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Thoughts on UIC architecture...

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Any current students or alumni can chime in on their experience, opinion of the program, etc please? 

 
Mar 9, 14 2:22 pm
ArchJr

I graduated from UIC 2 years ago. I attended for both my BS Arch and MArch. I really did love it. You will learn a lot of theory as they put emphasis on teaching  you how to think about creating meaningful discussions of architecture vs industry standards. Be prepared, you will be expected to make a thorough argument for any proposal no matter how good it looks or work you put into a project. It's not really a technical school. They aren't heavy on the practice of architecture as this is something you will learn on the job. Im working at Bjarke Ingels Group now. I can say my years at UIC had definitely helped me in my career.

Best of luck

Mar 9, 14 8:27 pm  · 
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C. Watts
@ Hp87 : I was accepted there too and will most likely go to the open house (still waiting on UPenn, Pratt, Sci-arc, USC and UCLA) I don't know much about the school except that it is more theory than technical (which I prefer) and that the current dean is a composer or was a composer? Which I think is pretty interesting. The student portfolios posted on the site are worth a look, it seems that the students have a lot of freedom in their work.

Thanks for sharing Maureen. I think we all get so worked up about needing to go to Ivy League schools that we forget that students can be very successful regardless of where they attend school.
Mar 9, 14 8:41 pm  · 
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Roshi

I too graduated from UIC two years ago (undergrad - although I know and work with some of the grads that graduated around that time). Maureen is right - it is a very theory-heavy school, especially because Bob Somol is the director (Bob's idea of architecture education, which I now agree with having worked for 2 years out of school, is that you will learn all the technical mumbo-jumbo on the job, and that school is there to experiment with the mind). With the likes of Sarah Dunn, Sean Kelly, Andrew Zago, Jimenez Lai, Paul Preissner,  among many others, you will get your fair share of surreal architecture. You can, of-course, find real-world, down to earth architecture if you seek out studios from professors such as Dan Wheeler or Xavier Vendrell.

Also be prepared to fall in love with bubbles, polka-dot patterning, and neon colors.

Mar 13, 14 6:31 pm  · 
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On the fence

Maybe 5 or 6 years ago I met one of my instructors at a seminar.  I graduated late 90's.  I asked him how things were going at UIC.  His response was quite shocking.  He looked at me in a fairly depressed and beaten manner and said that anybody who knew anything about architecture had left, including himself.  He turned and walked away, clearly not wanting to say anything more on that subject.  It was really sad.  I felt like my question actually hurt him.

I don't pretend to know what the teacher makeup is today.  Maybe they got back on track.  But this really was one of the good professors I was talking to.

Mar 14, 14 9:22 am  · 
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poop876

On the fence, I bet he is one of those old Chicago farts that lives in his little bubble that gets pissed off about any change to Chicago.

UIC is a great school and it only improved with the great faculty like Sarah, Bob, Paul and many others that are there as well as visiting lecturers. The lecture series has improved since Somols arrival and it only gets better. 

Mar 14, 14 2:03 pm  · 
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On the fence

poop, I don't know why you are attacking him.  He was a very good professor at the school. He also holds a license to practice. You probably don't even know him.  And again, I don't know who the new teachers are or what their program is.  I was just relating what I had heard.

 

There was a time when I thought UIC was a great school, before my time, but it was just fairly good/passable when I went there.

If what Roshi and Maureen says is true, and you get your degree(s) from UIC, I'd suggest starting out your career in the Chicagoland area where architecture firms rely heavily on recent grads from the area and understand that it is their job to teach you your job.  JMHO.

Mar 14, 14 3:51 pm  · 
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Roshi

If what Roshi and Maureen says is true, and you get your degree(s) from UIC, I'd suggest starting out your career in the Chicagoland area where architecture firms rely heavily on recent grads from the area and understand that it is their job to teach you your job.  JMHO.

This is one of the biggest pluses to studying in Chicago. The vast majority of the firms here employ a lot of IIT and UIC grads. My firm in particular is very IIT oriented (branched off Mies's firm) and only recently started hiring UIC grads. A lot of the bigger firms like SOM, HoK and Perkins are heavily comprised of UIC and IIT grads as well. Same goes for a few of the starchitect firms in the city (Adrian Smith went to UIC and employs a friend of mine who is currently a 3rd year Grad there, same with Studio GANG.)

Mar 14, 14 4:00 pm  · 
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C. Watts

UIC is very tempting for me because of Studio Gang, my dream job at this point in my life.  I noticed that they have a UIC intern there.  

Mar 14, 14 4:12 pm  · 
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OM..

first post, here we go...

I've been following UIC since a professor of mine who now works there introduced me to their agenda and I really dig it. The school has a strong style of its own, and although I can't see myself wholeheartedly embracing it, Somol's ideas are gripping and I always find myself listening to lectures of his, and the faculty's, that emerge.

The faculty is young and ambitious which I think fosters an energetic atmosphere that tenured profs waiting for retirement don't always deliver.

Mar 15, 14 9:49 pm  · 
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C. Watts

After researching through the faculty list, I can honestly say that I am very excited to visit the school next weekend.  Anyone else going to check it out? 

Mar 28, 14 11:03 am  · 
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