The School of Architecture’s mission is founded in the faculty commitment to community and its focus on the city as a work of art and architecture. The school is a forum for the work of New Urbanism, an international movement with a charter of 27 principles addressing issues ranging from the scale of a region to individual buildings. Those principles form a vision which guides the programs of the UMSA.
Building upon the principles of New Urbanism, faculty and students seek to draw upon the body of knowledge of architecture through a commitment to a fundamental understanding of the history of the profession; traditional building methods, materials, form, and organization; and the nature and context of current practice. Faculty strive to develop student awareness of the present-day profession within the context of a 5,000 year legacy of building; and student ability to call upon that history for practical application.
We affirm the essential need to design environmentally responsible buildings that promote social integration and economic sustainability and support life comfortably without reliance upon extravagant use of land and energy which adversely affect our ecosystems. The faculty and students seek to understand the legacy of building and to make new discoveries in the overlooked work of the past, including the documentation of buildings and landscapes which are modest, vernacular, traditional or vulnerable.
We acknowledge our responsibility to contribute to the world by making it more beautiful and to reveal beauty in its most humble circumstances. We recognize and demonstrate through the curriculum that almost all of the buildings architects design are fabric buildings – making the walls of the outdoor rooms of community in our neighborhoods, districts, towns, and cities – and that the instances of monuments are rare and special opportunities to speak for and about culture. Furthermore, we affirm our responsibility shared with allied professions for the design of the plazas, parks, thoroughfares, bridges and roadways that link the community.
Sharing with our national colleagues the goal to build a better professional community, the School of Architecture itself seeks to be a model of that community. The basic model of the school as a family recognizes that students may be new to architecture but experienced in other areas, with individual character, insight, and the ability to make significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge. To extend this understanding to a larger world, we dedicate ourselves, through a clear engagement of principles of history, structure, material, and form in design, to participate practically and empathetically in the life of other cultures, religions, ethnicity, and life experiences, so that we might emerge with the knowledge, and later, the wisdom we need to build a better world.