Architecture and Community Design

Building Communities for Human & Environmental Sustainability

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Program Description

The Architecture & Community Design (ARCD) Program at the University of San Francisco combines an introduction to the disciplines of architecture, urban design, city planning, and landscape design with a strong emphasis on the social sciences and humanities. The program draws from the university's diverse resources and faculty to form a unique interdisciplinary curriculum of study, which reflects the university's mission and commitment to building community for a more just and humane world.

This interdisciplinary program emphasizes the critical role of design in negotiating between individual and collaborative acts of making and the larger framework of political, social, and cultural issues. It seeks to engage and encourage students to understand the contemporary metropolis through a breadth of analytical approaches and design strategies. Through this process we train students to become impassioned readers, interpreters, actors, and designers of their cities, institutions, and communities.

The B.A. in Architecture & Community Design is a four year pre-professional degree program that has been carefully crafted to satisfy the entrance requirements for professional architecture and urban design graduate degree programs at the nation's top thirty universities. Applicants to the program should follow USF's regular undergraduate admissions procedures; no portfolio is required.


Selected Graduate Schools

Architecture & Community Design graduates have been admitted to the following grad schools:
● University of California, Berkeley
● University of Oregon, Eugene
● Oregon State University, Portland
● Pratt Institute
● University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
● University of Southern California (USC)
● Cal Poly Pomona
● University of Washington
● Southern California Institute of Architecture
● Parsons School of Design
● Boston Architectural College
● Savannah College of Art and Design
● Tulane University


Selected Companies

Architecture & Community Design students and graduates have worked for:
● Cahill Contractors
● Curb Appeal the Block
● IRS
● Thomas Dolan Associates
● Dana Hanson Interiors
● Fargo Farnesi
● Walker Moody Architects
● HP Media Solutions
● SF Public Works
● SmartHaus Associates
● Kirk E. Peterson and Associates, Architects
● City of Downey Planning Department
● Davis Square Architects
● Jizhun Fangzhong Architectural Design
● Peace Corps
● U.S. Army
● Americorps


Elements of the Architecture & Community Design Program

● Seven intensive core studio courses that address local and global urban and architectural design issues
● Four courses covering distinct eras in architecture and urban history across the globe
● The use of San Francisco and the greater Bay Area as urban laboratories for the study of history, theory and design
● Training in both abstract and applied design
● Integration of the studio core within the context of a liberal arts education in social sciences, science, and the humanities
● Preparation for graduate programs in architecture, landscape architecture, environmental design and city planning; and, also for any number of professional career tracks including government, law, history, business, journalism or the visual arts
● An architecture focused semester abroad
● An optional Architectural Engineering track
● Bay Area and International community design outreach on real-world design/build projects
● Practicum/internship at architecture related firms, municipalities and non-profits


Learning Goals/Outcomes for the B.A. in Architecture and Community Design

● Gain a historical foundation of architecture from pre-history to recent developments in the field, through a comprehensive approach to the range of social and economic factors affecting the design of world cities and buildings
● Develop familiarity with social justice issues in under-served communities and developing regions of the world as well as more inclusive perspectives on architectural history
● Develop critical skills and methodologies of inquiry, analysis, conceptual development, resolution and presentation of design ideas
● Learn to integrate aspects of site, program, space, structure and material to create designs for buildings which actively respond to the historical, cultural, social and political exigencies of time and place
● Develop analytical tools that give attention to the various historic and social forces that intersect to create the built environment
● Gain a solid foundation in technical and conceptual design skills to present architectural ideas visually, verbally and in writing to clients, associates, and communities
● Graduate with the knowledge and skills to facilitate positive change to built environments in the world

Beyond the Coursework
Architecture & Community Design students participate in USF student organizations and activities such as:
● AIA SF at USF
● Back to da Roots - Urban Farming Club
● Outdoors Club - Rural Sustainability
● Bay Area Architecture Lecture Series
● Architecture Film Series
● USF Organic Garden