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Architectural Studies

Understanding and assessing the process and impact of the human-built environment is a key question of the 21st century. What kind of world have we built, and is it sustainable? How does architecture not only reflect but also condition our values and responsibilities to each other and to our environment? The interdisciplinary program in Architectural Studies at Holy Cross draws attention to these and other issues by investigating the history and practice of building around the world.

Responsible citizenship — a primary emphasis of Jesuit, liberal arts education — is an underlying principle of Architectural Studies. More than structural form or aesthetic shape, architecture is a true liberal art. It is a transformative agent informed by politics and economics that shapes history, society and culture.

The Architectural Studies program at Holy Cross explores many far-reaching questions: If building is a necessity, how can we construct in harmony with our existing natural and human-made surroundings? How do we understand the production and use of architecture in its historical and cultural specificity as well as its global contexts and universal aims? How is building an expression of power, and how does our built environment give meaning to our lives? We all inhabit space and by better understanding its design, we gain insight into different societies and ourselves.

Program Highlights

  • Students interested in pursuing a professional career in one of the design fields (e.g., architecture, architectural history, landscape architecture, urban planning, historic preservation) may choose to develop their particular thematic focus through a customized selection of courses.
  • In their senior year, majors participate in the Concentration Seminar in which they complete a capstone project, such as a research paper or a studio project generated by an internship in a professional office or government agency.
  • In addition to courses offered at Holy Cross, students may opt to take courses at other local colleges, architecture summer schools, or in study abroad programs. Many students have taken technical design courses at nearby WPI, or have attended the Career Discovery program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, which serves as a gateway to professional architecture programs.