As interest in an architecture program increases, several Trinity students and faculty are in the early stages of planning a potential major for the discipline. The idea for this new program stemmed from the interest that was given to architecture-related courses in the art and art history department.
Cole Murray, a senior urban studies and political science double major, is one of the students who has been involved heavily in this initiative.
“I’ve been talking to Dr. O’Rourke, who is the architectural historian in the art history department,” Murray said. “We talked about this a little bit more a couple years ago “” it’s so busy starting a new major, especially like architecture.”
Although students and faculty have been discussing the project for a while, the process has been obstructed by concerns of space and money. A renewed interest in the history of Trinity’s architecture has sparked the push to create this new major.
“There’s a lot of infrastructure needed, like studios and a lot of space and money. We hadn’t really pursued it, but given the new interest in the campus’ architecture, especially with the this national historic designation and some of the shifts in the curriculum, and the school’s desire to expand, we thought it’s a good idea at this point. There’s nothing concrete yet and we need to find the people to do the major,” Murray said.
A survey of the student body was recently conducted to see how many students would be interested in a potential architecture major.
“We sent out this survey just to gauge the interest, and so far, the response has been fantastic “” better than we anticipated,” Murray said. “Fifteen people said that they would be very interested in majoring in architecture if they had the opportunity. A lot of majors don’t have many people to start with, so I think seeing that response is kind of encouraging, along with this new interest in the campus’ architecture. There’s been a long-term interest in it, but the historic designation and master plan has revitalized some of the interest.”
There are currently architectural history classes at Trinity, but many students aren’t aware of these opportunities. Murray hopes that a new major will shine light on the other architecture-related courses Trinity offers.
“A lot of this is exposure,” Murray said. “One of the other things we found out is that very few people know that there’s any sort of architecture presence at all. Getting exposure and getting more people interested, especially in these architectural history classes, may allow for the art history department to take it on as a major. This would be a BA in architecture as opposed to a Bachelors, which is a technical degree that allows you to practice and also go to graduate school for a shorter period of time. A BA in architecture would be more of an art historical perspective, also with studio classes.”
Elizabeth Ward, chair of the art and art history department at Trinity, has played a fundamental role in the conversation around an architecture program at Trinity. She explained that this idea is still in its beginning stages.
“Architectural history has been a focus and strength of the art history program for many years,” Ward wrote in an email interview. “The more recent discussions about creating a major emerged several years ago and are still in the discussion stage.”
Kathryn O’Rourke, associate professor of art and art history, has also been involved in developing ideas for a potential architecture major.
“Some of the courses I teach focus on architectural history,” O’Rourke wrote in an email interview. “These might be included in the major. I’ve advised students interested in pursuing graduate work in architecture and related fields and would likely continue to do so.”
O’Rourke believes that an architecture major at Trinity would benefit students for a multitude of reasons.
“The study of architecture is inherently interdisciplinary,” O’Rourke wrote. “It develops capacities for critical thinking and analysis, effective communication “” written, visual and oral “” and historical understanding that are at the core of a liberal arts education. There seems to be some interest in architecture among Trinity students and a major could provide a useful path toward graduate work in architecture and related fields.”
Students interested in pursuing architecture at Trinity and making this program possible can express their interest to Elizabeth Ward, chair of Trinity’s art and art history department.