Tyler Architecture focuses on design in the contexts of culture, technology, and stewardship of the built and natural environment.  Its programs stress critical inquiry and innovation as part of the creative process, teaching students how to intervene in the physical world through carefully considered acts of making. The Department engages the city, exploring and addressing the ethical and social dimensions of architecture and the urban environment.  Through this engagement, it seeks to develop an ethos of responsibility in the students, preparing them to become effective leaders in practices and discourses surrounding the complex global and local issues of our time.


Areas of focus:


Philadelphia and urban contexts

Philadelphia offers rich opportunities for learning and creative practice. The city has a long and distinctive architecture and planning history and a sustained legacy of innovation. A center for design excellence, Philadelphia is in the forefront of urban design, addressing critical issues facing the contemporary city at large.

Philadelphia’s legacy: We engage our context and its history. We find inspiration in our layered past –from our Enlightenment city plan and historic monuments to the renowned work of the mid-century modern Philadelphia School to the ongoing development of Philadelphia’s green city initiatives.

Urban contexts: In our programs urban issues are a primary driver of design practice. We engage responsively and creatively in current topics of postindustrial cities and needs for the environment as a whole - green building and sustainability, social equity and access, health and well-being, urban living and the quality of life.

Philadelphia futures: Our programs address larger questions of making in an urban environment. We recognize the importance of Philadelphia as a site of industrial innovation. In parallel with practice models that are currently emerging, we focus on the opportunities that arise through the use of new building and design technologies.

Global opportunities: Students majoring in architecture, facilities management, and architectural preservation study abroad at urban campuses in Rome and Tokyo and participate in global endeavors with international partners locally, nationally, and internationally.

Design and materiality

We understand that materiality, space, light, and dimension define architecture and place. In design studios we teach fluency with these physical elements as students seek to create humane and inspiring environments.

Ways of making: As part of the Tyler School of Art, our curricula address a range of material practices, media, and scales of fabrication. We encourage digital, physical, and hybrid methods of design and visualization that emphasize an iterative process and experimentation.

Ways of designing: We recognize that the transformations of the built environment are impacted by design and planning methodologies. By working at multiples scales and with various methods of representation students are encouraged to fully explore their ideas. Here acts of design and acts of making extend into one another.

Ways of design-thinking: our programs are focused on design and materiality as a primary mode of critical inquiry. We recognize that design is best served when it begins with knowledge and critical thinking. Our curricula recognize the importance of inquiry and stress the role of theory and analytical methods of knowledge production.

Leadership in a changing world

We recognize the multiple modes of leadership practiced by built environment professionals and embrace different forms of leadership in a changing world. As a faculty we present different facets of leadership to our students.

Collaboration: Architecture and allied disciplines are collaborative practices. In our programs pedagogy and research are applied and connected to real conditions through partnerships with external entities and among university disciplines. In this way, architectural education ensures its relevance to the transforming world of practice and graduates are better able to navigate a complex professional world.

Advocacy and Social Practices: We recognize that architecture has a primary role in the making of places aimed at improving environments. In curricula and research, the department addresses the complex socio-economic, environmental, cultural and political dynamics of the contemporary city and explores opportunities for design in a world impacted by globalization. The department is committed to graduating students who through their practice, will advocate for ethical design in the public realm.

Diversity: Our faculty represents the diverse roles and multiple ways to engage in design leadership, Understanding that a community with professional diversity presents a way of leveraging leadership, we are fully committed to supporting students and alumni in their intellectual aspirations and careers We recognize the diverse cultures and learning styles of our students and consider this form of diversity as an important factor in the future of architectural practice.

The Architecture Department offers three undergraduate degrees, a Bachelor of Science in Architecture, a Bachelor of Science in Facilities Management, and a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Preservation. These three programs share a common two-year foundation studies program. Upon successful completion of this preparatory program, students may enter one of three programs: the BS Facilities Management professional program, the BS Architectural Preservation, or the BS Architecture pre-professional program. 

The Architecture Department also offers a two year Master of Architecture (M Arch). When earned sequentially, the four-year pre-professional BS Arch and the two-year professional M Arch comprise a National Architecture Accreditation Board (NAAB, accredited professional education. Holders of the M Arch may be admitted, upon completion of postgraduate internship, to the architectural licensing examination offered in each state, through which they may become registered architects.

Upcoming Events


  • Architecture Professor Clifton Fordham Explores Design Education at National Conference

    “Is this building good enough?” At this spring’s National Conference on the Beginning Design Student, Assistant Professor Clifton Fordham started his presentation, Des...

  • Architecture Professor Emeritus Brooke Harrington's Research Joins Aga Khan Collection at MIT

    Image left: Welcoming party in Jance, Makedonia; right: Helpful sketch critics in Strpče, Kosovo. In March Professor Emeritus Brooke Harrington and his collaborator ...

  • Architecture Professor Sneha Patel Presents at the National Conference on the Beginning Design Student

    Sneha Patel, Assistant Professor in the Tyler Architecture Department, provided two lectures at the National Conference on the Beginning Design Student (NCBDS) at the ...

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    Denise Thompson

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