The latest news and events happening at the Boston Architectural College

  • Designing for Belonging

    By thebacboston
    Feb 5, '24 10:36 AM EST

    MDS-DHH students take a group photo during Intensives week in the McCormick Gallery.

    The Boston Architectural College (BAC) was the first forward-thinking design school to launch an online Master of Design Studies Design for Human Health program (MDS-DHH) nearly a decade ago in 2014.

    “This program is the place for those who want to design to make a difference in users’ lives. It’s for those who are trying to figure out how to create spaces where users feel excited, feel a sense of belonging, and see that their environment tells that story,” Valerie Fletcher, a member of the Board of Trustees at the BAC said from the Institute for Human Centered Design, where she serves as Executive Director.

    Nowadays, design has more complex functional demands than ever before–with users’ needs going far beyond the art of form. Just a few of those considerations include climate change, natural disasters, mass incarceration, forced migration, pandemics, school shootings, a rise in dementia cases, and systemic racism.

    MDS-DHH students with BAC Trustee Valerie Fletcher.

    As a result, the skills that MDS-DHH graduates bring to the global workplace are in increasingly high demand at architecture firms, interior design studios, environmental consultancies, Fortune 500s, nonprofits, and inside healthcare systems.

    And the employment options are as unique as graduates’ backgrounds.

    Unlike other graduate design programs, this one doesn’t require any design or architecture experience. In fact, its strength is bringing together scholars and faculty from multiple disciplines, geographies, and professions in an inclusive and collaborative community. 

    The Online Master of Design Studies Design for Human Health Curriculum

    The MDS-DHH program spans four semesters of virtual study with a one-week intensive held at the BAC’s central urban campus in Boston each August. 

    The first year of the MDS-DHH curriculum affords students the applicable theoretical grounding and the empathy needed to solve real-world problems in the field as future practitioners. 

    Required courses include a deep dive into accessibility in the built environment through Inclusive Design, an examination of the effects that materials and architecture have on human health, and learning how those with various psychological, physical, or chronic conditions are marginalized or empowered by residential housing.

    MDS-DHH students experiencing navigating the built environment with accessiblity equipment around the City of Boston during Intensives week.

    The second year is focused on practical studio work and an individual thesis project. J. Davis Harte, the Program’s Director, said she personally learns from each of the second-year students as they deep-dive into thesis projects. “Often students want to contribute to research in academia but they also want change on the ground in real spaces and places,” Davis explained.

    For example, in the current second-year cohort one student’s focus is on how people living in lower-income communities can better utilize school facilities during off-usage times. 

    Another student is working on recommendations to amend the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed in 1990, to include people with intersectional challenges.

    MDS-DHH students interacting via hybrid learning during Intensives week.

    As an advocate, practitioner, and academic, Davis exemplifies making an impact in the field. Outside the BAC, she co-leads the Global Birth Environment Design Network, an international working group committed to designing spaces that make women’s birthing experiences more satisfying, empowering, and accessible.

    The possibilities for study and real-world learning in the program are wide open. Davis said, “The BAC is an entrepreneurial institution that is practice-based. We have an innovative administration and there’s lots of room at the table for collaboration in our program.”

    The Lightbulb Moment

    A current first-year student in the program, Kamilah Welch came to the BAC after working as a history teacher at a charter school, a non-profit specialist in South Africa’s townships, and an educator in a Boston-area jail. She was previously awarded a Master of Education from Boston College—but hadn’t been in the classroom as a student herself for 11 years. 

    While working as an Education Team Lead at the Partners Neurology Residency Program in Boston, Kamilah regularly visited local jails to teach mindfulness techniques to incarcerated individuals awaiting trial. All of the people she encountered would either be released or sentenced and moved to a different correctional facility. She said, “The people I met wouldn’t be staying in the prison I was visiting. I started to think about what type of space could better help them with this transitional time.”

    MDS-DHH student Kamilah Welch attending Intensives week at the college's Boston campus.

    A Google search led her to an article on trauma-informed design co-authored by Davis, and Janet Roche, MDS-DHH’17, a pioneering practitioner in the field and Chair of the BAC Alumni Advisory Council. It was a lightbulb moment for Kamilah and she applied soon after.

