Architecture at Bard approaches the discipline and practice as a matter of public concern—an aesthetic spatial practice whose propositions aim to reconfigure our collective present toward more just futures. The program builds connections across architectural cultures, design techniques, histories, and research to equip students with an expansive and experimental attitude toward the field that simultaneously opens paths for engaging other disciplines spatially. The curriculum is designed to frame architecture as both an art form and an argument: it presents architecture as a historically situated and intellectually rigorous field in which the practice of design intersects with and draws from discourses outside its traditionally conceived boundaries. The program teaches students that architecture is both entangled with and operative in worlds beyond its disciplinary boundaries, but that it is also a site for transformative, insurgent spatial and material possibilities with which to imagine our worlds otherwise.
To moderate in Architecture, students must complete two Critical Cultures of Architecture courses (Architecture 111, Art History 126); one Design Studio-Seminar (Architecture 121); one Elective Course on Space (various); and one Open Practices Workshop (Architecture 130). Additionally, they must present a portfolio of work to date, a brief essay that reflects on the work in the portfolio and speculates on the student’s future intellectual development within architecture, and a representative work from an elective course on space. Graduation requirements include three Critical Cultures of Architecture courses; three Design Studio-Seminars; two Electives on Space; two Open Practices Workshops; and the Senior Project.
Structurally, the curriculum is composed of four families of courses that build upon this concept.
- Critical Cultures of Architecture (CCA) courses introduce architectural practice and techniques within a sociopolitical field, and address spatial histories, theories, research methods, and representation techniques.
- Design Studio-Seminars (DSS) pair design interventions and technique acquisition with a series of lectures, readings, and discussions around a given question.
- Elective Courses and Seminars on Space (ES) draw from courses across the College that offer ways to interrogate architecture and the production of space from the vantage point of nonarchitectural disciplines, works, and modes of inquiry.
- Open Practices Workshops (OPW) are monthlong, 2-credit studio courses that, through guest practitioners and thinkers, expose students to a variety of contemporary practices and modes of architectural design.
The curriculum builds a pedagogical sequence that cuts across the four course clusters to encourage common points of inquiry and give disciplinary and methodological progression over the duration of the program.
- Planetary: The study of architecture begins by recognizing that issues like climate change bring to the fore the transcalar relations that directly tie buildings, bodies, cities, and ecosystems together.
- Constituencies: The second phase grounds architectural design and discourse in the spatial concerns of specific social groups, movements, and struggles, opening a framework by which to develop projects alongside various groups, organizations, or actors that address issues such as spatial justice, housing rights, gentrification, and spatial inequalities of gender and race.
- Futures: The final phase mobilizes the intellectual maturity, design skills, and technical agility of the student to see architecture as a site of open experimentation in building collective futures through iterative design processes.
Note: The Architecture Program does not offer an accredited professional degree. Students who wish to proceed to a professional degree program are encouraged to take one course in elementary calculus and one in classical physics. They are also encouraged to discuss entry requirements for graduate programs with their advisers.