Design has become increasingly important to computer scientists and at the same time computation has become important to designers. The dual degree program in Architecture and Information Technology program is a unique curriculum that systematically combines the strength and insights of these disciplines.
As computing has matured as a discipline, it has expanded its focus to include the physical and virtual settings in which users interact with the machine. Specialties like human computer interaction, ubiquitous computing, gaming, and visualization require an understanding not only of the logic of the machine, but also the logic of the user. Based on these concerns, the design thinking ability that is an integral part of design training is of interest as an alternative paradigm that may change the way that students think and operate.
Within architecture, there is a unique opportunity to develop students who will have the knowledge to lead the integration of the computer into architectural practice and research. As firms rely more and more on computation, those who know how to think, program, and script will be able to change the way architects design and practice. We see the day fast approaching when the IT department at firms is not separate but rather is at the core of what architects do. Already, in advanced practices across the world, computing and design are intermingling.
The curriculum integrates architecture students with information technology students, working collaboratively on tasks that challenge both fields. Early in the curriculum, the cohorts with architecture background and those with computing background take courses to provide basic competency in a new discipline.
The centerpiece of the dual degree curriculum is a sequence of studio/lab courses taught jointly by the College of Computing and Informatics and School of Architecture faculty that are focused on issues and problems that are researched by design teams.
Students in this dual degree program enroll simultaneously in the NAAB-accredited Master of Architecture (M.Arch. II) degree program and the M.S. in Information Technology degree program.