Building a better city

George Thrush, director of Northeastern’s School of Architecture in the College of Arts, Media and Design, said great academic programs are predicated on three key elements: a strong faculty, a close examination of timely problems and students who understand the importance of those problems.

The architecture school possesses the trio of traits in spades. “We stand out because of our commitment to use-inspired research rooted in the actual forces that affect contemporary cities,” Thrush explained.

The school’s leadership will be on display in May in Washington, D.C., at the National Convention of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), where Thrush and several students will be featured in a video essay on future challenges facing designers.

Northeastern was selected to appear in the video because of its focus on building designs that directly address market needs and dedication to overcoming challenges in making urban communities more efficient, beautiful and sustainable.

“We’re trying to understand the DNA of an everyday city and create a strategy for innovation,” Thrush said, noting the importance of asking, “What do we mean by innovation and how do we achieve it?”

Students praised the strength of Northeastern’s architecture program.

Having practicing architects as faculty members, for example, “gives students more insight into what is currently happening in the architecture world and how we can contribute to it,” noted graduate student Chanel Tourigny.

Fourth-year architecture major Erica Garfinkel called the program’s emphasis on urbanism both timely and unique. As she put it, “The world is becoming more urban, so it’s important we focus on addressing these issues.”

For graduate student Kyle Jonasen, Northeastern’s focus on research is a crucial part of the program’s success. “There’s real value to dedicated research and study in architecture,” he explained. “It allows you to speak with colleagues about projects as a critic, which you can’t do as easily with a pure design focus.”