Architectural Studies

At the core of Hobart and William Smith's liberal arts pre-professional program in Architectural Studies is a belief in the value of design as an iterative process and the importance of developing a critical eye on the art, architecture, landscapes, and cities of our time. Architecture is in a progressive and expanding state; those trained in the design process are involved in solving some of the most pressing problems of the twenty-first century. Visual thinkers, makers and dreamers, we embrace creativity and innovation in our studios and socio-critical analysis in our history and theory courses. The architectural studies major prepares graduates to enter a number of different fields in design, including 103 architecture, landscape architecture, product design, urban design, interior design, and historic preservation.

Student Resources

Student Profile: Abbey Frederick '20

Abbey Frederick '20

Major: Architectural Studies Major, English, Urban Studies and Writing Colleagues Triple Minor

“As a research intern, I worked with Associate Professor Kirin Makker on a project which refashions Eero Saarinen’s 1946 Womb Chair through the lens of women’s health activism. I explored how oppressive structures of power are implicated in design, gained skills in textile art and gallery curation and presented at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The experience broadened my understanding of how design shapes the cultural and physical landscape in which we live.”

Meet Our Faculty

The Arts and Architecture Department’s mission is to provide students with the skills necessary to understand the complexity of the architectural world. Scroll below to meet our team of scientists, scholars and above all, teachers. Meet the entire department >

Architecture News

100 Watercolors of Berlin

Tue, 03 Dec 2019

Photo by Gianna Gonzalez '20As a Blocker Fellowship recipient, Abbey Frederick ’20 studied abroad in Berlin, Germany during the spring of 2019 and conducted a cultural studies project on urban space through watercolor paintings…

Nine Faculty Members Discuss Their Scholarship

Fri, 25 Oct 2019

D'AngeloWe asked faculty who received tenure this year to answer the question: What has been the idea you’ve spent your career investigating or exploring, and why? Here are their responses.…

“Clothing Hacks” Project Promotes Craftivism

Wed, 09 Oct 2019

Kirin Makker, 
Ainsley Rhodes '19 (blond)
Grace Hammett '20 (brown)
Ethan Leon '19
Students are working with Associate Professor Makker (American Studies) on 
 producing a booklet of clothing hacks aimed at increasing agency in our garments (fit, personalization, functional needs).Renovating and reusing—or “hacking”—clothing items rather than discarding them, is the guiding principle for a booklet created this summer by Associate Professor of Architecture and Urbanism in American Studies Kirin…

Spotlight: Recent Grad

Recent Grad

Matthew Mead '13

Current Position: Founder, Hempitecture

Current Location: Ketchum, Idaho

Majors: Architecture

View Full Profile

Sample Courses

Architecture students pursue a rigorous multi-disciplinary, holistic approach to design education embracing a liberal arts philosophy, based on the belief that roundly educated individuals make the best architects. Below you will find a sampling of the architecture curriculum.

Class Complete Course List

Introduction to Architectural Studies
An introduction to architecture and design culture, this course introduces students to the aims, methods, and issues of the design and planning disciplines with architecture at the core of our studies. This course also encourages students to think, look, and read critically about designed objects, places, and spaces through drawing, although no prior experience with sketching is expected. With these tools, the student will have a basic understanding of design, and will be prepared to undertake more specialized study. The course will vary between giving students a survey of world architectural history and/or providing them with an awareness of issues facing designers at the dawn of the twenty-first century including sustainability, social responsibility, and the democratization of design.

Related Programs

To complement the arts curriculum, students enrolled in the Architectural Studies Major often choose to pursue courses in aesthetics, sustainable community development and urban studies programs, among many others.


The aesthetics program seeks to help students gain insight into the nature and importance of artistic expression, the role of criticism in the arts, and the place of the arts in society.

Sustainable Community Development

Sustainable Community Development (SCD) is an interdisciplinary program that integrates curricular and experiential components in architectural studies, economics, environmental studies and sustainability. The program aims to familiarize students with the concept of sustainable development as applied to real world communities.

Urban Studies

Urbanization and globalization are proceeding at an incredible rate. The field of urban studies examines the living environment of most Americans and of a rapidly growing proportion of the world’s population.

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.