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Old Posted Dec 8, 2009, 8:42 PM
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Best University to study Classical Architecture?

Hi,

I am curious as to what Universities world wide specialize in Classical or Historic architecture?

My primary interests are in studying Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture. However, I am also apt for studying Classical Thai, Chinese, Indian, and Japanese styles.

I am familiar with the Classic Architecture program at University of Notre Dame, though I was wondering if there are any other Universities which specialize in teaching historic architecture.

Also, I should mention I have no interest in studying that travesty which we refer to as contemporary/modern "architecture".
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Old Posted Dec 8, 2009, 10:32 PM
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Notre Dame has by far the best reputation for traditional architecture in the United States.

Most American architecture schools are solidly in the modernist camp.
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Old Posted Dec 8, 2009, 11:11 PM
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Notre Dame has by far the best reputation for traditional architecture in the United States.

Most American architecture schools are solidly in the modernist camp.
What about European Universities?
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Old Posted Dec 8, 2009, 11:23 PM
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Cirrus is absolutely correct. Internationally, it's hard to say. Traditionally, the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris was a place to do such study as well, but I don't know if it's still taught in that vein.

That being said, don't neglect modernism simply because right now it doesn't appeal to you. If you want to go to architecture school, you should study all forms, because I assure you, you'll run into all forms in professional practice. If you think you know alot about architecture now, architecture school will open up your mind (in good and bad ways) to a whole new world beyond a basic level of appreciation or thinking. If you're looking at this as a Master's program, you should be able to specialize as you want (to some extent), but if it's a Bachelor's you are looking for, the curriculums are basically broad and cover a little of everything.

And on that note, I find it wholly disappointing that most current curriculums neglect classical architecture (other than history classes). The roots of most current architecture are all grounded in classical forms, proportion, etc. It's hard to start designing when you don't have a basic knowledge on how to begin. When Mies began the IIT curriculum in the late 30's, he required the students to spend 3 years learning to draw classical buildings and forms, sketch, take photos, make models and collage, and learn history BEFORE ever allowing the students to design a building. It was called the 'visual learning' sequence. Unfortunately it was abandoned as a model curriculum in the late 1970's.

I guess my point is this: Alot of people dismiss neo-classicism (and the study thereof) as pure cake decoration. Many of those people tend to miss the point and thus have trouble appreciating architecture that follows that set of rules. However, I think simply dismissing modern architecture and the tenets that it follows can be just as foolhardy, regardless of whether or not one wishes to practice it.
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Old Posted Dec 9, 2009, 12:39 AM
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The University of Texas here in Austin has Battle Hall which was designed by Cass Gilbert in 1911. The building was later the inspiration for the campus' master plan designed by Paul Philippe Cret in 1933. All the campus buildings since then have been based off Battle Hall's design.

Battle Hall.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_Hall

http://lib.utexas.edu/apl/about/battle_hall
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Old Posted Dec 9, 2009, 7:50 AM
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I am curious, are you looking at studying architecture more from a history point of view or are you looking at wanting to go to school to learn how to one day be able to practice architecture? I ask because those two paths are completely different.
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  #7  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2009, 12:13 PM
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I am curious, are you looking at studying architecture more from a history point of view or are you looking at wanting to go to school to learn how to one day be able to practice architecture? I ask because those two paths are completely different.
I want to study architecture so that one day I can put it into practice.
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Old Posted Dec 9, 2009, 7:01 PM
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Well I will say this there is a difference between studying historical architecture to understand the history of it and studying architecture to understand how to practice it.

You could go to school and learn all about the history of music, but in the end, none of that will teach you how to play a guitar. Same goes with architecture, practicing is much more different than admiring.

It is important to know all the different movements that have happened within architecture, but it is also just as important for you to understand the reasons for space.

My tip if you want to one day practice architecture is to look at schools that have a BArch degree...that is a professional degree, which means you can go straight into your internships to gather hours for you ARE as soon as you finish college...then if you wanted you could go back to school for a MArch or a MA in Architecture. Trust me, that is a much smarter route to take.

Also, visit colleges to see the departments in action, what the students are producing, talk to students to get their opinion on the program.


I am guessing you are pretty young and you sound alot like me when I was younger. I grew up in a suburban city and the old city near had demolished most of its historical architecture. I had always had a fascination with historical architecture, and still do. But now, I also have a large collection of practicing architects that inspire me as well as a stronger understanding on how I am able to design architecture and a strong understanding of how space works.
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Old Posted Dec 9, 2009, 7:02 PM
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I would think European, but i'm not sure.
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Old Posted Dec 9, 2009, 8:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanlife View Post
Well I will say this there is a difference between studying historical architecture to understand the history of it and studying architecture to understand how to practice it.

