« 2011 America’s Best Architecture Schools by James P. Cramer
Stepping into a successful career in architectural practice begins with education. Norman Foster, a Yale University graduate, said that two strong influences have contributed to his success and resilience over the years. They are, first, the people he met in school and during his formative professional practice years and, second, the time he spent in college. Foster has enjoyed a unique and storied career, but parts of his experience are common to all architects.
At university, students’ experiences can significantly enhance or diminish their interests as well as their likelihood for future success. This gives schools both tremendous opportunity and huge responsibility, since what happens in them has the potential to change the careers of individuals as well as the architecture profession as a whole. This is one response to a question I’ve been called on to answer many times since publishing the first “America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools” rankings in DesignIntelligence 12 years ago: Why rank schools?
Another answer is given by the architecture firms that employ recent graduates. If the purpose of a professional degree is to prepare students for professional practice, then how well are degree-granting institutions performing the task? Ongoing research by the Design Futures Council and Greenway Group shows that architecture firms and related professional practice careers are being deconstructed and reinvented at an accelerated pace. Beyond the economy, for example, the profession is being shaped by profound changes in technology, such as building information modeling. Can educational institutions keep pace with the changing needs of 21st-century practices? And so we ask in our survey, “In your firm’s hiring experience in the past five years, which schools are best preparing students for success in the architecture profession?” »
(Source: Architectural Record)