UPDATED: April 29, 2014 at 1:00 a.m.
As the first cohort of students pursuing the architecture studies track in the History of Art and Architecture concentration prepare to graduate this spring, many students in the newly created track praised its flexibility and integration with the Graduate School of Design.
The track, introduced two years ago, was established as a joint effort between HAA and the Graduate School of Design to provide an academic path for students interested in architecture. Sixteen sophomores and juniors enrolled in the track when it was introduced in November 2012, and those who remained were joined by nine sophomores who enrolled last November, from a total of about 70 HAA concentrators, according to HAA concentration advisor Thomas Batchelder.
Many students pursuing the track said the newness of it has made their experience more dynamic and made the track more receptive to feedback.
“Our experience and opinion of what’s happening is something they really care about and really take seriously,” said Alaina R. Murphy ’14, who joined the concentration track when it was introduced during her junior year. “It’s fun to be a part of something new, and it’s really nice that they take our opinion into account.”
Larkin P. D. McCann ’15 echoed Murphy’s sentiments, saying that he has enjoyed working with faculty members who have been open to ideas about improving the track.
“It’s very exciting to be part of something new, especially at a place like Harvard that’s sort of rested in so many traditions,” McCann said.
Students also said that they appreciate one of the unique aspects of the track—access to the Graduate School of Design, particularly through a set of required studio courses taught by Design School instructors.
Kathleen C. Hanley ’16 said that her favorite part of the track has been working in the studio.
“We’re basically being put through the same curriculum that they teach at the Graduate School of Design, which is an awesome opportunity as an undergraduate,” she said.
McCann said that the studio courses carry heavy workloads, often demanding 40 to 45 hours of work per week outside of class.
Liesl E. Ulrich-Verdeber ’15, another student in the track, said that she has viewed the program as a sort of preview of graduate school.