Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning was ranked the top undergraduate program in the annual survey, “America’s Best Architecture and Design Schools 2017” this month. Cornell’s Master of Architecture program was slated second.
Department of Architecture Chair Mark Cruvellier called the Cornell architecture professional degree program one of the “oldest and most respected in the nation.”
“[This ranking] helps ensure that we will continue to attract the best students and faculty to our program, which obviously helps to perpetuate the top-level ranking into the future,” he said.
Cruvellier said the architecture program strives to make progress and innovation a regular component of its continued success.
“We do innovative things as a matter of course in the department, from bringing in new faculty with exciting and creative areas of expertise to hosting exceptional guest speakers and critics from around the globe to sending our students to engage with various locations around the country and the world,” he explained. “Special is the norm here.”
Cruvellier cited the improvement of building facilities over the past few years with “transform[ing] the ways we teach students.”
“The related enlargement of our materials workshop spaces in Rand Hall and the addition of new — often digitally-controlled — equipment has allowed us to not only maintain but further develop our … strength and reputation,” he said.
Relatively small class sizes and highly selective admissions criteria are also important factors in making the architecture program successful, according to Cruvellier.
“There is also a very strong dedication to teaching by the faculty that has long been and continues to be one of the main strengths of the place,” he said.
Architecture student Nicole Rubin ’18 agreed with this sentiment, saying that the college helped her create “an architectural mindset” and that she feels “lucky” to be a student at Cornell architecture.
“I am challenged every single day with every single class, it’s amazing to know that I’m getting the best of the best,” she said. “Knowing that when I go to apply to jobs and saying that I went to Cornell architecture, you know that actually means something.”
Rubin said her “preconceived notions of what architecture is” were shattered by the program’s thought-provoking projects. For example, she said she was instructed to draw inspiration from a spider’s movements for a piece of architecture.
She further elaborated on the “amazing” “studio culture” within the college that helps guide students in their work.
“We have this big open space where you have people from freshman year to masters and … you can see what people are doing in fifth year and what projects they’re working on, and I could also see how some freshmen interpreted projects that I had a couple years back,” she said. “It’s really nice because you can go around asking anyone for advice … and everyone helps each other out.”