T. Kelly Wilson, associate professor in Indiana University (IU) Bloomington’s newly formed School of Art, Architecture + Design, has described the university’s new program as groundbreaking and deeply rooted in career building principals.
The university is enrolling students in its new Master of Architecture degree program and classes will start in the fall.
Wilson, who came to IU six years ago from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, said he loved being able to draw on his knowledge from more than three decades of work in the worlds of higher education, art and architecture to help mold a program that is both groundbreaking and deeply rooted in career-building principles.
“It’s incredibly exciting,” Wilson is quoted as saying in a News at IU Bloomington article. “To have a university and a city — the city of Columbus, Indiana, an internationally recognized center for architecture — both possess a spirit of experimentation and willingness to work together is such a wonderful opportunity.”
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) rates Columbus as the sixth most architecturally significant city in the United States, and city and IU leaders worked side by side to develop the new program, the published report says.
“We have created a Master of Architecture program in the School of Art, Architecture + Design and in collaboration with the community of Columbus that reimagines the links between art, architecture and the city, and encourages students to become innovative, civic-minded and imaginative world thinkers,” said the school’s founding dean Peg Faimon.
Wilson said the program is distinctive because coursework is built in separate yet parallel tracks addressing fine art and architecture.
“We’re requiring our students in the master’s program to spend the same credit hours of every semester learning to see, feel and think like an artist as much as they are an architect,” he said. “The idea is that if you do these two things simultaneously for three years in a parallel track, students will create these links between the two by their talent, labor and creativity. I believe this will give our students the opportunity to find their own voice and originality.”
He said as well, the program is academically rigorous and will graduate fully trained architects capable of competing on an international scale.
Another distinguishing aspect of the new program is something known as the “Nomadic Studio,” a learning adventure that will take third-year students on a tour of architecturally significant cities around the world, the IU article says.
They’ll learn to analyze and interpret space and buildings filtered through the lenses of time and culture, Wilson said, while developing collegial networks across the globe, including utilizing IU’s Global Gateway Network offices in China, Europe and India.
A third aspect will further tighten the bonds between the city of Columbus and the new program: Students in IU’s program will collaborate with leaders to design and execute new building projects for the city.
“We won’t just be talking about them,” Wilson said. “We’ll be doing them.”
The new architecture program will offer a 50 percent fellowship for the entire three-year program for the first cohort.