Ohio State U architecture


Hi everyone, I recently got a note from the Ohio State University saying that I'm admitted to their 3-year M.Arch program. The reason i apply for their program is that it locates in a pretty secure place, however I don't know much about their academics. Does anyone have any idea how their architecture school is?

Feb 2, 13 7:30 pm

I know of it.  It is more regionally reputed, than nationally so, but it's an established program, so I'm sure you'll get a good education.  Ohio doesn't have that many architecture schools, especially the M. Arch. 3.  There is no architecture school in metro Cleveland, for example.  At least you'll be studying in an urban setting which, in my opinion, makes for a better laboratory than a college town.

I just looked at their curriculum.  3 years (6 semesters) and you're done.  There is no extra half year ... nor an inserted summer session of full time work.

Everything appears to be there in their distribution of courses.  The only thing I've seen change over the years is that everyone has pared down their structures sequence to 2 semesters.  I think a minimum of 3 are necessary, with the latter ones focusing on specific materials such as steel and concrete.  Again, that has been the trend, every school is now doing it that way, and NAAB seems to think it's ok.

Are you going?  Or are you waiting for other responses?  What was your previous major (undegraduate), if I may ask?

Feb 3, 13 12:36 pm

I have no idea what you mean by "a pretty secure place" - but I'm a product of their 3-year M.Arch program. Feel free to email me with any questions.

Feb 3, 13 8:55 pm

Hi observant,

Thanks for the response :)

My undergraduate major is applied physics. I've taken several engineering courses, including "Strengths of Material". I don't know what the "structure" course like in an architecture school, but I think it's more specific towards architectural materials...

Yep I'm still waiting for other responses. This one came really early, which surprised me.


Feb 3, 13 10:24 pm

Hi Evan,

Thanks for the post. By "secure" I mean the local community is nice and safe :)

Feb 3, 13 10:29 pm

All Midwestern schools have high acceptance rates for M.Arch.3s, except for Michigan, which has recently soared in the ratings.  In the past, that was not as much the case.  The other thing is that Michigan knows it's not a destination in which students remain, and it will not reclass independent adult graduate students into resident status.

If you've had strength of materials, you will be breezing through the structures sequence.  The 2 semester sequences of the New Millennium deal with statics and strength of materials in semester one, and then crunch some numbers for steel, wood, and concrete elements in the second semester.  I disagree with that model.  I believe that the different materials warrant a separate class, which can be done without compromising the studio sequence nor the history/theory sequence.

At any rate, it will be interesting to see which other options you will have.  I applied to 8 and got 4. 

Feb 3, 13 10:46 pm

Yeah, Ohio State is safe, plenty of drunken white people. Oh, and if you like your high school football, they got some outstanding rapists at a local Ohio high school.

Feb 3, 13 11:50 pm
wow, i haven't seen my fellow archinectors be so negative in a while.

the knowlton is an excellent school - and in one of the most beautiful new facilities anywhere. over the past couple of decades some of the most noted faculty *anywhere* have been there. (and the only reason that's past tense is because i don't know who's there now.)

your other picks might be great, but this won't be settling.
Feb 4, 13 6:38 am

here's some positivity: The KSA is an excellent school, and if you take full advantage of the faculty and resources there, you will get an excellent education, and be well positioned to work at some of the best firms out there. I personally know alumni who have gone on to work at BIG, Richard Meier, Jeannie Gang, Moshe Safdie, and many more big-name companies. I was able to get internships at Herzog & deMeuron and Fuksas, thanks to connections I made through the KSA. Graduates from the undergrad program routinely go on to do their masters' at Harvard, Yale, MIT, Columbia, etc, etc - you'll need to ask them which they prefer.... 

The faculty is excellent, as are the visiting professors, and the lecture series. While I was at Knowlton (from 2005-2009), I had the opportunity to take classes with Jose Oubrerie, Jeff Kipnis, Rob Livesy, Doug Graf, Jackie Gargus, and many others who are still there. John McMorrough and Robert Somol were still around at that time, since departed. We had regular visits from Peter Eisenman (usually around home football games). The school makes a point of bringing in promising young practitioners, who typically go on to do great work (While I was there: Jimminez Lai, Andrew Kudless, Liam O'Brian, Nick Gelpi). Etc, etc. The names may not mean much if you're just starting in architecture, but OSU is definitely 'in the loop' in terms of getting top talent on staff.

The facilities there are incredible - the building itself (Knowlton Hall, designed by Mack Scogin and Merrill Elam) is an educational device: I can't even count the number of times a professor would point out a construction detail to illustrate their point. There were a number of theories about the design floating around while I was there: my favorite is the idea that Knowlton Hall is a reinterpretation of Le Corbusier's complete ouvre, illustrating different points in his career at different moments within the building. The school has an excellent wood shop and fabrication lab, with 3D printers, lasercutters, CNC mills, etc, and whatever you can't find in the building (metal shop) can be arranged elsewhere on campus. The computer facilities are good, plenty of plotters, etc. 

Plenty of travel opportunities - a yearly study tour to Europe, semesters abroad in various countries. 

The school definitely has a 'theoretical' focus - so if you're expecting to learn how to size ductwork, or write electric schedules, you may be disappointed (though you will learn that - it's required). With a background in Physics, you can probably skip these courses anyway. 

Columbus is a wonderful little city. with a thriving music and arts scene, great restaurants, good parks and bike trails, agreeable weather most of the year (and cheap-ish flights to NYC or Chicago if you need a big city). Rent is cheap. Beer is cheap. There's karaoke every night of the week.

What else? Like I said, email me if you have any specific questions about the program there. All I can say is that it's given me a huge number of opportunities, and I never once regretted enrolling at OSU.

Feb 4, 13 7:30 am

my cynicism is universal on this thread. perhaps my hackles are raised whenever i see "nice and safe". for me, it would seem to be coded language for "non-[insert racial identity] and non-ghetto." my other cynicism is related to that; assumptions around campuses in general, and tight knit, suburban communities rallying behind fabled institutions, often involving "paragons" of the community; football players.

Feb 4, 13 12:36 pm


I am not doubting that it is a good school and that you had a good experience there.  To you and the gentleman above you, most people from the coastal regions of the US do not want to go to the Midwest for 3+ years if they don't have to.  However, if they are going to do so, they should pick a really good school ... or one in an urban setting (OSU, U Minn.).  Let's face it, everyone wants Berkeley, UCLA, Washington, Georgia Tech, and Virginia for a public M.Arch. 3 and, well, few get in.

When you mention the grad schools OSU people went to, I'm sure you were referring to the 4 year bachelor's crowd.  For M. Arch. 2/3, the only other option is another specialty M.Arch. (kind of nutty) or a niche M.S.

How well does one get treated in Fuksas's office?  I go to Italy often and have heard some great stories about him ... and working there.  Also, as you know, it depends on the talent of the individual.  The good schools turn out duds, and the ones that aren't as sought-after turn out talented people.  This is especially the case with M.Arch.3s, who bask in architecture for 3 years, rather than 6.

Feb 4, 13 12:49 pm


When I said "great" stories re Fuksas, I was being facetious.

Feb 5, 13 5:03 pm

as for Fuksas - I've got some "great" stories as well.... but my recommendation is: go see for yourself... nothing beats first-hand experience!

Feb 5, 13 9:16 pm

@ Evan:

No desire to work in Italy. Grazie, ma no!  My parents are from there.  Plus, I always opted for as "regular" a job as possible in America.  Vacations across the pond will suffice. 

Feb 5, 13 10:11 pm

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