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Despite lack of major, architecture offerings abound

May 28, 2013   |   by Margot Byrne and Amanda Young   |   The Dartmouth

While Dartmouth does not offer a formal major in architecture, the College offers various resources for students interested in the field that incorporates both the study of design and art. The studio art department offers a three-term sequence in architecture, and the art history, engineering, history, geography and environmental studies departments also offer architecture-related coursework...

Jack Wilson

...Studio art professor Jack Wilson, who has worked for the College’s planning and design office for 25 years, agreed that a liberal arts education is the best education for a budding architect.

“Architects are real generalists,” he said. “They have to know about a lot of different kinds of things in order to practice architecture.”

Wilson, who teaches courses in drawing and architectural design as well as a class in integrated design at the Thayer School of Engineering, said a balanced liberal arts curriculum provides a strong foundation in an unpredictable world.

“You become superbly adaptable and responsive and that’s the most you can ask for from an education,” he said...

...Emily Yen ’10, a first year student in the Rhode Island School of Design’s masters of architecture program, said that attending Dartmouth allowed her to pursue opportunities outside of architecture, including learning to whitewater kayak, volunteering in the Amazon and spending an off-term in Ecuador.

Had Yen completed a bachelor’s of architecture at RISD, she said she believes her undergraduate experience would have instead been dominated by time spent in the architecture studio.

“I graduated from Dartmouth as not the greatest architect, artist or engineer, but as a well-rounded person who is prepared to approach difficulties, leadership positions and Rubik’s Cube problem solving and manage my time and enjoyment,” she said.

Yen, who majored in studio art and minored in engineering at the College, took courses in both disciplines before determining that a studio art major with a concentration in architecture would best help her create a portfolio for graduate school and build a solid foundation in conceptual problem-solving.

Seeing the world through a liberal arts lens has helped keep Yen open-minded, even after graduation.

“To me, architecture is, in a way, the definition of liberal arts; everything feeds into another,” she said. “The more information and resources you can tap into, the stronger the concept.”

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