Design better futures
We believe that architecture and interior design are critical cultural practices that can and should serve the common good. Architecture at CCA is an arena for the free and open exchange of ideas about the future—of our buildings, cities, and planet—and a laboratory where these ideas are tested through speculative architectural research. Our students challenge conventional ideas at every turn in an innovative culture of making that weds discipline-specific skills and knowledge to emerging technical and conceptual methods.
With each passing semester, you’ll increasingly see yourself as a designer actively engaged in the most important issues of the day, becoming ever more confident as your knowledge base grows, your skills sharpen, and your ability to identify, develop, and communicate your ideas matures. Guided by a faculty with practice-based expertise—ranging from experimental history to pioneering digital fabrication to fresh urban form-making to novel representational methods to down and dirty design-build—you’ll transform theory into action as you produce new disciplinary knowledge and discover career opportunities that value design speculation and versatile leadership.
The city is your urban laboratory
Central to your experience at CCA is our San Francisco location: a place where the leading edge of digital culture meets an enduring legacy of social and environmental action. Here, new ideas about how we inhabit this planet are continuously being tested. You’ll study in a world-class, top art and design college that values interdisciplinary exchange and open dialogue.
Meet the dean of Architecture
Dean Keith Krumwiede is an award-winning educator and the author of Atlas of Another America: An Architectural Fiction, a satirical assessment of the American Dream. Named “Book of the Year” by critics Alexandra Lange and Mark Lamster, Atlas of Another America reflects Krumwiede’s multifaceted and humorous approach to the culture of architecture and its often-complicit relationship to power and privilege. His work has been exhibited globally at renowned architecture biennials, universities, and galleries. A pioneering researcher, Krumwiede’s scholarly articles have appeared in The Architect’s Newspaper, Praxis, Domus, and elsewhere. Prior to joining CCA in fall 2018, he was an Arnold W. Brunner/Katherine Edwards Gordon Rome Prize Fellow in Architecture.
High-profile architecture and design educators
Our award-winning faculty drive the success of our discipline. As teachers, researchers, practitioners, and public intellectuals, we’re active in shaping important conversations around architecture and interior design. Our faculty believe that architecture and interior design are critical cultural practices that reflect values, impact lives, shape urban spaces, harness technological innovation for positive change, and envision other futures for an environmentally challenged world.
Robust public programming
Our national and international networks are amplified by our lecture series and symposia. Open to all disciplines, our keynote lectures feature architects, designers, and theorists from the Bay Area and around the world. Recent guests include Wang Shu, Jeanne Gang, Eyal Weizman, Amanda Williams, Tatiana Bilbao, and Neyran Turan.
We also host numerous symposia each semester, inviting faculty and scholars from other architecture schools to join us in wrestling with controversial, provocative, and future-focused topics. Often directly tied to projects our students, faculty, and external partners advance in our architecture research labs, symposia are opportunities to learn from scientists, engineers, and other practitioners whose work intersects many different disciplines. Recent symposia topics include Reckoning: Monuments and Racial History, Domestic Affairs: Housing the Multitude, and Designing Material Innovation.
Oct. 16, 2020
Join us on Monday, October 19th at 6pm PDT for our next Architecture Lecture Series event. Sarah Lopez, Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin (@utsoa), will give the opening keynote lecture for Make. Act. Resist: A Teach-in on Borders and Migration. Streaming live on Zoom. Link in bio!
Sarah Lopez is a built environment historian, as well as a migration scholar. Lopez' research focuses on the impact of migrant remittances—dollars earned in the U.S. and sent to families and communities in Mexico—on the architecture and landscape of rural Mexico and urban USA. By approaching architectural history within the context of migration, Lopez examines multiple sites across international borders, arguing that we must examine the spatial and built environment histories of discrete places simultaneously. Her book entitled, "The Remittance Landscape: The Spaces of Migration in Rural Mexico and Urban USA," was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2015 and won the 2017 Kostof Book Award from the Society of Architectural Historians.
Over the last four years, artists and designers have deployed their skills to oppose Trump’s anti-immigrant and nationalist rhetoric through critical artistic projects that build cross-border alliances and give voice to migrant experiences. This virtual teach-in will focus on art and design practices that address the politics of borders and migration. The aim of the "teach-in" is to simultaneously mobilize the CCA community while making scholarship and art public and outward facing.
Make. Act. Resist is made possible by generous support from Creative Citizens in Action (@ccaexhibitions), the Architecture Division, the President’s Diversity Steering Group (@cacollegeofarts), the Film Program (@ccafilm / @ccafinearts), and the CCA Libraries (@ccalibraries).
