National ranking for architecture graduate school

Washington University’s Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design, part of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, has been ranked fifth in the nation by Architect magazine in its first annual education survey.

The survey, published in the November issue, examined 117 programs recognized by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. WUSTL tied for fifth with Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg, Va., and was ranked first in the Midwest.

“This ranking reflects the strong contributions that our graduates are making to the practice of architecture,” said Bruce Lindsey, dean of the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design and the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Community Collaboration. “The survey asks a cross-section of employers about which recent graduates have had the most significant influence on their work. It’s a powerful testament to the impact of our young alumni.”

The survey polled directors of design, managing principals and human resource directors from hundreds of leading U.S. architecture firms about which programs had produced the most professional, best-prepared graduates over the past five years. It also queried participants — as well as deans and current students —about how programs rated in various skill sets, including design, sustainability, analysis and planning, construction methods and materials, research and theory, communication skills and computer applications.

“A long-standing complaint —a cliché, really — about architectural education is that the typical curriculum places insufficient emphasis on the pragmatics of professional practice,” wrote Architect editor Ned Cramer in his forward to the issue.

“Yet the academy seems to be gaining ground on the marketplace,” he wrote.

“While many green-minded firms, for instance, still struggle to adopt the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification process and get buy-in from clients, the survey results suggest that universities are proving more nimble: 57 percent of firms surveyed say that they get new ideas about sustainability from their straight-out-of-school employees.”

The magazine’s rankings are excerpted from an annual book-length report titled America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools, published by the journal DesignIntelligence.

The survey, which was launched in 2000, is conducted for DesignIntelligence by Greenway Communications and the Design Futures Council.

Last year, Washington University was ranked sixth in the nation by DesignIntelligence.