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School to celebrate 100 years of architectural education

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

LAWRENCE —The University of Kansas School of Architecture, Design and Planning will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of its architecture program this weekend.

A St. Louis architect, Montrose McArdle, originally suggested to Chancellor Frank Strong that KU should have an architecture school. He had been hired to help design the administration building that became Strong Hall. 

American architecture programs were uncommon at this time, but somehow McArdle managed to convince Strong that an up-and-coming university like KU had to have one. 

In 1912 the Kansas Board of Regents authorized KU to create an architecture program within the School of Engineering. The students finished their first year of studies in the spring of 1913.

The Department of Architecture has maintained an excellent reputation over the years. In 2012 DesignIntelligence published a survey of practitioners that placed it 14th out of 99 accredited graduate degree programs.   

As much as architectural ideas like sustainable buildings have entered public discourse in recent years, these notions are not new here.

 “An emphasis on design, detailing and principles of sustainability have been part of our teaching tradition from the very beginning,” said Dean John Gaunt.  

“Over the course of a century, the quality of life for uncountable thousands has been positively affected by buildings designed by KU’s architecture school graduates.

“KU architecture graduates have successful careers all over the world, making our influence global. The real reason the century celebration is so important is that it gives us an occasion to reflect on the magnitude of all they have done,” he said.

Visitors can take tours with students, look in on design studios and view recent projects in Marvin Hall between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday, April 26, and from 9 a.m. until noon Saturday, April 27.

Special exhibits include a gallery full of exquisite renderings of student projects that date back to the 1920s, located in Marvin 216.

Current work by graduates of the school will be displayed on the bridge between Marvin Hall and the Art and Design building. 

A wall-sized graphical timeline of the last century’s major events as they relate to the evolution of architecture, and the milestones of the school, will also be on display in the Marvin’s main hallway.