    Now in her second semester, Kamilah was inspired by her first in-person meeting with her cohort at the BAC this past August for the one-week intensive. It was exhilarating to meet colleagues from all over the world–all of them working their way through school with full-time jobs and many of them parenting at the same time.

    She said, “Since the Intensive, we created a WhatsApp group. People from our cohort live in multiple countries and time zones, and we are using the group to help each other understand assignments and offer encouragement.”

    Although she still has time to determine exactly what type of job she wants following graduation, courses like Environmental Psychology, taught by Davis, have given her focus for her next chapter:

    Kamilah shared, “A question that I have been grappling with is: How can design embrace people of color? I'd like to design spaces that would signal to our bodies and psyches that we do belong, and could orient individuals and communities towards wholeness rather than fracture and fear.”

    Davis is adamant that to answer big questions like Kamilah’s, it is only a matter of time until all architects and designers will need to incorporate the principles of designing for human health into every team and project.

    She said, “Since the MDS-DHH program was founded there has been a big increase in appreciation for trauma-informed design, or a built environment that directly responds to activated stress responses.”

    Self-care and wellness are no longer just niceties associated with luxury but at the core of the human need for shelter.

    Is the Online Master of Design Studies Design for Human Health right for you? For more information about applying or to set up a one-on-one conversation with an admissions officer visit:

    MDS-DHH students at Boston Public Library during Intensives week experiencing navigating the built environment with accessiblity equipment.

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  • Preserving Heritage Through Modern Partnerships in Remote Pakistan

    By thebacboston
    Dec 20, '23 12:54 PM EST

    In a remote region in Pakistan, flanked by some of the world’s highest peaks, sits an innovative university that is working with local students to preserve their region’s cultural heritage and advance scholarly research. Getting to the University of Baltistan, Skardu (UOBS) in the... View full entry

  • Slowness : Banyan Park, Tata Consultancy Services, Mumbai, India

    By thebacboston
    Nov 9, '23 10:42 AM EST

    In 1999, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien wrote an essay in the magazine 2G titled “On Slowness.” It began as a lamentation for the loss of the drawing tools of architecture but was really a meditation on the importance of design as a slow practice. Today, the idea of “slowness” is ever more... View full entry

  • Designing for a Brighter Future

    By thebacboston
    Sep 7, '23 2:17 PM EST

    When Haydée Hernandez, M.Arch'23, logged onto Zoom from her home in San Antonio, Texas, a Boston Architectural College black commencement gown, purple hood, and black beret were pressed and hanging on her closet door in the background.The next week she would venture to Boston for the first time... View full entry

  • The Boston Architectural College is Building Careers: Nathan's IPAL Story

    By thebacboston
    Jul 26, '23 1:02 PM EST

    If life had gone differently, Nathan Rosazza would have spent his time playing guitar on stage. “I never really cared about school,” he says. “I just wanted to be a rockstar.” He dropped out of high school, earning a GED instead, and worked backbreaking warehouse jobs in western... View full entry

  • The People Who Have Your Back

    By thebacboston
    Jun 22, '23 12:42 PM EST

    “I give back because the BAC changed my life,” Janet Roche, MDS-DHH’17, said plainly. The Alumni Advisory Council Chair is on a mission to pass it forward to other BAC graduates. “I want to help create a network that is a place for all BAC graduates to return, find help and mentors... View full entry

  • Reaching Out and Speaking Up

    By thebacboston
    May 18, '23 3:26 PM EST

    Octavia Pinckney, M.Arch'23, has seen, “Minorities in this country have been hit disproportionately hard by environmental disasters.” Growing up in Texas, Octavia’s own family was seriously impacted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “I understand firsthand what not being prepared for a... View full entry

  • Polish American Architect Daniel Libeskind To Receive Honorary Doctorate At The Boston Architectural College's 2023 Commencement

    By thebacboston
    May 2, '23 11:55 AM EST

    BOSTON, May 1, 2023 -- The Boston Architectural College (BAC) is pleased to announce that celebrated Polish American architect Daniel Libeskind, an international figure in architecture and urban design, will receive an honorary doctorate and deliver the commencement speech on Friday, May... View full entry

