Boston Architectural Center (Nicholas)

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    School With No Design Theory

    Nicholas Ng
    Mar 23, '05 3:37 PM EST

    This post is a response to a discussion made on the main board.

    I suggest anyone who is interested in applying to the BAC to take a tour around the school and talk to students there. One insider tip, don't waste your time with the so called 'student body'-the Atelier.

    Anyway, I have nothing against the school, but problems I have are usually with the board members, the directors, and some members of the staff there. I personally hate the politics that goes through in the school.

    However, putting all the politics aside, it is true the school do not tend to focus on design theory, but it doesn't mean you aren't allow to find your own resource. Sometimes is takes a lot of motivation for me to put up with that. It's a personal preference, I don't mind doing that, and I don't expect the school to spoon-feed me throughout the years, so it all works well with me on that.

    There are admiration from the community towards the school. One of mine is the volunteers who take time out to teach us.

    As for the Practice component part, be prepared to spend a few months to a year to look for an entry level position here in Boston. As someone said earlier, no one would think of hiring someone with no architectural experience in an architecture firm, and that is very true. Also, motivation plays a very strong part here. Just imagine having to deal with problems at work (clients, contractors, engineers, paperwork..etc) and then going back to class from 7 till 10.

    Pressure? Yes. Stress? Yes. Excellent time management skills? Yes.
    Sleepless night? Yes, but this is true for every architecture school I bet, but they don't need to go to work at 8am.

    I don't recommend this school to everyone, especially to those who are still undecisive with their career interest. If you're really interested in what architecture is, take a tour of an architecture firm, talk to an architect then decide whether you want to pursue this profession or not.

    From looking at the school blogs, the BAC doesn't offer the studio culture other schools have. Your studio is your home. There's no interaction among students here. You'll probably meet your classmates once a week for crit or unless you get to know each other very well, you can get together more often, but for the rest of the day, the school is your mid-point connection between work and home.


    • chaglang

      I think I've had this discussion every 2 or 3 months for the last 6 years. It's a great example of a larger problem in the profession. The BAC is pretty light on theory, and they leave a lot of your education up to you. You have to be a motivated person to make it through. And if you look back at what such luminaries as Wright, Kahn, Richardson and Corb said about architecture education, they all agreed that 'doing' was the preferable method. I've been 'doing' for 4 years now.
      The profession now places a premium on theory (or maybe the schools tell you that to sell you on a $40K education) and the programs like the BAC are generally disrepected for not doing what everyone else is. But I argue that the BAC is useful because for precisely that reason: the students that graduate can think for themselves and have a healthy skepticism of Architecture. My SO is a grad from an Ivy arch. school, and I love flipping through the catalog they send her every 6 months. There are always a dozen projects where, not only do I not know how it would be built, I don't even know if it's a building. Not that I have a problem with theoretical and conceptual architecture, but the rubber has to meet the road sometime, and that's what the BAC is really good for.
      I guess I'm saying, as students, don't underestimate us because the program isn't like every other one in the country.

      Mar 29, 05 6:35 am

      The Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna
      the International Network of Building Art and Urbanism- INTBAU
      Patron: His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales

      are pleased to announce the

      International Summer School in Architecture


      Atelier at Morciano di Romagna (Rimini)
      from June 18th to July 2nd, 2005

      The aim of the summer program is to introduce architecture students and professionals
      to the issues of rural landscape and urban design,
      and to expose them to the rich architectural and cultural heritage
      of Emilia-Romagna regional context.

      Measured Drawing, Drawing, History, Urban and Landscape Design

      Comune di Morciano di Romagna, Rimini
      Regione Emilia-Romagna - Azienda di Promozione Turistica
      Council for European Urbanism, Bruxelles
      Foundation for Urban Renewal, Oslo
      Enoteca Regionale dell’Emilia Romagna
      Strada dei Vini e dei Sapori dei Colli Riminesi

      Faculty and Visiting Lecturers:
      Giuseppe Amoruso (coordinator), Cristiana Bartolomei, Roberto Mingucci (Dean)
      Fellows of the academy & Visiting architects:
      Gary Cestaro, José Cornelio da Silva, Audun Engh, Matthew Hardy, Pietro Lenzini,
      Susan Parham, Lucien Steil, Alice Bartolomei and others

      Applications to:
      Prof. Giuseppe Amoruso
      Dipartimento di Architettura e Pianificazione Territoriale
      Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna
      Viale Risorgimento 2 – BOLOGNA ITALIA
      Tel. (+39 051) 2093155 Fax (+39 051) 2093156

      Web Sites:

      Apr 5, 05 5:54 pm

      You mean they don't help you find a place to work for the concurrent part of the study? Don't they have connections with firms? Is the practical experience just random or focused? There is an option to take the 1st year as a fulltime student without the practicum part. This seems a good choice if you have to find your own job. It would get you in as a beginning draftsman.

      Jan 19, 08 9:42 am

      I'm a prospective student to the BAC. I was wondering if anyone could give me some general opinions (good or bad) of the school, as well as why the have such a high dropout rate, what to expect, advice, etc.. Also, I'm wondering how the education/style of curriculum compares to other schools and where you might rank their master's program amongst the others.

      Mar 15, 10 10:25 pm

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