Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

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A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
at the University of Michigan
Art & Architecture Building University of Michigan Ann Arbor Michigan.JPG
Type Public
Established 1906
Parent institution
University of Michigan
Endowment $75 million (2007)[1]
Dean Dr. Robert Fishman, Interim
Administration Milton S.F. Curry, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Strategic Initiatives as well as Director of Post-Professional Degrees
Geoffrey Thün, Associate Dean for Research
Sharon Haar, Chair, Architecture
Richard Norton, Chair, Planning
Academic staff
Students 607 Total
215 B.S.Arch, 205 M.Arch, 125 M.U.P., 15 M.U.D., 6 M.Sc, 41 PhD
Location Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.
Campus Suburban
Website http://www.taubmancollege.umich.edu/

The A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning (also Taubman College) is an undergraduate and graduate institution for the built environment at the University of Michigan.

Formerly known as the College of Architecture and Urban Planning, the college was named after real estate developer and philanthropist A. Alfred Taubman when he donated $30 million to the college in May 1999. The gift was one of the largest in the history of the University of Michigan and the largest ever to a school of architecture.

In 2011, the college's Master of Architecture program was ranked number 1 by DesignIntelligence.[2]


In 1876, the University of Michigan became one of the first universities in the United States to offer courses in architecture, led by influential Chicago architect William Le Baron Jenney. After thirty years, a degree program within the Department of Engineering was established in 1906, under the direction of Emil Lorch, who served to administer the program and its ever-evolving iterations until 1937. Housed in what is now Lorch Hall on Central Campus, the program quickly grew into the Department of Architecture by 1913. In 1923, world-renowned architect Eliel Saarinen joined the faculty of the department, with which he was associated during his design, construction, and subsequent presidency of the Cranbrook Academy of Art. By 1930, the College of Architecture had been established, and grew to become the College of Architecture and Design in 1939, introducing Landscape Architecture and, by 1948, one of the first Master of City Planning degrees. The 1940s also saw the college taking a progressive role with regards to architectural research, establishing the Architecture Research Laboratory that would pioneer the integration of design, construction, technology, planning and research. In 1965, the Landscape Architecture program moved to the university's School of Natural Resources.

In 1968, the college made history by establishing the first-ever doctoral program in architecture, fueled by a strong level of academic inquiry into the field.

In 1974, many positive changes took place for the college, including the separation of programs into the College of Architecture & Urban Planning and the School of Art & Design. During this same year, the programs outgrew their home on Central Campus and found a new home on North Campus, the Art and Architecture Building, in which both schools remain to this day.

Notable alumni[edit]

Köszönöm, a monument at Taubman College in honor of alumnus Raoul Wallenberg.

Notable current and former faculty[edit]



Taubman College's graduate and undergraduate programs in architecture are consistently among the most highly ranked. In its 2009 edition of "America's Best Architecture & Design Schools", the Design Futures Council journal DesignIntelligence ranked the Master of Architecture program 9th in the nation. For 2011, the program rose to 1st, overtaking the Harvard Graduate School of Design, which had held the spot since DI began ranking M.Arch programs individually in 2004.[2] In this survey, Taubman College's M.Arch program was also rated the 5th most admired by school deans, and fared well in the following skills areas:

  • 1st - Analysis and planning
  • 2nd - Communication
  • 3rd - Computer applications
  • 3rd - Construction methods and materials
  • 3rd - Design
  • 2nd - Research and theory
  • 2nd - Sustainable design practices and principles

The school's dramatic rise was attributed to recent administrative and curriculum changes that have focused on upending a centuries-old pedagogical model still taught at most schools. Changes have included making ancillary coursework more integral to design studio curriculum, and fostering hands-on research and development as permeating the discipline at all levels, from analysis, to design, to communication.[2]

Urban planning and design[edit]

Programs in urban design and urban planning were recently ranked 6th and 11th in the nation, respectively, in Planetizen's 2007 Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs. The urban design program was also recognized by New Urban News as the 4th best program in the nation for new urbanism.[3]

Employment Opportunities[edit]

The College currently runs a program during the University's Spring Break, in which students in the B.S. Arch, M. Arch, M.U.D., and M.U.P. programs are paired with firms both overseas and domestically in the United States. Many of the students who have participated in the program have been invited back to the firm as a potential employee upon the end of the term, and some, after Graduation. The program is highly desired by students, but is only available to students with a cumulative GPA of 3.1 at the end of the Fall Semester.


Taubman College is located on the University of Michigan's North Campus in the Art & Architecture Building (A&AB). This building houses the largest academic studio in the world [1], at 30,000 continuous square feet, for roughly 450 undergraduate and graduate architecture students and graduate urban design students.