  • The Boston Architectural College is Building Careers - Meredith's IPAL Story

    By thebacboston
    Apr 7, '23 1:56 PM EST

    Fulfilling a dream to become a licensed architect can be an arduous process. First, students must earn a degree from an accredited school; then, they have to complete 3,740 hours practicing under a licensed architect; and finally, they are required to pass exams in six different practice areas... View full entry

  • BAC Channel with Mahesh Daas: Moshe Sadie

    By thebacboston
    Mar 7, '23 11:46 AM EST

    WATCH EPISODE Fearless, experimental, revolutionary, earth shattering—all words used to describe our next guest featured on BAC Channel with President Daas. Not one to be defined by labels or constrained within any boundaries, Moshe Safdie is an architect, urban planner, educator, theorist, and... View full entry

  • Team Player: Carolyn Day is Advocating for Sustainability in Design

    By thebacboston
    Mar 7, '23 11:43 AM EST

    As a young professional with an engineering background, Carolyn Day, M.Arch'08, was attracted to The Boston Architectural College (BAC) because its educational model would support her studies while simultaneously allowing her to take on increasing responsibility at work. Starting out as a... View full entry

  • This is the Place for You

    By thebacboston
    Feb 1, '23 10:40 AM EST

    To say that Ines Latorre is busy is an understatement—but she thrives on the wavelength of determination and hustle. The t-shirt she’s wearing in her Instagram profile reads, “I CAN & I WILL.” That’s pure Ines. The founder and principal of Latorre Architecture decided to go back to... View full entry

  • Boston Architectural College Commissions International Exhibit Debuting January 2023

    By thebacboston
    Dec 20, '22 3:18 PM EST

    The Boston Architectural College (BAC) is pleased to announce an original international exhibit featuring works by Pritzker Prize winning Indian architect and BAC’s honorary alumnus Balkrishna Doshi, Architecture is Within Us: The Selected Works of Balkrishna Doshi. Doshi is considered one of... View full entry

  • BAC Channel with Mahesh Daas: Billie Tsien

    By thebacboston
    Dec 1, '22 9:48 AM EST

    During this second episode of BAC Channel, President Daas speaks with noted architect, educator, and practitioner, Billie Tsien, architect of the Obama Presidential Center, founding partner of New York City based studio Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, and the BAC’s 2022 Honorary Doctorate... View full entry

  • This is the Place for You

    By thebacboston
    Oct 31, '22 11:25 AM EST

    To say that Ines Latorre, M.Arch'24, is busy is an understatement—but she thrives on the wavelength of determination and hustle. The t-shirt she’s wearing in her Instagram profile reads, “I CAN & I WILL.” That’s pure Ines. The founder and principal of Latorre Architecture decided to... View full entry

  • Boston Architectural College: Just Environments Fall 2022 Lecture Series

    By thebacboston
    Sep 28, '22 4:05 PM EST

    Boston Architectural College: Just Environments Fall 2022 Lecture Series View full entry

  • The Boston Architectural College is Building Careers - Karen's IPAL Story

    By thebacboston
    Sep 15, '22 3:11 PM EST

    Fulfilling a dream to become a licensed architect can be an arduous process. First, students must earn a degree from an accredited school; then, they have to complete 3,740 hours practicing under a licensed architect; and finally, they are required to pass exams in six different practice areas... View full entry

  • A Cherry On Top Of The Design Cake

    By thebacboston
    Aug 15, '22 2:29 PM EST

    There are many connotations to the word “home.” In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy famously proclaimed that there’s no place like it. Home is where the heart is, after all, and “Home Sweet Home” has adorned many doormats. At the same time, how can a structure of wood, brick, stone, or cement... View full entry

  • Building Trust

    By thebacboston
    Jun 13, '22 2:30 PM EST

    Jonathan C. Garland, President, and Founder of his rapidly growing Boston-based architecture & real estate development firm, J. Garland Enterprises (JGE), studied at the BAC for more than eight years before graduating with a Bachelor of Architecture in 2009. Despite the endurance needed to... View full entry

  • Mobile Makers Parks its Truck at the BAC

    By thebacboston
    Apr 11, '22 2:50 PM EST

    Join us for our Mobile Makers Boston pop-up events on: April 19: 20: 21: 22: Bird-Murphy, M.Arch’17, wasn’t happy with the... View full entry

