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A small, multicolored chart tacked up in the School of Design outline a new plan that will revitalize architecture for the undergraduate. The six column chart, beginning with the sophomore year and extending through Design School, typifies the School's new close connection with the College.
This correlation has not always been so complete. In the pat, the Design School has generally hawked its undergraduate wares without even enough return to cover expenses. For although architecture courses were open to undergraduates, they were all graduate courses, taught by the Design School faculty. Thus, despite the fact that the School taught many undergraduates, it received no part of their tuition, a situation which led to continual deficits.
For undergraduates, the main interest in the new plan lies in the three College courses the department has added. From now on these will be required for all Architecture majors. With the common background supplied by these courses a good student will have the chance to overlap his last year in College with his first year in Design School, to get his M.A. in seven years instead of the traditional eight.
This new program promises to renovate Harvard's teaching of architecture. Most important, perhaps, the plan closes the gap between teaching and the new developments in design. Since the twenties, architecture has become increasingly concerned with its artistic and social implications. The new undergraduate courses recognize this shift and rightly stress these creative and aesthetic aspects--what Dean Sert has called, "its higher significance." In addition to keeping pace with the field, the new courses offer prospective architects real help by testing their creative ability early. The student deserves this chance to find what natural ability he has before getting deeply involved in graduate work.
Besides modernizing the teaching, the new plan shows a fresh and encouraging attitude on the part of the administration. To add these needed courses, the School of Design had to work out an agreement with the College. The resulting understanding has led to an allotment of money by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences for the Design School, an allotment that makes the whole program possible. As President Pusey has said, this money in the long needed recognition that architecture, with a creative emphasis, has a place in the liberal arts education. For besides giving students a common grounding in the field, the new program adds a needed third dimension--that of visual arts--to the College education.
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