Portland State University
School of Architecture
Portland State University is a major public institution of higher education in Oregon and is located in downtown Portland. Architecture programs focus on urban, issue-led design investigations through creative making, hands-on material exploration and fabrication, in a context of sustainable practices.
Portland State University, a nationally acclaimed leader in community-based learning, is situated in the Portland metropolitan region with a population of approximately 2 million. The University was established as the Vanport Extension Center in 1946 to serve returning World War II GIs. In 1955, the Vanport Extension Center became Portland State College, a four-year, degree granting institution. Graduate studies were added in 1961, doctoral programs began in 1968, and the institution was granted university status in 1969. Portland State University has close to 30,000 enrolled students. The University's position in the heart of Oregon's economic and cultural center enables PSU students and faculty to exercise scholarly investigation in the context of multiple business and community organizations. Portland State's colleges and schools offer over 120 undergraduate, master's, and doctoral degrees, as well as graduate certificates and continuing education. The PSU campus is a cityscape occupying a 50-acre area centered on the South Park Blocks in downtown Portland. The areas immediately surrounding the campus contain private student housing, shops, student services, and restaurants. The University's motto, "Let knowledge serve the city," is comprehensively embodied by a continuing record of civic engagement through its educational programs and research. In particular PSU has embarked on an institution-wide focus on sustainability fostered, in part, by a $25 million grant from the Miller Foundation to support the creation of the Institute of Sustainable Solutions that is energizing inter-disciplinary research collaborations between the School of Architecture and the internationally recognized PSU urban studies and engineering programs.
The PSU Architecture program engages students in the fascinating creative questions that pertain to the making of architecture. The program develops the creative identity of each student while nurturing civic responsibility, critical judgment and the representational and technical ability to translate ideas into plausible architectural works. This lies at the core of an educational experience that provides a rich initiation into the world of architectural practice and preparation for a career as a licensed professional. The heart of the program resides in the architecture design studio and is nourished by the accompanying lecture and seminar courses that bring focused study in the humanities, technology, and the profession. Alongside a progressive attitude to design process and theoretical speculation, the program participates in the advancement of knowledge in contemporary issues and technologies of sustainable urban living and environmental stewardship. The educational emphasis of the school encourages students to recognize the value of creative engagement with the prevailing realities of the city as a primary means of cultural transformation, and to perceive Portland as an "urban laboratory" for experimental investigations of contemporary human issues. This takes place through interaction and dialogue with the communities at large and by continual acts of interpretive making with diverse media at multiple scales, including full-size fabrication. In giving place to human situations architecture bears the responsibility of being the most public of the arts and it cannot be practiced meaningfully without a conversation with the community at large. At PSU the studio classes, in particular, are sustained by an engagement beyond the university to the life-world shared with urban cohabitants, including direct interaction with the architectural practice community through adjunct professors, critics, guest speakers and advisers. This fosters imaginative responses to the challenge of 'what ought to be' in the face of 'what is'. The final year of the Master of Architecture enables students to engage deeply with the cultural ramifications of urban situations through an individually developed study agenda leading to a sustained exercise in discursive and creative research and culminating in the Graduate Design Thesis.
The School of Architecture offers a 4-year BA/BS Major in Architecture and a 2-year NAAB accredited Master of Architecture degree within an integrated 4+2 model. Students completing the full 4+2 professional program track would receive two degrees:(1) either a Bachelor of Arts or Science, Major in Architecture and (2) a Master of Architecture. We also offer a 3-year track Master of Architecture for students with undergraduate degrees in any discipline wishing to pursue a professional education in architecture. The undergraduate program is for students who will pursue the two-year Master of Architecture degree required for licensing as an architect. It is also an excellent foundation for students who will enter other related fields, including design, planning, and construction. The 2-year Master's program is intended for students who have completed a pre-professional undergraduate degree in architecture, from PSU or elsewhere, and who intend to become licensed architects. The Master's program is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). We also offer a Graduate Certificate in Public Interest Design supported by the Center for Public Interest Design, a research unit within the school focused on design for underserved communities. PSU's School of Architecture is one of 13 schools across the nation approved by NCARB to offer an Integrated Path to Licensure. The school has created a Research-based Design Initiative in building science promoting cross-disciplinary teaching and research in all aspects of building performance utilizing both the Green Building Research Laboratory and the Research-based Design Teaching Laboratory.
- Art & Design
- Building Technologies
- Community Design
- Ecological Design
- Graphics And Visualization
- History, Theory, Criticism