Art & Art History

Architecture & Design Program

Architecture and Design at Southwestern is a whole-brained endeavor: active, intellectual, and physical… the essence of a liberal arts education.

Students can earn a Minor in Architecture & Design. A small program with a broad reach, it has regularly sent alumni to top schools. It exposes students to high-quality technical, historical, and experiential learning, all framed by the perspective of a broader liberal arts education.

Most students in the architecture studies minor go on to three-year Master of Architecture programs in architecture or design, but others have gone into contract archaeology, their own furniture design business, construction, display design, community development, art history, etc. Any number of majors can complement a minor in architectural studies which gives our students the flexibility to meet the ever-changing career opportunities of a global community.

Why Minor?

The Architecture and Design Studies program is a “pre-architecture” minor which allows students to explore different design professions and to prepare strong portfolios and acquire studio skills and historical background for graduate school applications.

A liberal arts background normally gives professional architects much greater depth and flexibility throughout their entire careers in solving the daily challenges of the design professions. In architecture, students will normally apply to three and a half year First Degree Master of Architecture programs and have often been given some advance standing based on credit for courses at Southwestern.

Alumni have also gone to graduate programs in  landscape architecture, urban planning, interior design, industrial design, building contracting, engineering and into private design consulting firms, and have been admitted to such graduate schools as Harvard, Yale, University of Texas, UCLA, Clemson, Texas A & M, and Rhode Island School of Design.

 Alumni Showcase

In November 2007, the Sarofim School of Fine Arts’ Gallery presented work of Southwestern alumni who had been through the architecture and design program and who had all graduated around 1995-99. That is, they had been out of Southwestern only about ten years, and architecture school only about five or six years.       

Julien Meyrat, SU ’98, now with RTKL architects, Dallas, at the alumni design exhibit, Nov. 2007.                                  

These students majored in a variety of liberal arts disciplines (Pre-Med, French, philosophy, art) and by their early thirties were finding themselves as either independent registered architects (Amy Robbins Dempsey, design-build architect, Austin), or lead projects designers of large firms (Julien Meyrat, RTKL Architects, Dallas), of nationally well-know “regional” architects (Scott Adam, Overland Partners, San Antonio) or unlicensed designed leaders in large firms, returning to architecture school (Michal Golinski, RD Davis Architects).

All were very excited to be working as architects, despite the considerable difficulties and stress of the profession (the term “architorture” was apparently coined by Prof. Howe during this cohort of students)…all expressed gratitude of getting to work in a profession where no two days are ever the same.

All said that the most challenging aspect of their profession was dealing with the passions of people, and the thing which best prepared them for the daily rigors of interaction, and which allowed them to advance relatively rapidly to leadership positions was their broad liberal arts education.

Scott Adams, SU ’97, now with Overland Partners, San Antonio

Libby Schrum, ’00. Furniture Designer

Philip Henry, ’89. Studied temple carpentry in Japan, currently building timber frame buildings in Vermont.

Art & Art History

  • Contact

    Chair of Art History
    Thomas Howe, Ph.D.
    Professor of Art History

    Chair of Studio Art
    Victoria Star Varner, MFA
    Professor of Art

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