What are certain Architecture Schools known for?


Hi Archinect Community, I'm doing some research on how architecture schools are perceived and what they're know for. If you could give your insights on what you think the following schools are known for it would be greatly appreciated! It can be a single word or a sentence. Respond to as many as you like.


  • GSD
  • Yale
  • Princeton
  • Cornell
  • Syracuse
  • Waterloo
  • USC
  • UCLA
  • AA
  • Ryerson
  • Berkley
  • Rice
  • McGill
  • Columbia
  • MiT
  • UBC
  • Penn
  • Cooper Union
  • Oregon
Feb 23, 15 4:00 pm


  • GSD  -  following a self fulfilling philosophy, great speakers, and producing people that start sentences with, "Well, I went to Harvard..."
  • Yale - Robert AM Stern, pretty good assortment of studio critics, a boring website, and the concern of what happens when Stern leaves
  • Princeton - European influence, talking instead of doing, free tuition although that remains a mystery, and the ghost of Michael Graves, RIP.  
  • Cornell - kind of being in NYC but not really, we build models, we still sketch, the forgotten ivy architecture school, bad weather, solitude
  • Syracuse - Mike Speaks, a young hip atmosphere, bad weather, solitude, and a bunch of people saying, "Wait, what do you mean this isn't Cornell?"
  • Waterloo - couldn't escaping if they wanted too
  • USC - being that expensive L.A. school, will be great in a few years, construction technologies
  • UCLA - the school who isn't as expensive as that other L.A. school, superstudio!, thom mayne, greg lynn, and a bevy of guys who left sci-arc when it became too "radical", CityLab
  • AA - fish and chips gub'na, zaha's workshop, a diverse program with almost too much to choose from
  • Ryerson - isn't this a moving company?
  • Berkley - go green, environmentalism, beautiful campus, beautiful city, good PhD dept
  • Rice - sarah whiting, best school in Texas, lots of talking, theory driven, preceptorship program, unfortunately in Texas
  • McGill - montreal, best school in canada eh, good faculty, drawing blanks
  • Columbia - not being "the blob school" anymore, new wave of talent, new dean from work A/C, cutting edge design or at least they think so
  • MiT - technology, military contracts, fabrication, digital advacement, this is the place where people go when they don't want to go to harvard
  • UBC - the best school in canada (on the west coast), urban, a slew of programs, landscape architecture, diverse works
  • Penn - being expensive, having a great landscape program , being expensive, offering little scholarship, spending way too much time producing spatial analytics d-bags...or as we call them in the industry, GIS d-bags
  • Cooper Union - blowing their free tuition for students on a facade, having a bad board of trustees, great fundamentals being taught here without sacrificing new ideas and technologies
  • Oregon - sustainability, the ducks, pretty much Berkley but farther north.


This was fun! :)   Here are some more schools:

  • IIT
  • Houston
  • Tulane
  • Washington University in St.Louis
  • Univ. of Cincinnati
  • Michigan
  • Ball State
  • Notre Dame
  • Kansas State
  • Florida
  • Miami
  • UT-Austin
Apr 6, 15 8:10 pm

UBC - University of Beautiful Cars:


It doesn't feel like a university set up for the needs of its own students. Most often being used as a movie set and had very limited affordable housing choices while I attended.

Apr 6, 15 8:33 pm

Unemployment. Across the board.

Apr 6, 15 11:18 pm

 How about Cal Poly SLO? What's it known for?

Apr 7, 15 9:03 am
And University of Washington?
Apr 7, 15 10:58 am
Non Sequitur

what about phoenix college online?

Apr 7, 15 11:55 am
StarchitectAlpha's comment has been hidden

Oregon - girls that don't wear deodorant or shave, also never ever tell anyone that you are getting a degree to get a job. That's buying into capitalism they don't take kindly to that.

Apr 7, 15 2:24 pm

I'm always dumbfounded when I see Oregon on the same wish list as places like GSD or Sci-Arc.  Phil Knight DOES NOT bankroll the architecture department, their program is not any more exceptional than X-State U.  I could argue that Portland State's architecture school is better strictly on the merit of their campus being IN Portland...   

Apr 7, 15 2:35 pm
On the fence

A few of those are known for swindling young adults out of their futures.

Apr 7, 15 3:59 pm
@ themightyesquilax

Could you do the rest of the list you made. I enjoyed your perspective.
Apr 7, 15 5:21 pm

@Driko - I was hoping that I could pass the torch to someone else.  You know, someone would take the initiative 

Ok, I'll do one...


  • Florida - just figuring out a style that Sci arc invented 15 years ago, gator nation, trailer trash, and comments like "What do you mean deconstructionism isn't a thing anymore?" 
Apr 7, 15 7:30 pm

Cincinnati: Phenomenology, craft, emphasis on professional practice, huge networking opportunities because of the co-op program. Affordable tuition, up-and-coming city, terrible Peter Eisenman building. After graduation, you'll supervise Ivy League grads while carrying a tenth of their student loan debt.