#ccarts #californiacollegeofthearts #ccarchitecture #architecture #interiordesign #studio #sanfrancisco #artschool #imadethat #architectureschool #ccainteriordesign #architecturestudent #architecturestudentblog #Chimeramade #bayarea #architecturelectureseries #publicprograms #virtualevent #makeactresist #creativecitizensinaction #teachin #keynotespeaker #keynote
Oct. 15, 2020
MArch students Sam Higgwe (@arc_higsman) and Celdin Fajardo's (@chi_tecture), "Pavilion," from this fall's intergrated building design studio, The Post-Carbon Museum. Taught by Ryan Keerns (@ryan.keerns) and Daniel Garcia (@_danielalexis_).
"The Pavilion is designed to showcase emissive artworks at three lighting levels: daylight, medium light and low light. Each lighting level is achieved by conditions of the spaces below the grade level. With the daylit artworks exhibited along the ramps which lead to the medium-lit space on the right and low-lit space on the left. Some strategies for conditioning these spaces include: the louvred roof for shading, the polycarbonate skylight panel over the medium lit space and the strips of light wells that allow a minimum amount of light into the low-lit exhibition space. The representation technique takes a surreal approach to photo-realism, with photo-realistic materials and lighting, a background that appears to be an artist studio and a large reading lamp that emulates direction light from the sun."
The Post-Carbon Museum is an intergrated studio aimed at moving beyond the neutrality of the white cube gallery. We are examining the relationship between a work of art, the environment in which it is displayed, and how meaning is conveyed. Through iterative prototyping, the students are speculating on how a comprehensive approach to building systems can shape the conceptual, formal, and experiential nature of a building. Shown here is a series of models that explore different daylighting strategies and organizational models to be employed and expanded upon in the coming weeks as students develop proposals for an art museum dedicated to time-based media utilizing mass timber construction.
#ccarts #californiacollegeofthearts #ccarchitecture #architecture #interiordesign #studio #sanfrancisco #artschool #imadethat #architectureschool #ccainteriordesign #architecturestudent #architecturestudentblog #Chimeramade #bayarea #pavillion #postcarbonmuseum #museum
Oct. 13, 2020
"The Screen" from this fall's Interior Design Studio I and Design Media I course. Taught by faculty members @NegarKalantar and Megan Werner (@megan_werner_zdp).
By using folded Post-It (@postit) notes, students each designed their own tessellated spatial screen. Students had to consider the organization of a 2.5D system of patterns in a planar tessellated network (the composition of a continuous field).Through the use of underlying geometries and overlying patterns, students designed systems and subsystems of order, hierarchies, and shapes that together comprised proposed tessellations. Work by Mezz Deboo, Latifa Alghanim, Nancy Liu, Catherine Zhang, Violet Fu, Zorry Gao, and Larry Li.
Interior Design Studio I introduces students to the principles and strategies essential to the creation and development of 3D built and virtual spaces, interior systems and spatial concepts. Particular emphasis is given to the development of robust conceptual ideas and how they further develop into 3D design and establish spatial relations within the built environment. Formulating an understanding and application of a formal design vocabulary is primary to this studio, as are skills of visual representation and languages used to identify spatial concepts. Focus is placed upon the advancement of a design process, on the quality of visual presentations, and techniques and skill-set associated with model-making.
#ccarts #californiacollegeofthearts #ccarchitecture #architecture #interiordesign #studio #sanfrancisco #artschool #imadethat #architectureschool #ccainteriordesign #architecturestudent #architecturestudentblog #Chimeramade #bayarea #postit #postitnotes #tessellation
Oct. 12, 2020
Today (and everyday), we honor #IndigenousPeoples. Here at CCA, we understand Land Acknowledgement as a transformative act meant to confront our place on Native Lands and to build mindfulness of our present participation in colonial legacies. As CCA faculty, staff, and students, we affirm our responsibility to amplify Indigenous voices, we stand in solidarity with local Indigenous communities, and we respect local Indigenous protocol. We practice Land Acknowledgement at CCA in order to teach and promote greater public consciousness of Native sovereignty and cultural rights.
@Cacollegeofarts campuses are located in Huichin and Yelamu, also known as Oakland and San Francisco, respectively, on the unceded territories of Chochenyo and Ramaytush Ohlone peoples, who have continuously lived upon this land since time immemorial.
We recognize the historic discrimination and violence inflicted upon Indigenous peoples in California and the Americas, including their forced removal from ancestral lands, and the deliberate and systematic destruction of their communities and culture. CCA honors Indigenous peoples—past, present, and future—here and around the world, and we wish to pay respect to local elders. 🍂🙏🌎🌿
#indigenouspeoplesday #happyindigenouspeoplesday #ccaarts #chimeramade #sanfrancisco #oakland #sfbayarea #ohloneland #ohloneterritory #californiacollegeofthearts #huichin #yelamu #chochenyo #ramaytush #landacknowledgement
Students inspired to take action
Faculty profiles and initiatives
Create innovative work across disciplines
The five-year Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) program is NAAB-accredited and STEM-designated. With a focus on critical thinking and creative making, students learn how to be agents of change, leveraging their skills toward environmental, social, and political impact. Design studios emphasize conceptual rigor, engaged research, and material and formal experimentation, setting students up for success across a range of project scales.
