History, Theory, Experiments [HTX]

MAAD Design History, Theory, Experiments [HTX] 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. The MAAD HTX degree is STEM designated.


The Experimental History Project

MAAD HTX works closely with CCA's Experimental History Project. The Project promotes advanced research through conferences, exhibitions, and workshops on digital reconstructions of historical environments, immersive new media history projects, digital preservation, and other experimental history methodologies.

Areas of Special Focus

MAAD HTX provides students with exposure to current critical and curatorial practices including:

  • Experimental preservation techniques such as digital scanning and reproduction
  • Politically engaged forms of spatial activism
  • New media such as apps, databases, and other digital platforms for "writing" history
  • Archival and historical research methods
  • Architectural writing and criticism


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 History,Theory, Experiments [HTX] 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 complete an independent thesis project, working closely with a CCA faculty advisor, and an optional external satellite advisor.

The thesis 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 History,Theory, Experiments [HTX] have the opportunity to work with several faculty in the Architecture division who specialize in architecture and urban history and theory, including:

David Gissen
Irene Cheng
William Littmann
Katherine Rinne
Catherine Veikos
Lisa Findley
Neeraj Bhatia

Students can also take courses and work with affiliated faculty in other CCA programs:

Karen Fiss
Jacqueline Francis
Tirza Latimer
J. Myers-Szupinska
Mitchell Schwarzer
Amy Balkin
Allison Smith
Tina Takemoto

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 Design History,Theory, Experiments [HTX] 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 Design History,Theory, Experiments [HTX] program has sponsored several important events.

In recent years, the program hosted:

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), Winnie Wong (UC Berkeley), Pier Vittorio Aureli (the Berlage Institute), Neil Brenner (Harvard University), Anthony Vidler (Brown University), and Keller Easterling (Yale University).

See upcoming (and past) Architecture Lecture Series events »

Questions & Contacts

For general questions email: architecture@cca.edu.

If you have specific questions about the MAAD Design History, Theory, Experiments [HTX], email lead faculty Irene Cheng (icheng@cca.edu) or David Gissen (dgissen@cca.edu) directly.

General Inquiries:
Email: architecture@cca.edu

Leah Kandel
Program Manager
Master of Architecture
Master of Advanced Architectural Design

Postal Address
Graduate Architecture Programs
California College of the Arts
1111 Eighth Street
San Francisco CA 94107-2247

Architecture Staff
See a complete staff list for the division of Architecture »