How difficult is it to become a studio professor at an Ivy League school?


Or an architecture related ivy league professor in general

Oct 27, 19 1:43 am
Non Sequitur

probably more difficult than at a non ivy school. 

Oct 27, 19 7:31 am

You have to have the following qualifications:

1) Be a graduate of an Ivy, and/or

2) Be a famous architect, and/or

3) Have graduated from a school that shates shares a similar philosophy about architecture as the ivey, and/or

4) Do research that is not only in line with the school's philosophy, but is revered by the faculty at that school, abd/or

5) Have connections with the faculty at that school, and/or

6) have experience teaching architecture, at least as an adjunct professor at a well-known school, and/or

7) Have experience working as an Architect, either on your own or at a well-know firm.

Oct 27, 19 7:45 am

8. At least at the onset, be willing to make surprisingly little money as an adjunct.

Oct 27, 19 10:45 am

Having ability to build an exceptional value around your work, regardless of its size, type, and immediate usefulness. 

Oct 27, 19 6:11 pm

Being friends with current faculty (Who are either your teachers or contemporaries) helps a lot unless you bring truly unique work - at which point you're probably going to be invited to teach option studios rather than go through the grind of core.

Oct 27, 19 7:42 pm
Get good at bulshitting and sucking up to total bullshitters. That’s a prerequisite. The more irrelevant you are to the actual profession, the higher your chances of academic success.
Oct 27, 19 11:39 pm

So i’ve been told. Interesting how big bullshitting is. I never thought I’d use interesting and bullshitting in the same sentence. In all seriousness, the most intelligent architects i’ve met are bullshitting enthusiasts—they all use the term frequently.


you need to be a master of archibabble like Libeskind

Oct 29, 19 11:54 am
atelier nobody

It also helps if you've never actually done any architecture like Hejduk and Eisenman.


You will need a special line of bullshit babble that represents your "interest " that you "investigate" like "the rhyzomatic tendencies of post-industrial queer space in Asian megacities".


Don't forget the insufferably superior smugness, too! It's just as important as the humorless disposition. 

(To be fair, this is not unique to our field or to the Ivies, of course. But we've been given a lot of ammunition by some of these folks over the years.)


(Also in the disclaimer category: exceptions. A brilliant guy I went to HS with ended up as a historian teaching at Harvard. I met up with him after several years, and he had not changed at all. Still nice, friendly, and engaging. So it can happen, I'm just not sure of the frequency.)


Libeskind? Eisenman? That line hasn't been fashionable in the Ivies for a dozen years.

i teach at 2 japanese ivies. I did PhD at a 3rd Ivy, that is ranked higher than the ones i teach at. Every professor at the schools I teach at either graduated from the same school as me, or went to the one I am teaching at now. The outliers went to harvard or similar. Nobody comes from a school "below" the ivy level. Except the super star architects, with a pritzker or similar to their name. It is very incestuous, all things considered.

The idea that profs at ivies are disconnected from real world is not my experience. They do share a tendency towards excellence in one field or more. If you are planning a teaching career at an Ivy school the best way to get there is to be exceptional. Easy.

Oct 31, 19 2:16 am

Finish this sentence, those who can, do; those who can



... mess up typing a snarky reply on the internet.


teaching is also a kind of doing, good educators are more valuable than mediocre practitioners


How can you possibly teach something you can't apply to achieve success in real life?

lol. Yes that is an accidentally perfect summary, BB.

Look, the ivies have a lot of issues connected with them and it's reasonable to want to assume the places are full of people who have no good reason to be there. But even Kengo Kuma has a PhD, at U of Tokyo. He isnt a Pritzker level person, but if you think he doesnt know how to build, how to politic at the national level (a HUGE part of the job for architects who are ambitious), and how to teach studio (even if he isn't as present as he used to be), then you are ignoring what it takes and just pissed off because...

Shigeru Ban is teaching at my school, and he has done so for years, since long before he was famous. His entire practice of working in reconstruction after disaster is based on his academic career. I dont think anyone would accuse him of not "DO"-ing anything. The opposite is true, he does far more than most architects do. And he was doing it before it was popular to be into the helping the world thing. AND he was at the same time developing kick ass buildings and paper structures and cetera. I dont see how going to a school where people like that are teaching is not worth it...

Sure there are a lot of people like me, who have not done anywhere near as much, but we all have offices or worked for years before beginning to teach, and like me they work at teaching part time or else work two full time jobs. Teaching is serious.  And its hard work. In my case I do it partially for the money, and partially because it offers a way to think more deeply about my views on design than pure practice normally does. And I like teaching. Its a worthwhile activity. Why dis that?

