Focus, Architecture & Design, and Higher Education

Kendall plans architecture school

October 18, 2013
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Brian Craig is smiling a lot these days.

The man who’s directing Kendall College of Art and Design’s graduate program in architecture has a good reason to be happy. For years, KCAD has been engaged in conversations about creating a new professional architecture school in Grand Rapids, he said. Now the dream is becoming a reality, and Craig’s efforts are starting to pay off.

“The initial development and curriculum of the program is now complete,” he said. “The degree is awaiting the final approval by the university trustees. The plan is to launch the program this year, accepting students for fall 2014.”

Kendall will hire both full- and part-time faculty to teach in the program, as well as draw upon current Kendall and Ferris faculty, Craig said. Costs such as the rental and renovation of space to house studios, as well as faculty salaries, will be incurred at startup and will be recovered from the tuition revenue generated by the program, he said, adding that Kendall already has the shops, digital fabrication, seminar, library and support spaces the new degree requires.

“Students with a pre-professional (pre-architecture) undergraduate degree will require 60 semester credit hours (typically, two years) to complete the program, while those with undergraduate degrees in other disciplines will require 90 to 96 credit hours (three years with one intervening summer),” he said.

“2014/15 graduate tuition has not been set yet. Costs will be the same as other KCAD studio-based programs.

“There is no differential between in- and out-of-state tuition,” he added.

Instituting West Michigan’s first professional architecture program allows Kendall to build on the foundation of human-centered design explored in the college’s collaborative, industrial and interior design programs, among others, he said.

Grand Rapids is growing, Craig said, and as it does, systemic thinking, built on closed systems, is giving way to thinking that is open, complex and sometimes unpredictable.

“As a leader in art and design education, KCAD is integral to the community ecosystem of Grand Rapids, Michigan and the surrounding region. As such, it is our responsibility to facilitate the place-making process by nurturing the intellectual growth of individuals and the physical growth of the urban landscape,” Craig said.

“In a world where art and design have leapt past simple notions of beauty and utility to powerful notions of creativity and innovation that can shape economics and ecology, health care and K-12 education, social justice and organizational processes, Kendall College of Art and Design has seized the moment to advocate for the importance of creativity and of those who create and to make that importance felt in all the ways it touches the world.”

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