Five years ago, UCLA’s Department of Architecture and Urban Design (A.UD), took the bold step of replacing its post-professional, or Masters of Architecture II, curriculum with what it calls the Suprastudio: an intensive, yearlong, R+D collaboration, led by a single faculty member in partnership with leaders from the aerospace, automotive design, or entertainment industries. The idea was to embrace cutting-edge technologies and engage architecture’s changing profession in productive and inventive ways.
Teaming with companies such as Toyota and Disney, A.UD gradually ramped up the program, offering just one of these immersive studios annually. But now, beginning in the 2013-14 academic year, the program will expand to three simultaneous Suprastudios, each with 15 students, at an off-campus satellite location. The last half-decade “provided UCLA with a testing ground for the Suprastudio,” says A.UD chair Hitoshi Abe, confirming “the demand and need” for such cross-disciplinary research.