UB blazes academic trail with new program in digital architecture
By PATRICIA DONOVAN
An exciting, new dual master's-degree program offered by the School of Architecture and Planning exemplifies the interdisciplinary exchange provoked by the effect of the digital technology revolution on the field of architecture.
Kent Kleinman, professor and chair of the school's Department of Architecture, said the new program, which is being offered this semester, was developed because of the ways digital media have transformed the traditional means by which architects design buildings and have opened entirely new territories in the field.
"Basic fluency in computer-aided design and drafting is no longer optional in architectural practice," he added. "In fact, an ability to manipulate graphic, animation and virtual-reality applications is rapidly becoming an integral part of the education of the architect.
"This program is only the second graduate architecture program in the country to offer such an integrated degree," Kleinman said, "and it reinforces our school's growing reputation as a progressive, technologically advanced design program and reflects a growing intellectual and creative affinity between the fields of media study and architecture."
Brian Carter, dean of the school, said its students "have expressed a rapidly expanding interest for a program like this. There is a critical need on the part of architecture professionals for expertise in both architecture and digital media."
"Most architectural practices," Carter noted, "have incorporated computer-based modes for the production of project documentation for the distribution of project data among dispersed consultants. However, above and beyond even those changes in the roles they traditionally have played, architects now are confronted by new domains, such as the design and construction of interactive environments and virtual worlds, the use of media-based pedagogical tools, computer models and analyses, and computer-numerically-controlled (CNC) manufacturing processes."
Participants will be required to complete the 64-credit requirements of the two-year M.Arch. track, plus 42 graduate credit hours of coursework in the Department of Media Study in the College of Arts and Sciences. Upon completion of a two-year, six-semester program, graduates will receive a dual master of fine arts degree in digital media and a master's degree in architecture.
Applicants must hold a pre-professional undergraduate degree in architecture, that is, a B.S. or B.A. with architecture major; meet admission standards in both departments, and complete thesis work in both departments.
Roy Roussel, professor and chair of the Department of Media Study, points out that the new program "will employ the excellent technologies, equipment and faculty members available in the Department of Media Study."
Architecture faculty members Shahin Vassigh and Omar Khan have been central to the development of the new program and Media Study faculty members who will teach in the program include Josephine Anstey and Marc Bohlen, both assistant professors of media study.
UB offers the only accredited professional degree in architecture in the SUNY system.