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Introduction

The Institute provides students with an interest in architecture, landscape, and urban design the opportunity to participate in an intensive, one-semester design studio in New York City. The Institute emphasizes the exploration of architecture as a mode of cultural production, and aims to develop students’ understanding of the built environment’s engagement with broader social, political, and environmental systems.

Students come to the Institute from a variety of backgrounds, and with different goals in mind. Some have little or no prior experience in architecture or design, but may be contemplating graduate studies in architecture or related fields. What all participants share is the desire to explore the impact of design and space-making in an increasingly complex, urbanized society.

The Institute grew out of the pedagogical branch of the famed Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies (1967–1984), which was open to students from a consortium of distinguished liberal arts colleges and provided an architectural education as a supplement to traditional liberal-arts studies. It’s with a similar spirit, and the support of the original Institute’s founders, that today’s Institute is dedicated to accommodating a diversity of interests, and to providing both the physical and pedagogical space for students to explore their individual objectives in a supportive studio environment.

Over the past ten years, the Institute’s graduates have shown themselves to be well positioned for advanced study or practice in architecture and related disciplines. Of those who have gone on to study architecture formally, many have found success in the most prestigious graduate design schools in the country; still others have made important contributions to the field. For those who choose not to go on to a career in design, the Institute’s program offers a unique hands-on learning experience, and a vital opportunity to explore the ways in which the design of urban environments impacts our lives today.

“I can honestly say that I’ve learned more from this program about architectural design, about the creative process in general, about developing a project, and about myself as a student and a creative thinker than I have in almost any other educational setting.”     - Emily Wexler, Vassar College, Summer 2012