The graduate Vertical Studios occur at the beginning of the Master of Architecture, First Professional degree program and are “vertical” in the sense that they include students with varying backgrounds and levels of experience in architecture. They were established with these principles: 

  • Each graduate student is responsible for the progress of his or her own education. 

  • The School is responsible for providing the essential opportunities, curricular structures, faculty, and informational resources for each 

  • graduate student to fulfill the above. 

  • A variety of types and areas of knowledge is helpful to the study of architecture. 

  • Recognizing that entering graduate students are adept at solving problems and tracking goals, vertical studios frequently ask open questions, present genuine dilemmas, and address relevant issues in architecture, broadly conceived, as well as transmit professional knowledge and skills. 

  • Skills develop best when they are integral to design activity. 

In lieu of a specific skills-based or project-coordinated course sequence, then, the School rotates a varied group of design faculty through the Vertical Studios to maximize the potential for each student to construct a course of study that will best contribute to their own overall design education. It expects that each student will choose Vertical Studios that, together, will build a comprehensive base from which they can continue to develop as designers and architects. The Vertical Studio portfolio review, which happens at the end of the next-to-last vertical studio, is meant to see if in fact this base is being well formed. The Four Streams model is offered to help both faculty and students build that base in a comprehensive and  balanced manner through the sequence. 
 
The School has expectations about the general character, content, and quality of each graduate student’s early education as it reflected each semester and at portfolio review. The School expects that each student will demonstrate: 

  • A growing ability to study and manipulate spatial and material form (Stream One: Ordering Systems). 

  • A growing understanding of the ways that construction techniques and materials contribute to, limit, and enable their designs (Stream Two: Construction). 

  • Respect for the resources their designs would expend and for the health and character of the places in which they would build (Streams Two and Four: Human Factors and Context). 

  • A growing knowledge of and sensitivity to the ways in which people will actually perceive, inhabit, use, and enjoy their designs (Stream Two: Human Factors). 

  • A growing ability to organize their own time and effort, and when required, that of others. 

  • Developing skills in externalizing their ideas, verbally and visually, for the purpose of self-critique as well as to communicate with/to others.