Master's program in architecture to start next fall in Columbus

A new master’s program in architecture will be offered in the fall of 2018 in Columbus through IU Bloomington's School of Art, Architecture + Design. The new program is founded on reintegrating architecture with principles of art. 

The new program will aim to do something architecture hasn’t done in a long time, Director of Graduate Studies at Columbus T. Kelly Wilson said. 

“We want to train the architect to see as an artist,” Wilson said. “We want them to think with visual ideas and to seek out and use a visual process for cultivating order. Visual ideas are not like analytical ones.”

Academically, architecture is often taught in a studio-dominate way, learning in the classroom and through models, Wilson said. 

During the Renaissance age, no one was trained as an architect but instead as an artist, and the buildings they left behind are a testament to how they saw the world, Wilson said. 

That is how they want to train the architects of the future, instead of training the students to fit their design into a industry-specific format, Wilson said.  

The Columbus program will offer a nomadic studio. Most schools of architecture take students abroad and spend most of their time indoors working on studio projects. The Columbus program intends to spend all of the time outside, analyzing the streets and the spaces, Wilson said. 

“We’ll do this in a daisy chain way,” Wilson said. “We’ll spend two weeks in a city, drawing it every day and learning to analyze it, then pick and move to the next city to show students that the world is their studio.”

When students are not traveling, they will reside and study in Columbus. The program is accepting applications for a group of 20 to 30 students.

“Columbus, Indiana, has many attractive resources that made it a good place to start this program,” Wilson said.

Two resources include the town’s collection of modern buildings to study and analyze and a large 3-D printer. 

Columbus is also what Wilson calls a scalable city. It is large enough to have all the institutions, aspirations and conflicts of bigger cities, but it is small enough to know who was involved in the design. 

The city also participates in the Columbus Way initiative, in which private citizens and public entities combine resources and work together to solve problems within the community. 

The Cummins, a Fortune 500 engine designer and manufacture located in Columbus, and Indiana University Center for Art and Design recently partnered to create a large 3-D printed sculpture. Wilson said he has never seen that kind of collaboration before.  

“It is more effective than the creation of laws to cover urban growth,” Wilson said. “This is a very powerful thing, and we should teach this method.” 

The city of Columbus will also be featured in the movie "Columbus" which will highlight the town's architecture. "Columbus" premieres at the IU Cinema Sept. 15.  

A previous version of this story said the program would be offered through IU-Purdue University Columbus and misspelled the name of T. Kelly Wilson. The IDS regrets these errors.

Libby Grossman

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