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Architecture program ranks high on lists

Steve Kerins | Thursday, August 31, 2006

Two architecture journals recently ranked the University’s School of Architecture as a top program – the only undergraduate program recognized in both the DesignIntellegence and New Urban News surveys.

Notre Dame’s School of Architecture ranked twelfth among more than 75 accredited undergraduate programs nationwide in the DesignIntelligence poll. The School ranked second in the New Urban News poll, which focuses on input from architects interested in livable and pedestrian-friendly cities.

Faculty and administrators are justifiably pleased with the program’s standing this year, said Dean Michael Lykoudis – although high rankings are nothing new to the School of Architecture.

The School “ranks pretty well, and it has ranked fairly well in the last four or five years,” he said.

When ranking programs, DesignIntelligence and New Urban News typically consider “which schools best prepare their graduates for the profession,” Lykoudis said, although they do not reveal which of the graduates’ skills are most important for higher rankings.

Lykoudis cited several strengths of Notre Dame’s Architecture program – including avant-garde emphases in the curriculum – that may have positively influenced the rankings.

“We’re looking at how we design cities and how we re-stitch them together after decades of suburban sprawl,” he said, “[as well as] issues of the environment, [and] issues of resource depletion.”

The program’s well-known focus on classical architecture likely also played a role, Lykoudis said.

“How we design our cities and how we build our buildings will have a tremendous impact on how we go forward,” he said. “Our classical curriculum … looks at the core of how the world has worked for centuries and how it will continue to work.”

Despite its recent achievements, the School of Architecture is not content to rest on its laurels.

“[There’s] more work to be done with environmental issues,” Lykoudis said. “[We’re] building … a concentration on preservation and a concentration on interiors, and we’re also looking at some interdisciplinary concentrations.”

Lykoudis also said most students who graduate from the School of Architecture do seek jobs in the field, which is one of the criteria on which the journals’ rankings are based. And most of those students receive multiple job offers, he said.

While Lykoudis said high rankings “instill a sense of pride” in faculty and students, the School of Architecture’s undergraduate program is already operating at or beyond capacity – meaning this latest recognition is unlikely to increase enrollment.

This development mirrors recent growth in the University’s graduate program in Architecture as well as a diminished acceptance rate for transfer students.