Urban design vs. Architecture


I am about to complete my Bachelors in Urban Planning with a Specialization in Urban Design. I was always fascinated with architecture and mid-way my degree, knew that planning wasn't right for me. Although I do enjoy Urban Design, I found many flaws in the way it was taught and did not get enough exposure to the subject as it only took up one course every semester of my planning degree. 

I really wanted to pursue architecture and found that a good amount of people with BAs have pursued a masters in Urban Design. I heard that it is strongest to pursue Urban Design with an Architecture background and most people in the field of Urban Design are originally architects. I am very interested in both, but I am leaning more towards Architecture. I recently applied to four master programs: two in urban design and two in architecture at both the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia. I only got into the MUD program at UBC. I am currently so confused to what I should do as I really wanted to get into architecture school. 

Should I accept my offer at UBC and pursue the one year masters program with the hopes of becoming an urban designer? Would I have a chance against competing with urban designers that have an architecture background? OR should I work a few years and apply to architecture graduate schools again? 

Mar 28, 20 9:59 pm
Non Sequitur

What I am really confused is why a masters in urban design is even a thing.  

Mar 28, 20 11:30 pm  · 

Because you are a grunt with limited academic abilities who thinks construction = architecture?

Non Sequitur

construction is big part of architecture, but don't get what you're going for here.


It is a component but it does not exhaust what architecture is, or more precisely, what architecture could be. You're right, the profession is going to throw the trials and tribulations of construction at you whether you like it or not, and it will pay dividends to understand that side of the profession. 

But if your endgame is 'well functioning building,' so much of that banks on said building having good site context; i.e. amenities, transportation, landscaping etc. Enter urban design. 


Before adding to this discussion, I'll encourage you to search "urban design" in the threads.  There have been many on this exact topic (architecture vs UD vs planning) and you'll find (some of) the reading interesting and informative.

Mar 29, 20 12:33 am  · 

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