects to understand how form and its discourse order our experience.

Architects in the 21st century will face significant challenges and exciting opportunities. Economic and environmental uncertainties will test the viability of established conventions and spur the invention of more productive alternatives. Diverse cultural constituencies will demand other ways to organize their daily lives and new symbols to represent themselves and their aspirations. Increasingly polarized debates regarding social equity and political responsibility will foreground architecture’s crucial role in safeguarding individual integrity and constructing civic identity.

As architectural culture reimagines its place in the world at large, it also will renegotiate its relationships within the academy. We must build better bridges to the natural sciences to increase the efficacy of existing technologies and to foster the invention of new ones with which to address pressing environmental and technical challenges. We must broker stronger collaborations with the social sciences to reinforce our role in organizing the intimacies of private life and the complexities of the public sphere. We must forge new alliances with the humanities to advance our field as an art form and to enhance the potential of architects as agents of meaningful cultural production. Above all, we must make stronger cases for what architects do and why we do it.

The Architecture Section at the Knowlton School makes its case through form, the lingua franca of architectural culture and the fundamental medium of the field. In aesthetics as in politics, form determines who and what go where, when. The acts of spatial and temporal sorting that establish order and determine form are more commonly known as design. The conversations that explain the myriad decisions involved—as well as the hows and whys on which those decisions rest—constitute design’s discourse.

Architecture at Knowlton cultivates expertise in the design and discourse of form, transforming undergraduate students into well-rounded generalists and graduate students into well-informed specialists. Our faculty focus on the spatial, temporal, and rhetorical functions of form to equip our students with the technical knowledge as well as the political skill to make their case and move their work into the world. The rest unfolds from there.


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