Mission and Philosophy
The mission of the Department of Architecture is to educate design professionals relevant to the metropolis of tomorrow by constructing an environment where general, architectural and urban issues are investigated in depth. While acquiring the fundamental skills and knowledge base of the discipline, students are taught to think critically about architecture and the built environment, as a situated environmental and social practice, and to engage in debates about the opportunities and dilemmas presented to it by transformations in society, culture, technology, climate and materials.
Temple University is located in Philadelphia, one of America’s great cities. Built environment design practice in the city in recent years is transformed by forces of global restructuring in ways comparable with that of other mid-sized post industrial cities around the world. Our pedagogy and research are framed by this urban and professional condition. The city is used as a primary laboratory for deep critical engagement, architectural investigation, operative transformation and application to global opportunities.
Within the Tyler School of Art, under the umbrella of architecture we have degree programs in Architecture, Facility Management, and Architectural Preservation. Central to work in the department is the recognition of architecture as a material practice, in which acts of design and acts of making extend into one another. These include drawing, model building, reading and writing, fabrication and building. This locates the department’s laboratories – studios, woodshop, digital and fabrication labs – at the heart of its ethos and pedagogy. In addition, the department promotes research into architecture’s material and technical properties. These include conventional materials and technologies as well as emerging materials and new computational and fabrication techniques.
Fundamental to engaging in design of the built environment is speculative practice that operates on the real to know and transform it. Design is the core to all of our programs. All undergraduate students enter into the foundation level where beginning design and representational skills are taught. Undergraduate students enter into degree programs in the junior year and concentrate on areas of expertise. For Architectural Design, students continue to address design as a core area, engaging in comprehensive and urban studios, provides a critical environment for architectural speculation. Students in the architectural design track are prepared to continue into an M Arch professional degree program. For Facility Management, student learning is centered on integrated practice for this undergraduate professional program. For Architectural Preservation, student learning is centered on analysis of the environment, addressing the historical condition of the built environment first-hand with parallel academic investigation. Each degree track in the Architecture Department is inquiry based, with opportunities for design and research supported by the study of theoretical, historical, technical and professional phenomena relevant to contemporary architectural and urban practice.
Finally, the department operates from the position that built environment professions are by nature based in collaborative practice. Collaborations with other centers of excellence for teaching and research in the university are encouraged. Pedagogy and research are connected to real conditions through partnerships or collaborations with other urban agents eg. planners, developers, political activists, researchers, fabricators, artists and other professionals. In this way, architectural education ensures its relevance to the transforming world of practice. Applied research and consultancy are encouraged.