Letter from the Dean

Dean Amale Andraos portrait
Dean Amale Andraos

At Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP), the only constant is change. As a leader shaping the fields of architecture and the built environment, the school combines pioneering experimentation with an uncompromising engagement with the world. Located in one of the most vibrant global cities, Columbia GSAPP is a laboratory for learning that weaves together cutting edge design skills, incisive critical thinking and new forms of knowledge as students and faculty engage one another in a spirit of intellectual generosity that strives to re-imagine the future of architecture, cities and the environment.

Columbia GSAPP fosters the development of new forms of design research and scholarship to open up new territories for more meaningful practices of architecture and the design of cities. In this moment of convergence, the school draws together the geographical question of “where” with the temporal question of “when,” making visible the processes of rapid urbanization in a time of climate change. We bring these questions of context to bear upon the thinking and design of everything: from the scale of a brick to that of a city, and from the design of new forms of practice to that of collaboration and exchange between the expanded disciplines at the school. This approach is reflected in the constant re-invention of the school’s own environment as an experimental space for creative thinking and design, meeting and making in a lively, highly urban and energized collegial learning experience.

Columbia GSAPP’s engagement in New York and in various cities across the world offers students an unparalleled spatial network of resources and exchange. In New York, the school’s longtime commitment to the city’s endlessly vibrant and condensed life happens through its intense programing of events and exhibitions as well as its publications, making Columbia GSAPP an integral part of the city’s vibrant intellectual and artistic life. This year, the school is engaging the technology industry through its incubator space at the New Museum in Lower Manhattan. On campus, Faculty-led Centers and Labs connect with other schools and institutes to create a new context for understanding architecture and the future of cities, the environment, and technology. Our global network of Studio-X locations offers a generous infrastructure through which to imagine new pedagogical models, with students engaging these sites through numerous travel opportunities throughout their time at the school, in an effort to undermine notions of center-periphery and promote relational thinking as discourse and in practice.

Columbia GSAPP is best described as a coming together of the most outstanding and diverse faculty – whose expertise ranges from pure scholarship to pure practice with many hybrid models in between – and an equally creative and dynamic student group. Our students embody endless curiosity, talent, incurable optimism, and a sense of entrepreneurship, rendering them leaders in the field as they continue to strive to change the world’s built and un-built environments and re-imagine what architecture’s place within it might be.