Columbia Intro to Architecture for Non-Architect?



I'm a PhD student working on post-industrial urban renewal, and my advisors have strongly encouraged me to take architecture courses before I spend the next year doing fieldwork interviewing architects and urban planners. 

I'm considering taking Columbia's Intro to Architecture program but I'm wondering: is it actually an introduction or is it more a chance to build up your portfolio before applying to grad school? My background is only in social science and I've never taken a single architecture course, so I'm really looking for a way to become familiar with the discipline from an insider's perspective--however, I imagine the theoretical aspects will be much more useful to me than the practical/studio experience. 

I live in NYC so travel and living expenses are not an issue, and I'll (hopefully, fingers crossed) get some grant money to cover part of the cost. All things considered,

1) Would anyone who has done this program in the past recommend it for someone in my position, someone who has no intention of becoming an architect but wants to gain some introductory knowledge? and

2) Can anyone describe the balance of theory and practice? Do the professors and TA's care about or emphasize anything outside of building a portfolio?


Mar 5, 13 9:12 pm

i think as a Phd student, you'd be better off sitting in on architecture lectures than taking that intro to arch course..  I think its basically a course to help high school students build their portfolio or give me an idea if architecture is what they really want to study.

Ask any architecture student from uni or check the school's website for schedule of classes and sit in on them.

Mar 5, 13 9:21 pm

Thanks so much for the information. I'd love to sit in on an architecture class, but I'm having a hard time finding one that meets during the summer (unfortunately during the academic year I'm not able to: teaching, departmental requirements, etc.). Do you have any suggestions for classes in the NYC area that meet during the summer?

Mar 6, 13 11:32 pm

start by going on youtube and watch some videos of arch. interviews and lectures.

Mar 6, 13 11:53 pm

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