You could go to school and learn all about the history of music, but in the end, none of that will teach you how to play a guitar. Same goes with architecture, practicing is much more different than admiring.

It is important to know all the different movements that have happened within architecture, but it is also just as important for you to understand the reasons for space.

My tip if you want to one day practice architecture is to look at schools that have a BArch degree...that is a professional degree, which means you can go straight into your internships to gather hours for you ARE as soon as you finish college...then if you wanted you could go back to school for a MArch or a MA in Architecture. Trust me, that is a much smarter route to take.

Also, visit colleges to see the departments in action, what the students are producing, talk to students to get their opinion on the program.


I am guessing you are pretty young and you sound alot like me when I was younger. I grew up in a suburban city and the old city near had demolished most of its historical architecture. I had always had a fascination with historical architecture, and still do. But now, I also have a large collection of practicing architects that inspire me as well as a stronger understanding on how I am able to design architecture and a strong understanding of how space works.
Well said.

An education in architecture is far more complex than 'modernist' and 'classical.'
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  #11  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2009, 8:24 PM
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True enough, but it is certainly also true that if you want to learn how to design classical buildings, most American architecture schools will not teach you. Most are dogmatically anti-classical when it comes to designing new buildings.

Any education that focuses exclusively on the exterior properties of classicism without teaching use of space and other important programmatic elements would indeed be a terrible education, but that does not mean OP's question wasn't a valid one, nor that the few schools out there that are pro-classicism in the way the majority are pro-modernism are inherently failing to teach those additional topics.
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  #12  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2009, 9:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
^
True enough, but it is certainly also true that if you want to learn how to design classical buildings, most American architecture schools will not teach you. Most are dogmatically anti-classical when it comes to designing new buildings.

Any education that focuses exclusively on the exterior properties of classicism without teaching use of space and other important programmatic elements would indeed be a terrible education, but that does not mean OP's question wasn't a valid one, nor that the few schools out there that are pro-classicism in the way the majority are pro-modernism are inherently failing to teach those additional topics.
Actually I will disagree with you here (well actually it really isnt a disagree, more like an added point I guess), I think there are alot of schools that still teach more classical elements of architecture. Take the 9 square grid, if a program starts out with lessons like that in architecture, it is safe to say that school still practices older methods of teaching. But I think overall, it is hard to say any one school is focused in any one direction because it is also up to the different types of faculty that the department has...but there are givens, I expect to see a certain style of teaching at schools like SciArc, where you can usually spot that school's work a mile away.

All architecture programs have to adhere to the rules of the AIA, which right now all schools are changing over to teach more sustainability within architecture, but that doesnt mean the geometry and the rules of space have to be ignored...actually, I am a strong supporter not in any one style, but how space works with the human body and mind. Though I am also a huge supporter of renovation over tearing down.
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Old Posted Dec 10, 2009, 12:41 AM
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Most are dogmatically anti-classical when it comes to designing new buildings.
Which is probably why any new building that attempts to look "classical" that is constructed in the United States these days looks like complete shit. They are all a bunch of architects who are trained how to build a modern interior who are trying to still make the exterior look all "Ye Olde Haus". So what they end up doing is designing a super efficient and modern interior layout and then just tacking sloped roofs and finials and shit to the outside to make it look olde. That tends to look like complete shit. Its just like the Pomo office block. You can't just take a giant 3D rectangle and add a pointy roof and actually pass it off as "classical", it just doesn't work, the massing would be entirely different, but the rectangular floor plate is sacred to the developer and the tenant, so the architect adds stupid things to try to make it look old.
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Old Posted Dec 10, 2009, 2:08 AM
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Which is probably why any new building that attempts to look "classical" that is constructed in the United States these days looks like complete shit. They are all a bunch of architects who are trained how to build a modern interior who are trying to still make the exterior look all "Ye Olde Haus". So what they end up doing is designing a super efficient and modern interior layout and then just tacking sloped roofs and finials and shit to the outside to make it look olde. That tends to look like complete shit. Its just like the Pomo office block. You can't just take a giant 3D rectangle and add a pointy roof and actually pass it off as "classical", it just doesn't work, the massing would be entirely different, but the rectangular floor plate is sacred to the developer and the tenant, so the architect adds stupid things to try to make it look old.
Well I think it's worth adding that classically styled buildings the likes of which you described are designed to be classically styled because of the paradoxical needs of the client to have a modern building with efficient floorplates and utilities but with a superficially 'classical' appearance. Bad classicism in this country doesn't come from dogmatic modernists; it comes from idiot clients and architects with licenses but no education and no standards for greatness.
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Old Posted Dec 10, 2009, 5:15 AM
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^^^ Agreed, that's what I was getting at. They design a great modern layout, then tack on "ornament" to make it look "luxurious". Man that would be crazy to have lived through the 50's, 60's, and 70's when clean modern design was considered luxury and old classical crap was considered dated and dingy.

