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UA undergrad architecture program ranked 12th in nation

Citizen Staff Writer



The University of Arizona’s College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture was recognized by DesignIntelligence in December as one of America’s best architecture and design undergraduate schools.

The Georgia-based magazine ranked the undergraduate program 12th among 120 public and private accredited design schools across the United States.

Nader Chalfoun, a professor and coordinator of design and energy conservation, said the college integrates sustainability in its coursework.

Coursework is in four major areas of study: history, design communication, building technology and critical practice.

“It makes us very proud and it crowns our efforts in sustainability,” Chalfoun said.

Colleges were ranked by professionals, deans and students.

The rankings were compiled by the Design Futures Council, which puts out the DesignIntelligence magazine.

The council is made up of design professionals who follow trends in architecture and try to determine where the field is headed.

Chalfoun was also proud of several students who have won awards in national sustainable design competitions, including the Leading Edge Student Design Competition.

In that competition, students had to design a building that was energy efficient and aesthetically pleasing.

UA won the competition in 2006 and in 2008 it received an honorable mention, said Jan Cervelli, dean of the college of architecture and landscape architecture The competition is based out of Irwindale, Calif.

Cervelli said the school is not sitting on its laurels, but using the recognition to help recruit the best faculty members and students.

“We have probably one of the more internationally recognized programs in sustainability,” Cervelli said.

Cervelli took the office of dean July 1, 2008 and wanted to continue the work her predecessors had done to make the school a leader in the field.

“It’s a great level of respect. What it does is position us very well,” Cervelli said, “It really speaks to the accomplishments of our alums because the rankings are based on the top firms in the country.”

The college has 316 undergraduates, according to Cervelli.

About 120 freshman are accepted each year. Students must apply to be in the professional program during their second year. Only about half are accepted.

The college wants to become a leader in sustainability.

According to Cervelli, buildings constitute 50 percent of the energy consumption in the United States.

“We have the capacity to turn a building from being a heat sync into an energy producer by adding solar panels,” Cervelli said.

“The climate data has demonstrated that if we don’t make some major changes relatively quickly, we will continue to set into effect some irreversible changes.

“Sustainability has gone beyond just the design profession; it is now touching almost every major on the campus, everything from business to nursing to agriculture,” Cervelli said.

Talks of creating a minor and a course in sustainability are under way.

The course would require students to build a sustainable structure that can provide its own energy.

The working title for the course is practices in sustainability and the working title for the minor is studies in sustainability.

The class may be available as early as this fall semester, while the minor might be available in spring 2010.

UA’s architecture undergrad program recognized among best in nation

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