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Guide to the Parsons School of Design MA Architecture and Design Criticism program theses, 1987-1995

Collection Overview

Repository

Parsons Institutional Collections

Collection Identifier

PC.02.04.01

Creator

Parsons School of Design. Environmental Design Department.

Title

Parsons School of Design MA Architecture and Design Criticism program theses, 1987-1995

Extent

0.8 linear ft: 2 boxes (11 theses)

Language of Materials

English

Summary

The Master of the Arts in Liberal Arts: Architecture and Design Criticism graduate program began in 1986 and graduated its last student in 1997. The program was jointly administered by Parsons School of Design, where it fell within the Environmental Design program (now the School of Constructed Environments), and the New School for Social Research’s Graduate Faculty. The collection contains eleven theses written by students who graduated from the program between 1987 and 1995.

Preferred Citation note

[Author and title of thesis], [date (if known)], Parsons School of Design MA Architecture and Design Criticism program theses, 1987-1995, PC.02.04, box __, folder __, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

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Historical Note

The Master of Arts in Liberal Arts: Architecture and Design Criticism graduate program was jointly administered by Parsons School of Design, where it fell within the Environmental Design department (now the School of Constructed Environments), and the New School for Social Research’s Graduate Faculty. The program’s first year was the 1986-87 academic year and it graduated its last student in 1997. The program was hailed as the first in the nation dedicated to architecture and design criticism.

The idea for a graduate program in Architecture and Design Criticism originated with Parsons faculty members Herbert Muschamp and Patricia Phillips and was implemented under the leadership of James Wines, chairman of the Environmental Design program. Planning for Architecture and Design Criticism began in 1984 and the first class of students began in September of 1986. Initial proposals for an Architecture and Design Criticism program stated that, “The idea for the program stems from a recognition of the tremendous growth in public interest in architecture and design…Given the new information the public seeks over a wide range of subjects that involve architecture and design, there is a need for accomplished critics in these fields who write for a wide range of publications and who can evaluate the state of our knowledge, encourage the values that define good work and sustain high standards. In recent years, such accomplished critics have been in short supply.” [1]

The MA Architecture and Design Criticism curriculum was 36 credit hours and emphasized writing. The curriculum culminated in a thesis of approximately 60 pages, which would “demonstrate the student’s ability to conduct original research, develop an argument and synthesize the diverse information and knowledge required to complete a thesis.” [2] The program’s curriculum was intended to draw on the strengths of both The New School and Parsons. Existing courses in The New School’s Graduate Faculty with an interdisciplinary approach to aesthetics, literary criticism, art history, and historical studies were available as electives to students in the Architecture and Design Criticism Program. Likewise, students were encouraged to learn from Parsons’ practical approach to art and design by interacting with their peers in the Environmental Design program. This engagement coupled with interdisciplinary coursework was intended to give students an understanding of contemporary design processes from historical, political, economic, and social perspectives.

Original plans for the Architecture and Design Criticism program envisioned a class of 20-25 students per year, but it appears the program only graduated six students at its height in 1993. The program was geared towards aspiring journalists focused on architecture and design criticism.

Herbert Muschamp, who was the New York Times architecture critic from 1992-2004, served as the first program chair through the 1992-3 academic year. In 1993-4 Jayne Merkel took over as acting chair, and then served as chair for the following year. Patricia C. Phillips was the program coordinator in the early years of the program. Other faculty members included Jane Aaron, Donald Albrecht, Glynis Berry, Georgia Daskalakis, Peggy Deamer, Deborah Fausch, Deborah Gans, Jean Gardner, Tom Killian, Peter McCleary, Clay Miller, Patricia C. Phillips, Mildred Schmertz, and Grahame Shane.

[1] Letter to the Provost from Judith B. Walzer, December 9, 1985, New School Office of the President Records, 2015.NS.05, unprocessed collection, New School Archives, The New School, New York, New York.

[2] Parsons the New School for Design. Parsons School of Design, Graduate Studies 1994-1995 Vol. 12 No. 1. 30 Sept 1994. Parsons School of Design course catalog collection. New School Archives and Special Collections Digital Archive. Web. 31 May 2018.

More...

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Scope and Content of Collection

Collection consists entirely of theses submitted as part of graduation requirements.

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Organization and Arrangement

Arranged chronologically by submission date on thesis title page.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Parsons Institutional Collections - June 18, 2018

66 5th Avenue
lobby
New York, New York
212.229.5942
archivist@newschool.edu

Preferred Citation note

[Author and title of thesis], [date (if known)], Parsons School of Design MA Architecture and Design Criticism program theses, 1987-1995, PC.02.04, box __, folder __, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use. Please contact archivist@newschool.edu for appointment.

Use Restrictions

In accordance with The New School's Intellectual Property Rights Policy, copyright is held by the author of each thesis. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the user.

Custodial History note

These theses may have once been cataloged and placed "on reserve" in the Adam and Sophie Gimbel Art and Design Library of Parsons School of Design.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from the Adam and Sophie Gimbel Art and Design Library of Parsons School of Design, 2009.

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Keywords for Searching Related Subjects

Genre(s)

  • Masters theses.

Subject(s)

  • Architecture -- Environmental aspects.
  • Architecture -- Study and teaching -- New York (State) -- New York -- 20th century.
  • Architecture.
  • Decoration and ornament, Architectural -- United States -- 20th century.
  • Design -- History -- 20th century.

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder
Aaron, Jane E. "Parabuildings: Crossing Lines," 1987 Aug 30 
1 1
LaFrank, Kathleen. "Seaside: Postmodern Utopia," 1991 May 
1 2
Walsh, Brigid. "The Oregon Experiment Revisited: Christopher Alexander," 1992 May 8 
1 3
Rosen, Aileen. "Printed Places: A Journal of Environmental Design in Context," 1993 Jan 
1 4
Smith, Margaret Jackson. "Hospital Hotel: The Post-Modern Milstein Building," 1993 Jan 
1 5
Waters, Debra. "Laying the Foundation for the Future: The Architecture of Public Schools in the South Bronx," 1993 May 14 
1 6
Harbour, Kimberly. "Communities of Memory: Religious Architecture in America (700 AD - 1993 AD)," 1993 May 
2 1
Harbour, Kimberly. "Communities of Memory: Rediscovering Symbols, Identity, and Community in a New Age," 1993 Oct 
2 2
Mandel, Nancy Brooke. "Planning at the Edge: The Harlem River Rail Yards and Beyond," 1993 Dec 3 
2 3
Boorstein, Jonathan. "Limited Visions: Media Representation of Regional Interior Design Styles," 1994 
2 4
Madrid, Marisa R. "Dislocation by Development: Randall's, Wards and Roosevelt Islands," 1995 May 
2 5

Collection Guide Last Updated: 06/18/2018

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