As for the doing and not being able to do idea, well the world is fucked up. Somebody has to un-fuck it. Focusing on architecture as if it were just about construction is not going to get us anywhere near to a solution. In which case bring on ALL of the ideas and research projects, and lets see where it leads us.

Oct 31, 19 7:49 pm

A bunch of kids graduating college, thinking that achieving success without knowing grasshopper and scripting rather than really understanding scale is a big mistake. Kids graduate school thinking they are great designers, and when they sit down to do a floor plan, know NOTHING about how to even space plan. They spend $150k paying people like you- for what? How to THINK about architecture? Oh- right: at the ivies, you're grooming the senior designers, and think dverone else will know how to do the real work.

well if you dont know how to think, how can you DO anything? I've worked on three continents and with students from all over the world, both as an employee and later as director of my small firm. We've hosted about 50 students as interns over the last few years and I can say that the only thing really common among them is that they need experience. This is my entirely biased and narrow view from a self-selecting sample of students from ivies and otherwise. The big fallacy from so many critics of architecture school is that they want it to be a purely technical education, when all of our history clearly shows it is NOT. Our built history comes from the architects who surpass and push/pull culture in one direction or another. Nobody gets there straight from university, nor does anyone learn to build until they have spent several years making mistakes in an office and actually building stuff. University is the starting point not the end point. If there is anything a graduate needs, Ivy or otherwise, it is an ability to learn.


You can't break rules without knowing them. Its kind of like a musical education... its much easier for a classical pianist to play non-classical piano than the other way around.


Who'd be more valuable? A person with an arch degree but full of themselves.....


a person without a degree but passes all divisions of the ARE.... and perhaps still full of themselves as it seems to be a prerequisite to being an architect.

Oct 31, 19 10:34 pm
Chad Miller

How about a person who is licensed architect that listens to their clients and helps them to achieve the building that they want while creating a space that is energy efficient, comfortable for humans, on time, and on budget.

Will, your experience at Japanese universities seems rather different than those in the US. Some of the elite colleges here have studio profs that haven’t built as much as a house in real life, but can babble endlessly about parametric form generation and other BS. Some of them even become deans of said colleges. So yes, it’s an incestous circle that feeds on rich trust fund babies.
Nov 1, 19 1:53 am

lol. Thats not my experience (not just in japan). And trust fund babies myth is mostly myth. Its a nice tactic to alienate people but its largely bullshit. In any case it doesnt matter. Architecture is not a trade it is a profession and the scope of problems we face are expanding not contracting. We need to expand our capabilities as a result, not contract them to a technical sub-category based on a days-of-yore myth that never existed. This list of deans ( in the USA is pretty inspiring. Some have built serious stuff, others have simply DONE serious stuff. None of them are particularly lightweight. And again, we need ALL of the ideas if we are going to be part of the problems coming down the pipe. As for the babble, OK I grant some profs are full of shit, but the babble with the good ones, who are thinking properly, is more akin to the wax-on wax-off of the karate kid than anything. Not every lesson at architecture school needs to lead to a window flashing detail. Sometimes its just a collection of tools that allows you to deal with an amorphous profession where our job description constantly changes. Not that any of this has much to do with teaching at an ivy school ;-)


I believe the original question was about Studio Profs. at Ivy Leagues, not Deans. Obviously the Deans have to be of a certain pedigree, as there is way more oversight on that level. "
Non Building" studio profs and instructors are way too common in Ivy Schools. I do agree with the discussion being about more than built form, but I have a hard time believing that a lot of these discussions have anything to do with advancement of the profession, and more about the instructors furthering their own research agendas.


Be (or become?) a female. That's about it.  

Nov 1, 19 8:42 am

I've got that requirement going for me


thanks for sharing guys

Nov 5, 19 4:42 am

Will Galloway- you know what my experience was studying architecture in Japan? Japanese students made beautiful models, but their concepts were essentially "copies" (for a lack of a better term) of precedents, if not very much "inspired by" precedents. Emulation of the instructor is very much at the core of Japanese culture. I visited the oldest Aikido dojo in Tokyo and students were essentially emulating their instructor. 

Nov 5, 19 8:46 am
Chad Miller

After hearing all this snark about ivy league schools makes me glad I revived a BA from a pragmatic university.  

Nov 5, 19 9:46 am

Something I haven't seen... There also needs to be a vacancy.  This is also why it is important to have a good network in the system so you know when that turnover might occur and can also put in a good word.  My BIL is a Arch professor (not Ivy, but he has his Masters from Harvard). I think he's also working toward a Doctorate. 

Nov 5, 19 1:30 pm

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