I've been doing some work in old banks and some of them are just time capsules on the floors that aren't used for customers especially the basements. I found a kitchen the other day in one that looked like it hadn't been disturbed since 1965. It was pristine, ever appliance, cabinet, table, and chair was vintage of that era and matching, talk about comprehensive "Bauhaus" design! If I could I would have just ripped the whole room out and installed it in my house.

I've been thinking lately that our society has by in large lost its ability to "match" over the past 30 years as we've become so fractured and fragmented into subcultures. If you look at old buildings, everything inside matches, whether they are from the 00's, 20', or 60's, but as soon as you go in to a room that was designed in the 80's, its just completely schitzo with all sorts of weird contradictory patterns and designs that just don't follow a unified scheme. I guess that's just post-modern philosophy though...
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Old Posted Dec 10, 2009, 7:51 AM
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In my opinion the 'matching' aesthetic was a rather ironic response to the 'complete work of art' aesthetic of Art Nouveau, where a building and its furniture, wallpaper, fenestration, etc. all had to be designed as one solid gesture. Adolf Loos proposed of buildings that were like museums that stored and collected artifacts and items that defined the space, rather than the artistic opulence that 80s pomo unsucessfully tried to recreate.

It's ironic because that idea requires the building itself to be a comprehensive, legible whole beyond that of what Arts-Decoratifs produced.
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Old Posted Dec 10, 2009, 2:34 PM
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Can someone please just provide a list of schools for me? This thread has turned into one of debate.

There are obviously still schools out there which teach Classical architecture as classical buildings are still being built with the same fidelity and use of materials as they were hundreds or thousands of years ago.

Some examples would be:

The Rebuilding of Neumarkt - Dresden, Germany






Wat Rong Khun - Chiang Rai, Thailand






Akshardham - Delhi, India






Grand Mosque - Oman






Rebuilding and Restoration of Wrocklaw, Poland



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Old Posted Dec 10, 2009, 3:53 PM
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David M. Schwarz is doing pretty well.

Schermerhorn Symphony Center - Completed: 2006

RussSwift @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/thisisruss/3334760916/
http://www.dmsas.com/Our_Portfolio/Project.aspx?listing=type&itemId=1&pId=4

Chapman Cultural Center - Completed: 2007

Vendobiont @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/92687153@N00/3612841130/
http://www.dmsas.com/Our_Portfolio/Project.aspx?listing=type&itemId=1&pId=60
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Old Posted Dec 10, 2009, 3:55 PM
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^^^ Ok, so what kind of "classical" architecture is it that you want to study. I had assumed that by classical you meant classical Western architecture (since that's the meaning of the word), but those pictures seem to show that you are more interested in generally old or traditional architecture. I can tell you right now that for every style you posted, arabic, Hindi, Second Empire, there is going to be a completely different school that has the best experts on that style.

I am not very familiar with you, so this is a legitimate question not an insult, but how much do you know about the history of architecture, its different styles, and how architecture programs work? One might suspect (not saying its true) from that last post that you weren't aware that those are all distinctly different styles that each require a vastly different education/perspective. There isn't a school out there that can give you an in depth training in how to build every one of those distinct styles you posted. There are a ton of schools that will let you take a class or two that focuses on those styles and many schools that take just one of those styles and will train you comprehensively in it, but none that can throughly train you in all of them.
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Old Posted Dec 10, 2009, 4:18 PM
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^^^ Ok, so what kind of "classical" architecture is it that you want to study. I had assumed that by classical you meant classical Western architecture (since that's the meaning of the word), but those pictures seem to show that you are more interested in generally old or traditional architecture. I can tell you right now that for every style you posted, arabic, Hindi, Second Empire, there is going to be a completely different school that has the best experts on that style.

I am not very familiar with you, so this is a legitimate question not an insult, but how much do you know about the history of architecture, its different styles, and how architecture programs work? One might suspect (not saying its true) from that last post that you weren't aware that those are all distinctly different styles that each require a vastly different education/perspective. There isn't a school out there that can give you an in depth training in how to build every one of those distinct styles you posted. There are a ton of schools that will let you take a class or two that focuses on those styles and many schools that take just one of those styles and will train you comprehensively in it, but none that can throughly train you in all of them.
Assume that I wanted a foundation in Historic Western Architecture, perhaps Art Nouveau or Baroque, where should I go?
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