MAAD Design Theory and Critical Practices offers graduates of professional architectural programs an intense year of advanced study in architectural history, theory, and criticism.
The year culminates in an independent research project oriented toward public exhibition, publication, or digital dissemination.
The program is designed for midcareer professionals or postgraduate students seeking advanced training that will prepare them for careers as teachers of architecture, critics, curators, civic leaders, theorists, journalists, and provocateurs.
Areas of Special Focus
Forms of architectural and urban history that explore non-traditional and alternative modes including reconstruction, counterfactual history, critical conservation, and even destruction
Architectural and urban practices that engage multimedia and new media such as animations, apps, video, and databases
Spatial and urban practices that provocatively address political and social subjects including forms of spatial activism
MAAD students tailor a course sequence that meets their specific needs. Each student must complete 30 credits over the course of two semesters (fall/spring).
In the fall semester, all students in the MAAD Design Theory and Critical Practices take a required core course in Architectural Theory and advanced seminars in Architecture Research and Interpretation, along with an open elective.
In the spring, students take advanced seminars in Architectural Writing and Production, along with an open elective.
All of these courses are designed to enable students to develop and complete a final independent research project, working under the supervision of a faculty adviser.
he final project may take the form of a thesis-length scholarly text, an exhibition, new media project, or other format approved by the program director.
Teaching & Support Team
MAAD Design Theory and Critical Practices have the opportunity to work with several faculty in the Architecture division who specialize in architecture and urban history and theory, including
Students can also take courses and work with affiliated faculty in other CCA programs:
The San Francisco Bay Area
CCA is centrally located in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, and provides a fertile place to study architectural history, theory, and criticism.
The MAAD in Design Theory and Critical Practices program has created partnerships with several institutions and organizations in order to provide students with opportunities for internships and potential curatorial venues such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Studio for Urban Projects, and SPUR.
CCA is located between two large research universities (Berkeley and Stanford) that provide access to additional programming such as exhibitions, conferences, and lectures.
Our proximity to a dense network of media and technology communities allows for the exploration of new mediums of architectural and urban practice.
Events, Workshops & Lectures
The MAAD in Design Theory and Critical Practices program has sponsored several important events. In October 2013, the program hosted Test Sites: Experimental Histories of Space, a symposium that gathered leading scholars and critics to investigate alternate practices of spatial history such as reconstructions, new archival forms, and critical conservation.
The program also staged “An Olfactory Archive,” the first exhibition devoted exclusively to the recent works of artisans and historians who harness scents, essences, and fragrances in the reconstruction and preservation of historical spaces.
CCA Architecture also sponsors a world-class lecture series that includes prominent architectural historians and theorists from around the world.
Recent lecturers have featured Beatriz Colomina (Princeton University), Kazys Varnelis (Columbia University), Pier Vittorio Aureli (the Berlage Institute), Neil Brenner (Harvard University), Anthony Vidler (Brown University), and Keller Easterling (Yale University).
Questions & Contacts
For general questions email: firstname.lastname@example.org.