Return to: Graduate School of Architecture: Departments/Programs
Director: Manuel Bailo Esteve PH.D
The urban design certificate program is open to graduate students in any department of the School of Architecture who to pursue an interdisciplinary program that focuses on the design of land in urban areas. The four graduate departments – Architecture, Architectural History, Landscape Architecture and Urban & Environmental Planning, each offer a unique contribution to the program. The certificate is structured to synthesize concepts, methods and strengths across disciplines into new approaches to the design and planning of cities and settlements.
Urban design certificate students have an opportunity to closely work with an emerging new reality. When defining the “oblique function,” cultural critic and urbanist Paul Virilio describes a diagonal journey to discover the ‘inclined plane,’ which he sees as an alternative lens for examining the urban condition. Rather than reducing urban design to the placement and massing of buildings–the vertical line of the skyscrapers of Manhattan, or the horizontal configurations of suburbia, this program explores the latent ” inclined plane” in the blurry, fluid and mutable space in-between urbanism, cultural history|theory, architecture and landscape. The certificate program guides students to explore the intersection of these disciplines with the expectation that the result will be greater than the sum of each when practiced independently. Students will be expected to view the boundaries of their professions as an open space for exploration, and an oblique place of different intersections.
Energy and History
Participants in this certificate are asked to assume the cities of the future will respond coherently to environmental challenges. Urban growth cannot continue unchecked without a clear strategy for responding to climate change and the difficulty of generating sufficient clean energy. This program proposes to use the need for energy as a tool for discovering how we can design new cities. Energy can help to establish new relationships between the land and the city.
It is assumed that design and planning professionals need to understand the past in order to imagine the future. Students will work with faculty to investigate the histories and memories of a place, as well as the environmental and architectural actions that constitute a powerful catalyst of our contemporary urbanity. Students will invent new design strategies and tactics as much as design finished objects. By developing new open systems, students will be encouraged to understand the role of the ephemeral in the design process, while also keeping in mind the power of the material dimensions of the city. The certificate program will focus on discovering the new tools of urban design. The students will learn how they can respond during this unstable, delicate and provocative contemporaneous time period when our cities need to find a new relationship with the land, from the scale of site to that of the territory.
Students graduating with the urban design certificate will acquire the skills which will better position them to obtain work in private firms or public agencies as urban designers.
The Certificate program is open to graduate students in any of the School of Architecture’s four departments. Satisfactory completion of the 21 credit hour program leads to the urban design certificate.. Graduate students in the School will normally be able to complete the program requirements and earn the certificate within the time required for their graduate degree program. It can be accomplished during the standard length of a professional degree by taking the urban design courses as one’s elective credits; or the certificate can be completed over an additional semester.
The curriculum for the urban design certificate is comprised of nine credits in three required core courses; six credits in an urban design studio as designated by the program director and six credits of elective coursework.
Core courses (required)
3 credits PLAN 6860 - Cities + Nature
3 credits ARCH 5610 - Urban Land
3 credits LAR 5210 - Adv Topics in Contemporary Theory
6 credits ALAR 7010 / ALAR 8010 selected from options issued each year
6 credits elective courses – selected from list issued each year and semester
For graduate students enrolled in the MArch, MLA or dual degree programs, there are no prerequisites and the core courses will be taken following the curricular sequence of each program.
For graduate students enrolled in other programs at the School of Architecture, the enrollment in the Urban Design Certificate has the following prerequisites:
- A previous degree in architecture, landscape architecture or urban design comparable to the minimum of the UVa MArch Path 2.5 or MLA Path 2.0
- A studio background composed by the Summer Design Institute and a Foundation Studio in Urban Design. This Foundation Studio can be taken during the first year in order to take the ALAR 7010/8010 Research Studio in the second year.
Prior to enrolling in the Certificate, these students must present their graphic portfolio to the director of the program.
The content of the required courses will supplement the required design studio by providing an overview of the history, theories and practices of urban development. Each year, the director will issue a list of approved studios and elective courses that can be used to fulfill the requirements. Elective courses allow students to pursue individual interests in greater detail and offer the possibility to benefit from the breadth of expertise found within the School of Architecture and the University. The elective coursework will be selected from courses taught in all four departments in the School of Architecture, and courses in other Schools and departments around the University. The program is also enhanced by annual lectures and symposia offered within the School and at the University