Apr 7, 15 8:41 pm

I'll give it a shot.  

IIT: They once had this really really famous architect a while ago. Now they have his reincarnation as dean, Wiel Arets. 

Michigan: With Mr. Taubman bankrolling the college of architecture, they have lots of cool toys and a new wing being built. Smorgasbord of ideologies.

Harvard: Michigan of the east

UTSOA:  sustainability, the ducks... errrr

Apr 7, 15 10:27 pm

IIT - Woke up one day and asked, "What do you mean Mies has been dead for 45 years?" Have been making up for lost time since then.

Tulane - We don't want to take an ideological position or finance cool toys, so we will just say it is about community design and vernacular architecture.

Ball State - I wanted to go to Sci-Arc, but i'm from the midwest and Cali-for-ni-a sounds like a weird place. 

Notre Dame - Dentil as in dentil dam?

Auburn - Like Tulane, but with rural community design. Good ol' boys, Greek life, even in studio.

Glasgow School of Art - I hope you like weird drugs, dubstep, and partying with art students. Like that time you slummed it at your friend's seedy older brothers house - fun, but only for a while

Apr 7, 15 11:01 pm

West Coast: 

University of Washington- Cool Building, all about craft, vernacular architecture, people       there mostly for Seattle, always raining, program....ehh on par with Oregon. 

Oregon- All about sustainability, Football, two programs: Eugene, and Portalnd, They should just relocate their whole program to Portland. 

Berkeley- Hippie City, Program is trying to get relevant by hiring SCI-Arc faculty or fresh talent but still struggling as a grad program, better undergrad program. Hard to get into but not worth it, People there for school name and bay area. 

UCLA- Starchitect faculty, older building and facilities, best grad program in the west, Greg Lynn, Sylvia lavin, and now Jimenez Lai. Big Robots, the beach.  Asian girls all over the campus. 

SCI-ARC- Awesome building, new fab lab, in an artsy area next to Skid-Row, Mostly international students, lots of crossover between faculty from UCLA at reviews, Wacky work but very well done, nearly every one has a 3d printer/ Massive computer builds. 

Woodbury-  Lots of UCLA and SCi-Arc grads teaching there, in Burbank 

USC- New Grad program, up and coming but second tier compared to UCLA and SCI-Arc, Expensive as hell, rich hawt white girls on campus, better for undergrad. 

Apr 8, 15 2:16 am

How about UT Austin? Anyone?

Apr 9, 15 4:12 am

I did UT Austin (UTSOA) -  They seem similar to Oregon, sustainability - I don't know why they are put in the same discussion as the GSD and the like.  But they are one of the more affordable initial tuition for a school of architecture.

Apr 9, 15 7:20 am

Known for:

Woodbury- A smaller, more affordable, less abrasive version of Sci-Arc.  "Sci-Arc Light:  All the Sci Arc flavor, with Zero Douchebaggery", plenty of good affiliate institutes, dual locations LA & SanDiego which I believe was founded by the Germans in 1901.  

Here's some more:

  • Minnesota
  • UW-Milwaukee 
  • Boston Architectural Center
Apr 9, 15 2:43 pm

nothing about UIUC?

Apr 10, 15 10:39 am

Boston Architectural Center - essentially the community college/University of Phoenix of architecture schools; no portfolio required for admissions/no one is rejected, they offer an online M.Arch for fuck's sake, the program takes 5 years and requires you to work while going to school (a horrible, horrible idea if you want to actually learn to be a designer)

It's incredible that this place is accredited. I've seen graduate thesis projects that would deserve an F in a freshman undergraduate studio.

Apr 10, 15 1:10 pm

What about RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) and Pratt Institute? Any insights? 

Apr 10, 15 3:20 pm

How about Penn State, Temple Univ, NJIT. Virginia, Virginia Tech, Howard and Hampton Institute

Apr 21, 15 8:43 pm

Sorry this got referred to in another thread, to add on:

Virginia: "Hey, did you know Jefferson started this place?" Brick. Lots of studio options. Bribes high profile architects to come talk with a shiny medal. Winter externships. Better connections. Has WG Clark.

Virginia Tech: "We like to think we're the Bauhaus." Hokie stone. Undergrad program better than Grad program, which is full of folks who think computers are the devil's creation and reject the enlightenment. Doesn't have WG Clark.

Mar 18, 17 12:39 pm

Thanks for the balls.

WG has graciously taken a second seat for some time now...


These are great to see...thanks.   Two Penn really any more expensive than MIT, GSD or Columbia?  Also, any thoughts on Carnegie  Mellon?

Mar 19, 17 3:34 pm

What about UIUC ? Any thoughts on that ?

Apr 4, 17 2:27 am

In the middle of a corn field - good school though.

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