Pre-Architecture

Architecture is the art, science, humanity, social science, and technology of designing buildings. Architects provide the tools, settings, and props for the performance of everyday life by the species Homo Sapiens. Architecture emerged in Europe during the Renaissance out of the practices of a loosely associated group of tradesmen (Brunelleschi, Palladio), fortifications designers (Michelangelo, Durer), and scientist/inventors (Leonardo, Galileo). For professional convenience, specialization, and educational purposes, architecture was then divided into several specialties. In Paris, for example, the Ecole des Ponts et Chaussees was split apart from the Ecole des Beaux Arts in 1747. In the 1880s, professional architecture programs were initiated by American technical institutes, beginning at M.I.T., and by universities, beginning with Columbia. Columbia’s B.Arch program was closed after the disturbances of 1968, and this university now offers only an M.Arch. degree, as do most of the more rigorous educational institutions that offer architectural design training. At present about half of all architecture graduates hold master’s level degrees. This transition parallels another transition: in the early 1960s, American schools of architecture were almost all male, whereas now, the gender balance averages 50/50. Most of the three-dimensional design disciplines descended from architecture—for example civil engineering, landscape architecture, interior design, and urban and regional planning—are either self-regulated by professional association or, in most developed nations, regulated by the state to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the public to whom the profession is dedicated.

Since the environmental design professions—architecture, landscape architecture, historic preservation, interior design, urban, and regional planning, and civil engineering—draw on all the arts, sciences, and technologies, graduate design programs look for just the kind of broad liberal arts education that Fordham provides. These schools do not specify a particular major but will look for a coherent program of studies preparing for a specific environmental design discipline. Most pre-architecture students pursue an architecture concentration within a visual arts major, although similar concentrations are also available in art history and theatre design. Students majoring in urban studies, environmental policy, theatre design or engineering physics must also declare a pre-professional design minor.

It is recommended that students interested in the design professions begin taking courses in the fundamentals in freshman year, and that they make their intentions known to the program adviser as early as possible, since advisement may affect core, major, minor, and elective course selections.

Program Activities

In the spring of Junior Year, generally in mid-April, all pre-architecture students must participate in Junior Review. Each student submits a portfolio of creative architectural, artistic, critical and constructive work for review by program faculty, together with a transcript printout and course selections for the following year. Proposals for VART 4600 SENIOR SEMINAR: STUDIO ART (if submitted) will also be evaluated at this time. Students who have declared professional ambitions but appear to be on a trajectory where graduate design school admission is deemed unlikely will be encouraged to find alternative programs.

During Senior Review, generally in late November, portfolios will be accepted, together with proposals for VART 4090 SENIOR PROJECT ARCHITECTURE, and proposals for Senior Exhibitions in the Centre or Lapani Galleries.

Fordham hosts a local chapter of the AIAS, the American Institute of Architecture Students. Pre-Architecture students are encouraged to join, volunteer, and take part in chapter, quadrant and national activities.

Fordham’s pre-architecture students have been accepted into professional graduate programs all across the country, including design schools at Parsons, Columbia, RISD, Pratt, The University of Pennsylvania, SUNY Buffalo, Spitzer, UBC, Syracuse, UVa, Hines, NJIT, NYU, Tulane, IIT, Colorado, and SCIARC, often with advanced standing in history and design studio. Advanced standing may also be available in engineering technology. Students should contact the admissions office of each graduate school as regards their policies.

The “Nemetchecker Award” is given to a rising Junior or Senior who has displayed a willingness to learn —and help others learn— Fordham’s CAD (Computer-Aided Design), and CAMM (Computer-Aided Modelling and Manufacturing) software.

The Gerald M. Quinn Library Prix de L’Ancien Eleve de l’Universitaire Furt-heim is awarded to a graduate of FCLC or FCRH each year. Selected by a panel of librarians, theatre designers and architects, this graduate will have excelled in his/her studies in Pre-Architecture or Pre-Professional Design (see the description of this Minor Program in this bulletin), will have assisted others in a “teamwork” approach to design education, will have travel plans, and usually, by April of their Senior Year, will have received good news regarding their acceptance by their chosen design school.

For more information

Visit the Pre-Architecture program webpage.

Since Pre-Architecture is an advisement program, there are no “requirements” except that every course and extracurricular selection the student makes constitutes preparation for graduate school training.

Pre-Architecture selections from Fordham’s Common Core Curriculum should include Urbanism, Physics, and Applied Calculus. Electives should include, in the Physics Department, Statics, Mechanics of Materials, and Electricity, if possible, and if advanced standing in the chosen graduate school is desired, further ARHI coursework in architectural history, for example:

CourseTitleCredits
VART 2055ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN4
ARHI 2460ARCHITECTURE 1300-17504
ARHI 2540MODERN ARCHITECTURE4
VART 3070URBAN ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN I4
ARHI 3350AGE OF CATHEDRALS4
VART 4090SENIOR PROJECT ARCHITECTURE4

Students interested in interior design should have an especially broad understanding of the history of art and theatre. An excellent portfolio, resulting in advanced placement in graduate design schools (i.e., January placement) will result from undertaking at least six synthetic studios (course 4 in that program) and several courses in the graphic design concentration of the visual arts major also.

To prepare for graduate training in technology, students are advised to fulfill their core requirements wisely and choose electives carefully. Admission requirements vary from school to school and from discipline to discipline. Some architecture schools require undergraduate courses such as the following, while other schools simply require some college-level math or physics:

CourseTitleCredits
MATH 1203APPLIED CALCULUS I3
MATH 1204APPLIED CALCULUS II3
PHYS 1601
PHYS 1511
INTRODUCTION TO PHYSICS I
and PHYSICS I LAB
5
PHYS 1602
PHYS 1512
INTRODUCTION TO PHYSICS II
and PHYSICS II LAB
5

Landscape architecture schools often require preparation in biology. Historic preservation often requires chemistry.

Students may design a program of elective and minor courses to support interests in urban studies; environmental policy; business administration; engineering physics; lighting, costume or set design; or art and architectural history. In senior year, an internship in the office of one of New York’s many respected architectural firms, design studios or planning offices is encouraged. Senior students are also encouraged to register for VART 4090 SENIOR PROJECT ARCHITECTURE, the design of an independent project under the supervision of the faculty.

Students in this program will be supervised by a member of their major department and an architect in the visual arts faculty.

Students should consult intended graduate schools for specific admission requirements and procedures. Application deadlines range from December to March, although some schools accept students into the January term. By researching specific requirements and first year curricula of specific graduate school programs, significant advanced standing may be granted, depending on the accepting school’s policies.