Architecture, Facilities and Preservation programs

Tyler's Architecture program focuses on design in the contexts of culture, technology, and stewardship of the built and natural environment with undergraduate degrees in Architecture, Facilities Management, and Historic Preservation, and a professional Master of Architecture degree. 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 program engages the city, exploring and addressing the ethical and social dimensions of architecture and the built environment.  Through this engagement, it develops an ethos of responsibility in students, preparing them to become effective leaders in practices and discourses that surround 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.  Within our curricula, they participate in professional endeavors with 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 and Architecture, 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 program 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 program 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 Philadelphia Architecture and Design College Fair
The Philadelphia Architecture and Design College Fair is a great opportunity for high school and college students, parents, teachers and counselors to learn about programs in architecture and the environmental design disciplines. Details about this year’s event can be found here.

Lecture Series and Seminars

  • April 10, 2019
  • 4:00pm

Flavio Janches is a practicing architect, researcher, and professor of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of Buenos Aires, A...

  • March 26, 2019
  • 5:00pm

Rachel Goffe, Ph.D., R.A. is a human geographer and a licensed architect. Her research focuses on the relationships among the built envir...

  • March 14, 2019
  • 5:00pm

Dave Rupp is an accomplished architect who has developed a distinguished career in project management and construction management of comp...

Alumni Spotlight

Chris Kulp

As an architecture student at Temple University, Chris focused his thesis on a project in Haiti following the devastating earthquake that struck the country in 2010.  That experience solidified a deep-rooted conviction to use his professional career to serve people in need.  After a few years of conventional practice in Philadelphia, he sought further training through a masters of International Cooperation in Sustainable Emergency Architecture at the International University of Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain.  His research during his masters focused on participatory design approaches in development and humanitarian contexts. Now as a licensed architect, he is currently working for a non-profit architecture firm based in Montana called 100 Fold Studio that partners with other non-profits (both in the USA and internationally) by providing high-quality design services that increase their impact in the communities they serve. While doing this work, 100 Fold focuses on providing internships and fellowships for young designers who are working towards getting their professional license and feel called to work on this type of projects. More

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