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Architectural Studies

Students visit Mechanics Hall.

Architectural history considers the artistic narratives and cultural contexts of the built environment around the globe, from prehistory to the present. It explores how humans have built and shaped our environment, and questions how those historical choices impact our world in 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 issues by investigating the history, theory, 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. For example, 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 the built environment give meaning to our lives?

We all inhabit space, and by better understanding its design, we gain insight both into other societies and ourselves.

Learn more about the Architectural Studies Program.