Curricular Initiatives

From interdisciplinary workshops to exclusive mixers to topical forums, CCA's Architecture division offers unique curricular initiatives!

Students and the community have an opportunity to explore real local issues and propose effective design solutions! Learn more below about our exciting upcoming and past initiatives.

Making Architecture 

Architecture. Digital Craft. Experimental Design & Fabrication. Immerse yourself in design studio culture in a four-week summer program at California College of the Arts in San Francisco for college students, career changers, and inspired professionals. 

July 10- August 4, 2017

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Drawing Codes: Experimental Protocols of Architectural Representation

Drawing Codes was an exhibition curated by Associate Professor Adam Marcus and Professor Andrew Kudless. The exhibition gathers together commissioned work by several CCA faculty members and architects from around the United States. The drawings produced for the exhibition explore how emerging technologies of design and production have opened up new ways to engage with traditional practices of architectural drawing. The twenty-two experimental drawings (ten by CCA faculty) commissioned for the exhibition investigate the impact of such technologies on the relationship between code and drawing: how rules and constraints inform the ways architects document, analyze, represent, and design the built environment. CCA faculty members for the exhibition include: Amy Campos, Endemic/Clark Thenhaus, FAULDERS STUDIO (Thom Faulders), Future Cities Lab (Jason Kelly Johnson & Nataly Gattegno), David Gissen, Janette Kim, Joris Komen, Andrew Kudless / Matsys, Adam Marcus / Variable Projects, and The Open Workshop (Neeraj Bhatia).  

AIAS / COTE Student Awards

The Committee on the Environment (COTE) and the AIAS Award program challenges students, working individually or in teams, to submit projects that use a thoroughly integrated approach to architecture, natural systems, and technology to provide architectural solutions that protect and enhance the environment. The competition recognizes ten exceptional studio projects that seamlessly integrate innovative, regenerative strategies within their broader design concepts. CCA students have been extremely successful in this competition: most recently Madeleine Cunningham and Taylor Metcalf won one of the 2016 awards; Shirin Monshipouri and Vaama Joshi, and Jared Clifton and Rafael Berges were recognized in 2015.

Buoyant Ecologies

Buoyant Ecologies 

Buoyant Ecologies: New Visions for San Francisco's Waterfront

The Buoyant Ecologies research project explores the design of ecologically optimized envelopes for waterfront structures that promote habitats for diverse marine species. The research initiative led by CCA faculty members Margaret Ikeda, Evan Jones, and Adam Marcus. began as a collaboration with Autodesk Workshop at Pier 9, Benthic Lab at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, and Kreysler & Associates. A primary focus of the project has been to develop customized fiber-reinforced polymer substrates that vary to provide marine habitats for a range of species, thereby enhancing the surrounding ecology. 

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image of building framing

In the Studio: Poor Forms

Poor Forms, a fall 2015 studio course led by Clark Thenhaus, looks to architectural history in order to generate new expressions for four typologies rooted in the discipline of architecture.

Specifically, columns, domes, and vaults will be investigated, culminating in a series of design speculations fostering estranged yet familiar expressions of these historic typologies.

Learn more and see student work »

Formations Workshop

FORMATIONS: Fall Workshop Series

FORMATIONS, a software-based workshop series held by CCA's Digital Craft Lab that provides a platform for students and professionals in the design disciplines to explore new technologies in a hands-on setting. 

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Frank Barkow Housing Workshop

Frank Barkow Lecture

Internationally renowned architect Frank Barkow (of Barkow Leibinger Architects in Berlin) held a lecture and workshop on housing at CCA on Wednesday, October 14, 2015.

The session addressed developing new forms of housing and density for San Francisco and included students from the MArch Studio 3 Housing studio Share | City (taught by Neal Schwartz and Neeraj Bhatia) as well as from the Horizontalism Advanced Studio (taught by Antje Steinmuller and Christopher Roach).

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Formations Workshop

FORMATIONS: Summer Workshop Series

CCA’s Architecture division launched a series of one-week workshops for college students, professionals, and members of the broader architectural community in summer 2015.

Led by CCA faculty, participants were exposed to innovative methods and techniques of drawing, model making, computational design, and digital fabrication.

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Market Street Prototyping Festival

Market Street Prototyping Festival

The Market Street Prototyping Festival, a three-day festival that took place spring 2015, is part of the city’s ongoing efforts to activate the sidewalks of Market Street (its busiest street) by supporting the vision of creative people. 

The festival encouraged a hands-on approach to inspire a shared vision for the street and test a wide range of ideas for more permanent installation.

Diffuse Density

DIFFUSE DENSITY: Making Housing Affordable Symposium

Urbanism from Within, a spring 2015 exhibition at the SPUR Urban Center Gallery featuring the work of CCA students, presented a range of design strategies for better integrating secondary dwelling units into the city’s Victorian neighborhoods.

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Black Lives Matter Teach-In

BLACK LIVES MATTER TEACH-IN: On Race, Architecture, and the City

In spring 2015, participants joined in conversation about how the disciplines of architecture, interior design, and urbanism can respond to the issues of equity, race, and state violence raised by the Black Lives Matter movement.

See images taken at the event »

  • How does the design of the built environment contribute to inequalities of habitation, movement, access, and representation?
  • How do these issues manifest themselves in our teaching and learning?
  • How can designers help construct a more just and peaceful society in which all lives are cared for equally?

See video recorded at the event »

Sponsored by the CCA Architecture division and NOMAS

Data Clay Symposium

Data Clay Symposium

Data Clay Symposium was presented in 2015 by the Architecture and Fine Arts divisions and held in conjunction with the Data Clay: Digital Strategies for Parsing the Earth exhibition at the Museum of Craft and Design (January 17 through April 19, 2015).

The event focused on the use of digital tools and ceramic materials -- hot topic now in architecture, fabrication, digital craft, ceramics, sustainability circles.

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BEYOND MOBILITY: Exploring the Future
Car in a World of Connected Devices

CCA and Audi Innovation Research (AIR) office launched in June 2014 the CCA + AIR Beyond Mobility Fellows Workshop -- an interdisciplinary collaboration geared toward exploring the car as a key intersection in this broader network of interconnected devices.

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Attendees explored the intersections between cartography and art at the GIS Education Center + CCA Urban Works Agency cARTography Geomixer.

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General Inquiries:

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 »