January 23, 2009

AAP Earns First Rank in Survey

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C.U.’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning received high marks in a new survey by DesignIntelligence. The magazine ranked the University’s architecture, interior design and landscape architecture programs at the top of their list of best architecture program.
Cornell’s Bachelor of Architecture program was ranked first of the top 20 in the United States, up two spots from last year’s ranking of number three. The Masters of Architecture program also placed sixth out of the top architecture graduate programs. In the past five years, Cornell’s B. Arch program has been ranked number one four times and the M. Arch program, established in 2004, has placed in the top 20 for the past three years as well.
DI’s new Cramer Report: America’s World Class Schools of Architecture, also recognized Cornell’s architecture program in its top category, granting C.U.’s program 474 out of a possible 485 points in its ranking.
“We have excellent students coming in and excellent faculty who are absolutely dedicated to teaching. When you combine those two things, you end up with this result,” said Prof. Mark Cruvellier, architecture, who is also the department chair and director of graduate studies of architecture.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, Rhode Island School of Design and Syracuse University rounded out the top five undergraduate architecture programs recognized by DI. The top five graduate programs ranked also included Harvard University, University of Cincinnati, Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University.
Cornell’s interior design program also ranked No. 4 out of 10 undergraduate programs and No. 3 for the graduate program. Both the graduate and undergraduate landscape architecture programs were ranked at No. 5.
DI surveyed more than 200 U.S. architecture firms and organizations, asking which programs best prepare students for professional careers in architecture. In addition, more than 900 architecture students were surveyed regarding their satisfaction with the educational programs.
Architecture students seemed to agree with DI’s latest rankings.
“Everyone leaves prepared for whatever they want to pursue and with a strong education, imagination and creative mind,” said Irina Chernyakova, forth year architecture student.
Kim Faul, second year architecture student, also agrees that Cornell’s program provides an excellent education.
“The major is very intense and focuses on academics and developing the architecture skills required in the field,” Faul said.
However, some students still feel that the architecture program and AAP contain some pitfalls.
“It’s a great program with capable, hard-working students and dynamic, revolving faculty but I worry at times that it will become complacent, rather than evolving with the interests of the times…I’d like to see the program embrace sustainability or design-build,” stated Christopher Werner, M. Arch student, in an e-mail.
Molly Chiang, fifth year architecture student, agreed with the caliber of students that come out of the program, but also voiced concerns and hope for future change in the college.
“There is a lot that needs to be done. There needs to be a new building which has been in the works for nearly a decade,” Chiang said referring to the construction of Milstein Hall.
“There are also some factions between faculty members and a little bit of tension that transcends into what students experience,” Chiang continued.
In response to differences or tension that may exist between departments within AAP, Cruveillier said that differences between departments in AAP may be perceived as larger than they actually are because AAP only houses three programs. Therefore, differences between these three departments are more exaggerated than differences between more diverse departments in larger colleges, such as Arts and Sciences.
However, Cruveillier noted that the planned construction of Milstein Hall and the recent appointment of AAP’s Dean Kleinman last September will work to strengthen the ties within the college.