A tradition of excellence
The Department of Architecture’s century-strong traditions of drawing, model-making, community outreach/service learning, and hands-on construction prepare students to explore innovative models of architectural practice as well as non-traditional approaches, including design-build and digital fabrication.
The award-winning faculty are active in professional practice, research and service projects, and national and international competitions, as well as scholarly activities. Thanks to a rigorous curriculum with numerous opportunities to engage in professional projects and work with external stakeholders, graduates are prepared for wherever their design degrees may take them.
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Department of Architecture degree programs offer concentrated inquiry, research, study, and pedagogy spanning four key areas of focus, or research clusters: Culture, Society, Space; Design Computing; Material Matters; and Sustainability. Students will engage broadly with each of these areas, as well as selecting a specific cluster for primary course work and scholarship.
Culture, Society, Space (CSS)
The Culture, Society, Space (CSS) research cluster examines how built spaces – from the artifact to the urban – affect those who interact with them and, conversely, how cultural, societal and disciplinary values shape the spaces we create. Projects can address individual buildings, public spaces, communities, or cities, as well as typological, institutional and wider forms of inquiry. Research methods include formal, theoretical, historic/historiographical, sociological and systemic analyses. Studies may focus on spaces and ideas as forms of cultural expression, the people who produce and use them, and/or the ideological forces in which they operate, including all aspects of their sustainability.
Design Computing (DC)
The Design Computing (DC) research cluster offers students critical knowledge and advanced skills in the use of digital technologies in architecture and related design fields, especially in the areas of visualization, generative systems, and fabrication. By critically examining contemporary discourse on digital media and architecture, this cluster examines the impact of emerging digital technologies on creative processes in shaping our built environment, and investigates how they can be productively utilized in sustainable design, interdisciplinary collaboration, and fabrication. The work of faculty and students in this group spans research on immersive environments, critical studies of design technologies, software development, shape grammars, parametric design, and innovative uses of numerically controlled devices.
Material Matters (MM)
The Material Matters (MM) research cluster provides students with opportunities to delve into the interaction of materials and processes. With research ranging from material properties exploration to applied process-based design, this cluster encompasses a wide range of creative interests that find common ground in the power of material – the generator and substance of design.
Research in the MM cluster is supported by a collection of faculty members whose work focuses on craft traditions, industrial production, tooling and skills transmission, bricolage and the material imagination, material memory, design-build, and the reuse and restoration of buildings. Student and faculty engagement with Penn State’s considerable materials/making resources in Architecture, Fine Arts, and Engineering is a hallmark of this cluster. MM – as a community of scholars, architects, and designers who fabricate, build, un-build, and innovate – stimulates new knowledge through shared experience in an environment of creative innovation, hands-on exploration, and critical making.
The Sustainability (SUS) research cluster investigates architecture’s potential to improve the quality of life for current and future societies around the globe, addressing issues of natural resource consumption, pollution prevention, and organizational dependencies. Our faculty address aesthetic, technical, economic, and social issues in projects that cover multiple scales. From design processes, historical and theoretical aspects of sustainability, material reclamation and reuse, to identifying social structures preventing sustainable practice, this research cluster offers a comprehensive view of sustainability that promotes interdisciplinary integration. Faculty bring both practitioner and academic experience to their investigations, producing generalizable knowledge that can also be applied in the professional practice of architecture.
My Penn State education has influenced my career by developing me into a global citizen, through exposure to different people, resources, industries, cultures, and places.
Samantha JosaphatB.Arch. in Architecture 2012
Samantha Josaphat is an architect and the founder of STUDIO 397 Architecture. Part of the mere 0.3 percent of black female architects registered in the United States, she is the 397th living black female architect to be licensed. Samantha entered the Penn State Architecture program in 2007, and by 2012, she had traveled to ten countries, become a member of the Arts and Architecture Student Council, and founded the Penn State student chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS). While at Penn State she built herself a valuable network of resources that continues to shape her path to success. Samantha is the 2019 president of the New York chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects. Learn more about how Samantha’s firm is impacting the narrative of black female architects in this video.
Architecture and Landscape Architecture Library
Computational Textiles Lab
Stuckeman Family Building
Assistant Professor of Architecture and Engineering Design
Fulbright scholar, TED Global Fellow, and Africa 4 Tech Digital Champion, DK Osseo-Asare is assistant professor of architecture and engineering design, facilitating collaboration among the Stuckeman School, the School of Engineering Design, Technology and Professional Programs, and the Materials Research Institute. He is also the director of the Humanitarian Materials Lab (HuMatLab), affiliate to the Materials Matters and Stuckeman Center for Design Computing research clusters, and associate director of Penn State’s Alliance for Education, Science, Engineering and Design with Africa (AESEDA). Outside the University, he is cofounder and principal of architecture and integrated design at Low Design Office (LOWDO), based in Austin, Texas, and Tema, Ghana.
News from A&A
Architecture professor awarded faculty fellowship to study in Israel
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Ute Poerschke, professor and associate architecture department head for graduate education in the College of Arts and Architecture's Stuckeman School, was awarded a faculty fellowship by
Recent alum earns American Institute of Architects Medal for Academic Excellence
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Puja Bhagat, who graduated from Penn State in May with a bachelor of architecture from the College of Arts and Architecture’s Stuckeman School, was named aRead More