  • The Boston Architectural College Launches BAC Channel with Mahesh Daas Featuring Pritzker Laureate Balkrishna Doshi

    By thebacboston
    Apr 11, '22 2:46 PM EST

    The Boston Architectural College (BAC) announces the launching of its newest video venture, BAC Channel with Mahesh Daas. This ongoing program will offer a series of exclusive, insightful, and one-on-one conversations between President Mahesh Daas and thought leaders from around the design... View full entry

  • BAC Channel with Mahesh Daas

    By thebacboston
    Apr 7, '22 3:38 PM EST

    The BAC is thrilled to announce the launch of BAC Channel with Mahesh Daas. We are honored this inaugural episode features President Daas speaking with Professor Balkrishna Doshi–the first Indian architect to win the Pritzker Prize, and one of the greatest influencers in architecture and design... View full entry

  • 2022 Spring Lecture Series Poster: Just Design

    By thebacboston
    Mar 8, '22 10:07 AM EST

    The BAC 2022 Spring Lecture Series events can be viewed below or on our website at: View full entry

  • HMFH Architects and BAC Announce New Scholarship Fostering Diversity in Design

    By thebacboston
    Feb 18, '22 10:23 AM EST

    HMFH Architects, in partnership with The Boston Architectural College (BAC), announced the establishment of the HMFH Scholarship Fund, created to expand academic opportunities for students underrepresented in the architecture and design professions. This new Scholarship aims to increase access to... View full entry

  • The Bobby G. Foster Memorial Scholarship will support Black BAC Students in Architecture

    By thebacboston
    Jan 19, '22 5:30 PM EST

    “If you talk to anybody that knew my husband they will tell you, ‘My goodness did that man like to talk about the Boston Architectural College,’” says Maria Latimore of her late husband, Bobby G. Foster. “In social settings, he’d introduce himself and immediately it would morph into... View full entry

  • The Maurice F. Childs Memorial Lecture: Yung Ho Chang, Architecture, More or Less

    By thebacboston
    Oct 29, '21 1:05 PM EST

    Learn how to attend this free virtual lecture, Friday, November 5 at 7PM ET, featuring Yung Ho Chang, FAIA, a founding partner and principal architect of the Beijing-based Atelier⁠—China’s first independent private architectural firm—Feichang Jianzhu (FCJZ). Yung Ho Chang says about the... View full entry

  • Alumni Profile: Amanda Zettel (MDS-HP ’21)

    By thebacboston
    Aug 25, '21 5:19 PM EST

    Amanda Zettel graduated from the BAC with her Master of Design Studies in Historic Preservation and Conservation in May of 2021. She was also awarded the BAC’s first-ever Historic Preservation Fellowship to assist Institutional Advancement and Facilities in the pursuit of Community Preservation... View full entry

  • BAC Dean of Interior Architecture, Denise Rush, Inducted into the 2021 ASID College of Fellows

    By thebacboston
    Aug 13, '21 1:35 PM EST

    We are thrilled to announce that Denise Rush, BAC faculty and dean of interior architecture, has been inducted into the 2021 ASID College of Fellows.The ASID College of Fellows is the Society’s ultimate honor. Fellowship and Honorary Fellowship are bestowed upon ASID members who have made... View full entry

  • President Daas Responds to US Capitol Attack

    By thebacboston
    Jan 8, '21 9:59 AM EST

    From the Office of the President: Yesterday, we witnessed an insurrection and an attack on the U.S. Capitol complex timed to disrupt both houses of Congress in session to certify the election of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Like you, my family and I watched in... View full entry

  • BAC Alumna Earns Spot in the Top 100 Leaders in Real Estate and Construction

    By thebacboston
    Dec 21, '20 9:22 AM EST

    Prasanna Lachagari grew up in Hyderabad, India. She moved to the United States to continue her education and graduated from the BAC with her Masters of Architecture in 2019. Lachagari is now the Design Director at SDI Architecture in Boston, MA and Co-Founder and Principal Architect of SDI's... View full entry

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About this Blog

The #BACbuzz blog will help to inform, educate, and share relevant and noteworthy architectural and design news happening within the Boston Architectural College and around the Boston community.

Authored by:

  • thebacboston

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