The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is the second largest university in the State of Louisiana, with nearly 17,000 students. It’s a public institution that awards bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. It includes diverse offerings from the humanities to scientific research and is a national leader in areas like computer science,engineering, architecture, biology and nursing. Its student-athletes – Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns – compete in NCAA Division I, the highest level of collegiate competition.
The mission of the School of Architecture and Design is to cultivate student-centered educational programs in Architecture, Industrial, and Interior Design. We seek this through a pedagogy that is heuristic and responsive to the natural, technological, cultural, and social environments.
Art courses have been taught at UL Lafayette since its founding. In 1942, drafting courses were first offered within the Department of Art located within the newly constructed Burke Hall. These courses led to the establishment of an interior design concentration in 1947. A two-year pre-architecture program followed in 1949. This program represented the first two years of a typical five-year Bachelor of Architecture curriculum. Students were then able to transfer to Tulane University to complete the degree. In 1955, the name was changed to Architecture and a third year of architecture courses were added. In 1958, the Department of Art and Architecture was established with three sections: Architecture and Interior Design, Fine Arts, and Graphic Design. In 1960 Art and Architecture moved to Brown Ayres Hall and a fourth year was added to the curriculum. The following year, the Louisiana State Board of Education approved a five-year Bachelor of Architecture program. The first graduates were Wayne Corne, Jason Benoit, and Donald Arnold.
In 1966, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture approved the program’s application for membership. In 1970, the program initiated the accreditation process with the National Architectural accrediting Board and the program was fist accredited in 1972. In 1972, the Interior Architecture program was established then renamed Interior Design. The Brown Ayres building burned in 1970. Fletcher Hall, the current home of the program was constructed in 1976.
The Interior Design program as it exists today is a result of merging the Interior Merchandising and Interior Design programs in 1989. In 1991, the Interior Design program was accredited by the Foundation for Interior Design Education Research. In 1994, the Industrial Design program was approved by the Board of Regents and the first class graduated in 1998. In 1999, the National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredited the Industrial and Interior Design programs.
In 1995, the School of Art and Architecture at UL Lafayette became the College of the Arts, with the inclusion of the School of Music. At this time, the Department of Architecture was elevated to a School and administered with a director. In 1996, the School of Architecture established the Community Design Workshop (CDW), a community outreach program.
In 2001, the School of Architecture was renamed the School of Architecture and Design to more accurately reflect the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of the three programs. That year the Board of Regents approved the conversion of the five-year Bachelor of Architecture degree to the four-year Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies degree, and the Master of Architecture as the professional architecture degree.
In 2002 the School of Architecture and Design established the Building Institute to give students a hands-on construction experience. In 2003 the Interior Design program established the Facility Design Management studio. The Transportation Studio in Industrial Design was also established in 2003.