May 26, 2024

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Academy of Art University School of Architecture Students Make Headlines in Premier Industry Magazine

The School of Architecture at Academy of Art University prides itself on being a “progressive design laboratory,” making the production of designs that incorporate innovative form with function a regular occurrence. Students are encouraged to bring novel ideas to life throughout their coursework, with most efforts culminating in thesis projects that demonstrate mastery of essential skills in the context of cutting-edge concepts.

This architectural design excellence was highlighted in a recent feature by Dezeen, a premier architecture, interiors, and design magazine. Student concepts selected for the publication illustrated how their time at Academy of Art University, paired with instruction from practitioner faculty and industry leaders, positioned them for success even before graduating.

Academy of Art University Students Make Headlines in Dezeen Showcase

A total of ten bachelor’s and master’s level projects by Academy of Art University students were selected for the recent Dezeen showcase article. Each student feature included original art designs and a detailed summary to contextualize their architectural concept. Stunningly, most student projects addressed more than design elements. Environmental, social, economic, and technological factors are also highlighted through architectural decision making and narratives.

This reflects Academy of Art University’s mission to cultivate connections between designs and the people who will use them. Faculty encourage students to grasp and manipulate technical requirements to facilitate artistic vision. Technology spurs art, rather than restricting it.

One featured student project that embodies this combination is the Outer Mission Ramp Library, designed by Yi Hsien Rachel Wang. Wang shared, “The main conceptual idea is to design the library as a continuous ramp, connecting diverse areas in the local city fabric.” The library’s design incorporates the landscape while functioning as a physical bridge between geographical areas that can improve access to both information and locations.

Embracing Architecture for the Urban Landscape at Academy of Art University

Hands-on learning and practical, real-world applications take center stage in all Academy of Art University programs, and the School of Architecture is no exception. Practicing architects lead classroom lectures and interactive workshopping that give students a flavor for the needs and culture found in today’s in-demand architectural jobs. This puts the focus not just on technology, which becomes increasingly crucial as an architectural tool and design component, but also today’s active communities.

Against the backdrop of San Francisco, where Academy of Art University is headquartered, students are encouraged to work with existing structures and landscapes when designing, rather than envisioning from a clean slate. Travel plays a role in learning, whether a quick jaunt down to the city’s piers or global excursions to take in alternative urban constructions. Through these real-world observations, students gain immersive inspiration for incorporating urban components into their work.

Dezeen’s showcase of Academy of Art University student Valeryia Haletskaya exemplifies this approach. Her reimagining of the Pier 28, which lies in the shadow of the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge, makes dual use of the real estate. Halestskaya proposed a hybrid aquarium and research center designed to leverage technological advances in self-sustaining artificial organisms. The result would be a complex that provides jobs, creates educational space, and naturally works against climate change with architectural interventions.

Developing an Architectural Portfolio Worthy of Publication

As the Dezeen article demonstrates, Academy of Art University students come to the close of their degree programs armed with robust portfolio work. These achievements mark the end of an academic journey that is just the start of a chosen career path. But not all students start their experience at the Academy with a collection of works. Students are accepted regardless of their experience level and arrive motivated to build one under the tutelage of industry experts.

Portfolio project work is not limited to master’s degree programs either. Students enrolled in a bachelor’s program have ample opportunities to create their own designs as well as work in teams to produce larger-scale projects. Dezeen’s showcase included several examples of undergraduate undertakings, including a Unity Pavilion designed for a cooperative housing complex. Students worked together and with community leaders and volunteers to create a design that met functional needs of residents who lacked outdoor spaces to encourage use of the community garden.

Academy of Art University’s Open Admissions Policy opens opportunity to students from all walks of life to learn and enact real change in a student’s chosen field. This starts in the classroom and carries on throughout workshops and group projects well before graduation. Not only do students learn to design, they can also see their work come to life. In the case of the Unity Pavilion, students tested prototypes before full-scale construction on the structure at Northridge Cooperative Housing rose up in the community garden in just one example of a truly hands-on learning experience.

Pursuing a Dream Career in Architecture at Academy of Art University

Students with innate talent are welcome to apply to Academy of Art University and share their career goals even if they have no prior experience in the field. Academy faculty are dedicated to equipping students with essential knowledge for actionable careers, sharing their own working experiences along the way to help prepare their students. The focus is on student potential and evolution on personal and professional levels.

What a new student may potentially lack in technical skills, they can certainly make up for with real-world inspiration. Academy of Art University faculty help students express their ideas and find the right tools and techniques to bring them to life in impactful designs. Also showcased in the Dezeen article was undergraduate student Kenta Oye, whose thesis used modern design to address a generational urban need. In Oye’s own words: “Urban planning in San Francisco has confined ethnic neighborhoods to inhuman spaces.” In response, he designed a community space rising out of an alleyway representative of those so many in his community had been relegated to.

Oye, along with all Academy of Art University students, brought his own talent, ideas, and drive with him on his academic journey. Courses, including thesis projects overseen by practitioner faculty and tutors, simply provide a present-day framework for these instinctive traits to shine through.

Academy of Art University has a storied history of providing industry-based curriculum learning to artists, designers and creatives. Students can choose from more than 120 accredited degree options, all taught by instructors who are experienced professionals in a course of study. Academy coursework is a hands-on experience that combines a solid foundation of core skills with the freedom for students to express themselves creatively. To learn more the School of Architecture at Academy of Art University, visit