Our second undergraduate degree, the BFA in Interior Design, is a four-year accredited program with a focus on sustainable material practices and spatial innovation. Students learn to design for various human environments, including the home, workplace, and public sphere. Internships with prominent Bay Area architecture and interior design firms give students a first-hand look at the daily processes they’ll encounter throughout their careers.
Connect architectural innovation with social impact
Our Master of Architecture (MArch) program champions innovation and experimentation in architectural design, preparing students to lead conversations and develop solutions around some of the world’s most pressing issues. NAAB-accredited and STEM-designated, the MArch program guides students through three years of advanced study, leveraging design, research, and material innovation to merge conceptual, historical, and physical contexts.
Our second STEM-designated program, the Master of Advanced Architectural Design (MAAD), is for early-to-mid-career professionals interested in collaborative and experimental design practices. Over the course of one intensive year, students focus on an independent research or design project through mentored study and a range of elective offerings in one of three areas associated with our research labs: Digital Craft, Experimental History, or Urban Works.
We believe architecture can imagine and create alternative futures, and we translate this belief into direct action. Our five research labs, which are formulated around faculty interests and expertise, present students with myriad project opportunities, such as developing solutions to regional issues brought on by climate change for the Resilient By Design Bay Area Challenge.
From gritty experiments with alternative materials to groundbreaking thinking about urban issues, these projects are often conceived and realized in collaboration with external partners. Recent collaborators include Autodesk, the City of San Francisco, Kreysler & Associates, and the Resilient By Design Bay Area Challenge.
Digital Craft Lab
The Digital Craft Lab features experimental making through emerging technologies. Advanced computation, robotics, responsive environments, and rapid prototyping are motivations to reconsider how architecture is produced.
Urban Works Agency
The Urban Works Agency responds to the politics of the contemporary city. Equity, ecological vitality, and economic resilience are reimagined through urban and territory scaled analysis, narratives, and arguments.
Architectural Ecologies Lab
The Architectural Ecologies Lab serves as a platform for collaborative research between designers, scientists, and manufacturers. This interdisciplinary setting provides the tools to address ecological challenges like sea level rise, habitat restoration, and climate change.
The BuildLab is a setting to participate in the hands-on development of full-scale structures, bringing fabrication, project management, and realization skills directly into the hands of designers.
Experimental History Project
The Experimental History Project works to preserve and present the immaterial aspects of architectural heritage through the reconstruction of environments, immersive augmented reality, and cutting-edge conservation techniques.
Student and faculty excellence
Vertical electives are courses that integrate graduate and undergraduate architecture students as they learn the process of taking conceptual ideation to practical implementation; the objective of vertical electives is to deepen students’ understanding of and ability to create what’s possible when theory, practice, and experimentation converge. While electives vary from year to year, we’re particularly excited about these two:
- Mixed Reality – Leverage mixed reality technologies, such as gaming engines for experience design, to create architectural effects and immersive environments
- Design and Build for the City – Combine full-scale fabrication and community participation to deploy everything from mobile classrooms to prototyping festivals to parklets and shaded pavilions
Advanced and integrated studios
Our advanced studios, which undergraduates can take during their final two years, are either embedded within our research labs or framed around collaborations with external partners. Studios, like the ones featured below, focus on how architectural design can solve for challenging environments and increasingly dense cities.
Creative Architecture Machines
This evolving advanced studio series operates at the intersection of digital fabrication, interactive robotics, and custom software. Students create original fabrication robots that draw, print, scrape, ooze, and dig architecture. Projects challenge students to blur the lines between the digital and physical and expand what architecture is capable of achieving.
Interior Design and Ceramics
Interdisciplinary by nature, this advanced studio investigates historic terracotta traditions alongside contemporary fabrication techniques for building surfaces (or “architectural skins”). Students engage both the aesthetic and functional aspects of ceramics to explore the importance of empty space in exterior and interior environments.
We encourage every undergraduate and graduate student to study abroad at least once. You’ll broaden your cultural influences, explore new environments, and meet other creative practitioners. Our most recent travel studios focused on the following themes:
- China | Picking Up Threads: Stitchlink 2020 – Explore the burgeoning southeastern region of China studying the work of several contemporary Chinese architects
- Mexico | Material Cultures in Mexico City + Oaxaca – The studio weaves together cultural research, material exploration, and design innovation to explore resonance between traditional craft practices and contemporary techniques of architectural design and production.
333 Studio at CCA
In addition to study-abroad opportunities, we host the 333 Studio at CCA’s San Francisco campus every summer. Three outside critics, including those with civil engineering and urban planning backgrounds, work with students for three weeks in an intensive lab environment.
We’re here to answer your questions
We’re happy to share more information about our alumni, faculty, and the ambitious projects we’re pursuing in our five research labs.