CCA BArch Program challenges conventions and pushes disciplinary boundaries

BArchArchitecture

Study architecture with a focus on material experimentation, research, and alternative forms of creative practice in a professional degree program.

Overview

Become an agent for change

The Bachelor of Architecture program empowers students to be resourceful makers, thinkers, collaborators, researchers, and agents for change. We’re a five-year, STEM-designated, NAAB-accredited (National Architectural Accrediting Board) professional degree. We’re also housed within one of the best art and design colleges in the country. Our students work across a range of media and collaborate with makers in other creative disciplines—such as interaction design and ceramics—to develop cutting-edge solutions and spark debate.

a student presenting her work to a group, surrounded by conceptual architectural models of towers

Reimagine the city

The BArch program is deeply connected to the San Francisco Bay Area, a global center of progressive ideals and technological innovation. You’ll learn to challenge conventions and push disciplinary boundaries as you actively engage with some of the most pressing issues of our time. From ecologically resilient structures to experiments in collective living, you’ll experience the important work of architects, designers, and interdisciplinary artists first-hand.

Studios + Shops

Deep research and hands-on making

A group of architecture students poses in front of a large cardboard structure.

Choose from three optional concentrations

In addition to our main bachelor of architecture degree, you can choose from three optional concentrations: Digital Craft, Urbanism, and History/Theory/Experiments. In these tracks, the last two years of program coursework are specialized, setting you up for post-graduation success with focused skill sets.

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Diverse design studios

By nature, architecture entails a high level of interdisciplinary work. Our curriculum combines hands-on studios with coursework in design media, history and theory, and building technology to prepare you for rigorous design work. You’ll learn to apply advanced fabrication and design research skills to experiments at a range of scales, from material and form to complex urban projects.

Research labs and external partners

During your final two years in the BArch program, you’ll have the freedom to explore your specific interests in advanced studios and seminars that are closely tied to our research labs:

  • 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: 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: 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.
  • 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.
  • BuildLab: Participates in the hands-on development of full scale structures, bringing fabrication, project management, and realization skills directly into the hands of designers.

You’ll build upon your knowledge of design discourse, media, and technology as you explore digital fabrication, sustainable building practices, and more. Studio and seminar work is also framed around collaborations with external partners, such as Autodesk, Kreysler & Associates, the San Francisco Planning Department, and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, to champion real-world experiences with cross-disciplinary teams.

Professional internships and study-abroad courses

Our program’s internship requirement connects you with renowned Bay Area architecture firms. This not only helps you secure employment after graduation, but also gives you a first-hand look at the daily processes you’ll encounter throughout your career.

We also encourage students to study abroad during the summer semester. Recent courses have explored innovative public spaces in Berlin and formal experimentation in new domestic architecture in Tokyo.

Your tools for material exploration

  • KUKA robotic arm in the Digital Craft Lab
  • 3D printers in the Hybrid Lab
  • Lathes, grinders, and sanders
  • Milling machines
  • CNC routers and laser cutters

Faculty

Learn from award-winning leaders in the field

Our faculty are practicing architects and full-time academics whose expertise forms the backbone of our five specialized research labs. They’re deeply connected to research, practices, and processes, as well as a wide network of leaders who shape international discourse on architecture and interior design. Faculty provide students with the one-on-one guidance they need to formulate critical questions and imagine innovative proposals in their studio work.

Antje Steinmuller, Chair of Architecture

Antje Steinmuller, Chair of BArch

Chair Antje Steinmuller is interested in the agency of architecture at the intersection of citizen-led and city-regulated processes. Her current research focuses on new typologies of urban commons, new forms of collective living, and alternative methods for the production of urban public space. She's an associate director of the Urban Works Agency, CCA’s urban research lab; a design principle at Studio Urbis; and a founding partner of Ideal x Design, a consultancy that focuses on public-space activation, urban research, and public art design.

Curriculum

We think with our hands

Connect full-scale making to pressing challenges

CCA’s Bachelor of Architecture begins with a four-semester core studio sequence that integrates foundational design education with skill building in design media and representation, building technology, and history and theory. The curriculum’s final four semesters challenge students to reimagine and expand what architecture is capable of achieving in advanced studios and seminars. View sample courses

Investigate ideas through every dimension

Before diving into their chosen major, every undergraduate participates in the First Year Experience. Students explore a wide range of materials and tools over the course of two semesters. Faculty from different disciplines guide studio projects, group critiques, and theoretical discussions, setting students up for success throughout their major coursework.

BArch Architecture

Core Studio

Drawing 1
3 units
2D, 3D, and 4D
9 units

Architecture Major Requirements

Architecture Studios 1–4
24 units
Design Media (DM) 1–3
9 units
Building Technology (BT) 1–5
15 units
Professional Practice
3 units
Internship
0 units
Advanced and Integrated Design Studios
24 units
History/Theory (1-3)
9 units
Architecture Elective
3 units

Additional Studio Requirements

Interdisciplinary Studio
3 units
Diversity Studies Studio
3 units
Studio Electives
6 units
Open Electives
6 units

Humanities + Sciences Requirements

Writing 1
3 units
Writing 2
3 units
Introduction to the Arts: Antiquity to Early Modern
3 units
Introduction to the Modern Arts
3 units
Foundation in Critical Studies
3 units
Physics for Architecture
3 units
Literary and Performing Arts Studies (2000 level)
3 units
Philosophy and Critical Theory (2000 level)
3 units
Social Science/History (200 level)
3 units
Visual Studies (2000 level)
3 units
Humanities and Sciences (3000 level)
3 units
Diversity Studies Seminar
3 units
History of Architecture I
3 units
History of Architecture II
3 units

Total 159 units

Careers

Build an inclusive and sustainable future

Our alumni work for national and international architecture firms or work as designers at global companies like IDEO, Apple, Airbnb, and WeWork. Alumni also establish their own practices in architecture, design/build, or fabrication. Many continue their studies at leading graduate programs to deepen their knowledge in specific areas. Wherever they are in the world, they strive to make a positive impact on the built environment.

Potential career paths

  • Licensed architect
  • Digital fabricator
  • Data visualizer
  • Interior designer
  • Architectural product designer
  • Design strategist
  • Construction project manager
  • Educator

News + Events

What’s happening for BArch students?

How to Apply

Build a foundation for success

Our students are ready to make a difference in the world. You see architecture as a way to positively shape the relationships between structures, people, and the environment. You’re often just as interested in cutting-edge digital technology as you are in the slow, methodical process of working by hand. Above all else, you’re driven to find innovative solutions to the environmental, political, and social challenges we face today.

Find your creative community at CCA

Apply now