For the first time in its history, Indiana University’s School of Art, Architecture + Design will offer an M.Arch degree out of its Columbus campus. Dean Peg Faimon’s Monday announcement felt like an inevitable step for the small Midwestern town, which, for decades has taken pride in its built environment and is recently gaining national attention.
The reputation of Columbus, Indiana, as a “mecca of architecture” began officially in 1954 when the town’s successful industrialist J. Irwin Miller established a foundation to bring the work of prominent Modernist architects—including Eliel and Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Robert A.M. Stern, James Stewart, and Myron Goldsmith, to name a few—to the city. Miller’s legacy continues today with recent projects such as Deborah Berke Partners’ 2006 Irwin Union Bank and will now include a cohort of homegrown talent.
The program will be directed by artist and architect T. Kelly Wilson, a longtime faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and current director of the School of Art, Architecture + Design at IU’s Columbus campus.
“The IU Master’s program in architecture holds, at its core, the idea that cross-pollination between art and design is central to extraordinary creativity and inventive thinking,” said Wilson in a release. His curriculum promises to include travel as part of its coursework and will incorporate close collaboration with industry partners, including technology manufacturer Cummins Inc.— the present-day iteration of Miller’s engine company.
News of the M.Arch program came days after the launch of Columbus’ annual architecture and art exhibition and weeks after the release of the independent film, Columbus, which is set in the city and portrayed a town “haunted by the promise of Modernism,” as director Kogonada told RECORD.
“Our hope is to educate a new crop of architects who think as broadly and creatively as possible about solving the challenges of their generation,” Faimon said.
Aspiring architects, urbanists, and artists, take note: applications for the program’s inaugural semester are due in January 2018.