In 2007, Taubman College announced plans to spend $13 million to build a 16,000-square-foot (1,500 m2) addition to its building on North Campus. In that year the Board of Regents authorized the hiring of the Seattle-based architectural firm The Miller Hull Partnership. The addition will be built on the roof of the south wing of the existing A&A Building, creating a new face for the college. It will provide additional space to accommodate increased student enrollment and to improve the teaching and learning environment, including expanded faculty offices, more instructional space, a centralized reading room, a green roof, and additional energy-efficient features. [2] In September 2008, the project was put on hold, citing a possible drop in enrollment due to the uncertain job market during the Great Recession, but a $12 million donation by Alfred Taubman in January 2014 started the project to renovate the existing building and add another 30,000 square feet to the existing building off of its Northeast corner, creating a new entrance off of Bonisteel Boulevard which would be exclusive to the Architecture School. The building broke ground in April 2015, a week before Taubman's death. The addition is scheduled to be completed in two years, and is designed by Preston Scott Cohen, in conjunction with Integrated Design Solutions, a local firm, as well as the school's Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Firm (AEC). The new addition is currently under construction, with initial site work and interior partitions in place since late December of 2015.

Many architecture students initiate design-build projects to help improve the appearance of the academic space and quality of life for the student body. Projects designed and built by the students range from tables and chairs, to exhibition space, to classroom renovations, student and faculty lounge renovations, and even the design for a print, copy and supplies store (called the Media Center). Many of the larger-scale projects, such as the award-winning student lounges and the Media Center, are a collaborative effort amongst students, practicing faculty members, and contractors.

In fall 2009, the Taubman College completed a renovation of its Digital Fabrication Laboratory, or FABLab. The two-story space houses 7,000 sq ft (650 m2). of computer-controlled fabrication equipment. The list of machines includes a 30’x10’x8’ 7 axis robotic work cell, two 4’x8’ CNC routers, a 4’x8’ abrasive water jet cutting machine, and a CNC milling machine. These machines give students and faculty the capability to digitally fabricate using any material at full scale. In addition the FABLab operates three rapid prototyping machines, and four laser cutters. A fully outfitted woodworking and welding shop complements the FABLab. http://taubmancollege.umich.edu/fablab/

North Campus is also home to the College of Engineering, the School of Computer Science, the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and the School of Art & Design. Other pertinent facilities on North Campus include the Art, Architecture & Engineering Library, the Digital Media Commons, the Bentley Historical Library the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Maya Lin's Wave Field.

Study abroad[edit]

Students are exposed to significant travel opportunities throughout their time at Taubman College, M.Arch students are offered a program in Florence, which takes place in the fall semester of the final year, to which about 15 students attend. The program is administered by the University of Michigan, however students from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Duke University also participate, residing in the historic Villa Corsi-Salviati outside the city. In addition, summer studios have recently been offered by faculty members to Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Ghana, Guatemala, Iceland, India, Italy, Japan, and Switzerland.

In 2005, partners Robert Mangurian (SCI-Arc faculty) and Mary Ann Ray (Taubman College + SCI-Arc faculty) established a permanent study outlet in Beijing, called the Beijing Architectural Studio Enterprise (B.A.S.E.), to which Taubman College and SCI-Arc students frequent during the spring and summer months. Located in the northeast, along the 5th Ring Road in the emerging arts district of Caochangdi Village (adjacent to the well-known Dashanzi Art District), B.A.S.E. is an independent institution which is supported by a network of institutions and individuals in China and the United States, and offers academic opportunities for international and local architecture enthusiasts alike.

Fellowships and visiting professorships[edit]

Taubman College offers a variety of faculty fellowships and visiting professorships. These opportunities have brought some of the smartest young minds together with some of most renowned individuals of the academy and practice of architecture. The visiting professorships are endowed in the name of Eliel Saarinen, Charles Moore, Max Fisher, and Colin Clipson, and have attracted the following notable individuals:

Lectures, publications and events[edit]

The Michigan Architecture Papers are published by the College at least once per year and have documented the lectures of acclaimed individuals such as Rafael Moneo, Diller + Scofidio, Mack Scogin & Merril Elam, Todd Williams & Billie Tsien, Kenneth Frampton, TEN Arquitectos, Michael Sorkin, Rafael Viñoly, Vincent Scully and Daniel Libeskind.

The Dimensions series is a student-designed and produced journal of student and faculty work, including M.Arch theses as well as submissions by and profiles of practicing architects.

The college celebrated its centennial in 2006-2007, with a variety of local, national and international events to both celebrate and reflect on the history of the school, as well as posit new trajectories for the future. Some of the many events included:

  • << PAUSE >> - as the first of two centennial conferences, held from November 2–4, 2006, << PAUSE >> was an introspective on the research, thoughts and works of the faculty at Taubman College. Moderated by several distinguished colleagues from outside the college, this conference was the college's rigorous attempt to establish its present identity and develop a more cohesive, inclusive dialogue between faculty for the benefit of the students.
  • Global Place: Practice, Politics and the Polis - was the college's second, and much larger, centennial conference, held from January 4–6, 2007, and addressed intersections and contradictions of the global and the local, with focus on the built environment. Prominent architects, artists and scholars spoke to both Taubman College and the world, including sociologist and economist Saskia Sassen, postcolonial theorist Homi K. Bhabha, and architects Charles Correa (ARCH: B.Arch. 1953); and Michael Sorkin.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°16′58″N 83°44′5″W / 42.28278°N 83.73472°W / 42.28278; -83.73472