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The following article outlining the development of the Harvard School of Architecture, was written especially for the Crimson by Dean George E. Edgell.
Architecture has been taught in Harvard since the lectures of Professor Charles Eliot Norten, in 1874, and professionally since 1893, when the late Dean H. Langford Warren first began his courses in the history of architecture and in architectural drawing. This work, however, was part of the undergraduate offering until 1906, when the Graduate School of Applied Science was established and Architecture was made one of its departments. The Bachelor's degree was made an entrance requirement and the degree awarded by the Department was that of Master in Architecture. In 1912 the Schools of Architecture and Landscape Architecture were recognized as a separate school under the Faculty of the Graduate Schools of Applied Science. The final step in the formation of the School was taken in 1914, when the Faculty was made independent and given entire control of the curricula of the two Schools.
Train Creative Architects
The aims of the School are easy to define. Its business is to give its men the broadest possible training to enable them to become competent and creative members of their profession. There is probably no period in the history of the world where the phenomena of architecture are more interesting or more promising than they are in one United States today. A vast number of men of talent and a few men of genies are producing an architectural Renaissance in America that will probably mark an epoch in the history of the five arts. It is the purpose of the Harvard School to search out talent, to develop it, to recognize and encourage genius when it can be found, and to contribute the greatest and, if it can, the best men to the group that are advancing architecture in America today. Simply stated as the aim of the School may be, the accomplishment of this aim is extremely difficult. Architecture is both an art and a profession. An architectural designer must be both practical and artistic. The most beautiful building in the world, if it does not fulfill its practical functions, is a miserable failure. An intensely and completely practical building, if it be ugly, is no less so. The School must teach practical things: it must inculcate common sense, practicality, and integrity in is men, at the same time doing all that it can to stimulate their artistic imaginations and encourage their creative instincts. To, encourage either practicality of artistic sensibility is comparatively easy: to stimulate both without stifling either is hard.
Bachelor's Degree Demanded
It is on account of this difficulty that the School tried the experiment, of requiring the Bachelor's degree for entrance. Most schools of architecture admit men from high school, giving them a training in architecture with a dash of cultural background, and prepare them for the profession in four to five years. The Faculty of Architecture at Harvard is determined that, if a college education, with the breadth that it brings, is a good thing for a lawyer, for a doctor, or for a business man, it is an even better-thing for an architect. Probably no profession requires greater breadth or greater urbanity than does architecture, and this must be acquired without in any way checking the artistic impulse of the student. The Harvard School is nearly unique in insisting upon the Bachelor's degree and making its course seven to seven and a half years, including the undergraduate work, instead of four to five. The Faculty is convinced, however, that the man who follows this thornier path will, years after graduation, be the head of the office for which his undergraduate civil is chief-designer.
Emphasis on Design
Of the many subjects taught in the School of Architecture, the most important must always be Design. Excellence in Design is the aim for life if every great architect and the School must try its best to give him the soundest fundamentals of the theory and practiced of design. With this, however, must go a sound course in Construction. Without
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