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February 1, 2014updated 29 Jul 2021 10:55am

Best architecture schools in the world

By Spear's

Author: Peter Matthews

The number of students opting to study architecture is on the rise but with several renowned architecture schools to choose from, deciding where to go can be a challenge. Spear’s picks out some of the best architecture schools in the world.

With inspiring names such as Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry making headlines for their famous buildings and successful firms, training to be an architect is rising in popularity among university students of today.

Along with the UK university admissions service UCAS reporting that more than 200 extra students applied to undergraduate architecture courses in 2014, the role of the architect has gained prominence in recent times, with the industry being recognised for its resilience.

However, with the high cost of training to be an architect and low salary once you’re qualified being valid talking points, studying at a leading architecture school is vital.

Read on to find out more about the best architecture schools in the world.

Southern California Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles

Best architecture schools in the world: southern california institute of architecture

With a reputation as one of America’s best architecture schools, Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) is renowned for its B.Arch and M.Arch degrees, which prepare aspiring architects for the industry through architectural experimentation.

Located in the heart of Los Angeles, the school is almost bursting at the seams with noted architects among its faculty, including Pritzker Prize winners.

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Students benefit from the school’s top-notch studios, dedicated library, and some of the most advanced digital fabrication machines available.

The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, London

Best architecture schools in the world: bartlett school of architecture

If being located in one of the world’s most architecturally inspiring cities in the world isn’t enough to tempt you to the Bartlett School of Architecture, perhaps an international reputation, impressive faculty and extensive facilities will be.

Located in London, the school’s vast range of programmes aim to develop students into professional architects with specialisms such as advanced architectural design.

With its partnerships with architectural, charity, design, educational and governmental organisations, extensive studios and other impressive facilities, the Bartlett School of Architecture is a leading choice for those embarking on an architecture education.

College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, Cornell University, Ithaca

Best architecture schools in the world: college of architecture, cornell

With its advanced facilities, overseas links and renowned curriculum, Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning is considered to be a leading architecture school in America.

Providing theoretical training and studio experiences, the school prepares aspiring architects for the complex problems of the 21st century architecture. Students also have the opportunity to study in Palazzo Lazzaroni, in the historic centre of Rome.

The school’s Milstein Hall, which opened in 2011, features 25,000 square feet of flexible studio space, giving students all the room they need to be inventive. In addition, the hall has a 250-seat, state-of-the-art auditorium, exhibition venues and covered outdoor areas.

Image credit: Brad Feinkopf

School of Architecture, Royal College of Art, London

Best architecture schools in the world: royal college of art

With well-known architects and interior designers such as David Adjaye, Edward Barber, Jay Osgerby and Sadie Morgan among its alumni, the Royal College of Art’s School of Architecture‘s esteemed MA architecture programme speaks for itself.

The school’s postgraduate-only environment allows for a unique depth of study into architecture, in line with social, political and cultural contexts of the 21st century.

With the support of professional practitioners, students are given the opportunity to participate in industry-funded projects, sponsored internships and placements, as well as having their work showcased at the RCA and in museums and galleries around the world.

Rice School of Architecture, Houston

Best architecture schools in the world: rice school of architecture

Architecture at Rice University in Houston, Texas, dates back to 1912. Today the Rice School of Architecture describes itself as a ‘think tank’ where students are taught to understand the world with an understanding of contexts and encouraged to speculate architectural possibilities.

The school, which offers both undergraduate and graduate programmes, is housed in Anderson Hall, where students can access a state-of-the-art fabrication facility, as well as an advanced computer visualisation and research laboratory.

In addition, projects like Workshop Houston – an innovative youth development programme which requires architecture graduates to develop a strategy and detailed design – give students the opportunity to explore their creativity while meeting the challenges of real-life problems.

Image credit: Tami Lynn Andrew, RSA

Architectural Association School of Architecture, London

With its twelve postgraduate programmes as well as an undergraduate school, the Architectural Association School of Architecture has a reputation for providing one of the most dynamic learning environments in the world.

Located in a row of Georgian houses in Bloomsbury, London, the school’s unique and historic setting is fitting considering it is the UK’s oldest and only remaining private school of architecture. However, the famously independent school is renowned for its experimentalism and prides itself on pushing the boundaries of architecture.

With several prize-winning graduates among its alumni, the Architectural Association School of Architecture is an ideal choice for students looking for a forward-thinking architecture school in London.

Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge, Cambridge

Founded in 1912, the Department of Architecture at the world-famous University of Cambridge is considered to be one of the best architecture schools in the UK.

With an unashamedly academic approach to architecture, the school’s Bachelor of Arts and Masters programmes help students to master technical subjects, as well as gain an understanding on the different contexts of architecture.

Aside from the benefits of studying at what is considered to be one of the best universities in the world, architecture students get to work alongside the research arm of the Department of Architecture and being part of a close-knit creative and intellectual community.

Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia

Located in one of the most famous architectural cities in the world, the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia takes students on a contemporary journey of architectural training through a combination of theory and practice. The radical non-profit foundation encourages their students to become the change-makers of the future by nurturing ingenuity, critical thinking and innovation.

With Barcelona’s rich architectural surrounding on their doorstep, aspiring architects are able to study pioneering master programmes, ranging from urbanism to future cities and robotic construction.

In addition to benefiting from a network of international architectural experts, students can to access the library of the Colegio de Arquitectos de Catalunya, one of the largest and most important libraries in Europe specialising in architecture and design.

School of Architecture, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen

Best architecture schools in the world

With vast international links, rich history and extensive studio-based work, the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts is renowned for its architecture programmes.

Five Master programmes, taught in English, cover architectural design and restoration, industrial, graphic and furniture design, and urban and landscape planning.

Students are given endless opportunities to showcase their work and can take advantage of the extensive library, which has two kilometres of books and journals.

Syracuse University School of Architecture, Syracuse

With opportunities to study abroad, nationally accredited programmes and world-class educators, the Syracuse University School of Architecture has a reputation as one of the best architecture schools in America.

In addition to faculties in New York, London and Florence, where students get to spend up to two terms studying, the university boasts numerous local and regional engagement projects.

Both the undergraduate and graduate programmes are renowned for being stimulating and challenging, with Masters students given the opportunity to study multiple aspects of architecture, while Bachelor of Arts students broaden their intellectual and creative foundation.

Academy of Architecture, Università della Svizzera italiana, Mendrisio

Located in Mendrisio, Switzerland, the Academy of Architecture offers both undergraduate and graduate programmes, which aim to train aspiring architects to be critical, responsible and innovative.

Students work on projects in classes of no more than 25, under the guidance of distinguished architects, in addition to a professor and at least two assistants who are engaged in the industry.

While the undergraduate programme offers a combination of theoretical study and practical training, those on the graduate study course are trained to understand the different technical and humanistic aspects of specialised projects.

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Clive Aslet: What Modern architects have in common with Classicists

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