Architecture was one of the four original departments at MIT, and it was the first signal that MIT would not be narrowly defined in science and technology. Through recognition of architecture as a liberal discipline, the Department has long contributed to learning in the arts and humanities at MIT. Fall 2018 marks the 150th anniversary of architectural education at MIT.
The Department of Architecture is one of five divisions within the MIT School of Architecture + Planning. The other divisions are: the Department of Urban Studies and Planing, the Media Lab (Program in Media Arts and Sciences); the Program in Art, Culture, and Technology; the Center for Real Estate; and the Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism.
The Department conceives of architecture as a discipline as well as a profession. It is structured in five semi-autonomous discipline groups: Architecture + Urbanism; Building Technology; Computation; History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture and Art; and Art, Culture, and Technology. Each provides an architectural education that is as complex as the field itself, and all five contribute to a mutual enterprise. The department also has specialized graduate programs such as the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture and the SMArchS Program Architecture and Urbanism.
The several disciplines of the Department house a substantial body of research activity. Moreover, the Department’s setting within MIT permits greater depth in such technical areas as computation, new modes of design and production, materials, structure, and energy, as well as in the arts and humanities. The Department is committed to a concern for human values and for finding appropriate roles for architecture in society. It is a place where individual creativity is cultivated and nurtured in a framework of values that are humanistically, socially, and environmentally responsible.