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Architecture program retains top ranking

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Joe Schwartz

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Professor of Landscape Architecture Marvin Adleman is shown in the lab with students. The graduate program in landscape architecture is among four high-ranked Cornell degree programs in architecture and design this year.

Four Cornell architecture and design degree programs have been ranked in the Top 5 in "America's Best Architecture and Design Schools 2013," published Nov. 1 by DesignIntelligence (DI).

The undergraduate architecture program in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning (AAP) was ranked No. 1 in the survey, conducted at midyear with the participation of professional practitioners, academic leaders and students. Graduate degree programs in landscape architecture (No. 3), interior design (No. 4) and architecture (M.Arch.I, No. 5) also were cited.

This is the fifth consecutive year that Cornell's undergraduate architecture program has received the top ranking in the DesignIntelligence report, and the first time the M.Arch.I professional degree program (initially accredited in 2009) has been in the Top 5.


A survey of the most admired undergraduate programs among 133 architecture deans and department heads also placed Cornell at No. 1 "for its strong curriculum and outstanding students and faculty." In a comparable survey of 122 interior design deans and department heads, Cornell's interior design program was cited "for the high quality of research and graduates."

In student surveys, 85 percent of participating graduate and undergraduate Cornell architecture students rated their program's overall quality as excellent, while 79 percent of Cornell landscape architecture students surveyed rated their program as excellent. Interior design students were not surveyed.

Caroline O'Donnell, the Richard Meier Professor of Architecture at Cornell, made the DesignIntelligence list of the 30 Most Admired Educators, compiled by DI staff with input from thousands of design professionals, academic department heads and students.

"O'Donnell brings intelligence and is willing to challenge conventions," the citation states. "She organizes her teaching and studios carefully, guiding students' individual style and raising the bar of projects. She is a person who demonstrates continuous improvement and daily shows how professionals can grow and have more influence."

Each year, DesignIntelligence ranks the top 20 architecture, interior design, industrial design and landscape architecture programs.

"We try not to focus on specific rankings, but it is conspicuous that so many of our design programs are ranked among the very best in the country," AAP Dean Kent Kleinman said. "Design at Cornell is shaped by being in a research university rather than in an art or design academy. With unparalleled access to world-class faculty in the design arts and well beyond, Cornell's design programs are increasingly relevant as they address the complex cultural, ecological and technological problems facing global urban societies."


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