The Art of Building

Faculty and Students.

The 1920s marked a period of dramatic change under the leadership of Francke Huntington Bosworth, who became dean in 1919. Cornell became the first architecture school to extend its curriculum to five years. Requirements for graduation included a substantial thesis. Although Bosworth had studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, he placed new emphasis on the enclosure of space and on human needs. Under his guidance, Cornell dropped out of the program of the Society of Beaux-Arts Architects in New York and developed its own. Exercises requiring the solution of simple architectural problems replaced traditional exercises. Bosworth believed that " a part, not of construction alone, not of art alone, but of the art of building."

The College established a new Department of Art in 1920, and Landscape Architecture was transferred to Architecture in 1922. The college now offered undergraduate and graduate programs in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Fine Arts. The union of those courses was seen as mutually stimulating and enriching; the collaborative idea was stressed wherever possible. Classes included Theory of Architecture, Design, Theory of Construction, Freehand Drawing and Art Work, History, Graphics, and Applied Construction. Students were encouraged to pursue cultural study as well, and the faculty introduced the concept of electives so that students could take courses in Cornell’s other colleges.

Bosworth was succeeded as Dean in 1927 by George Young, Jr. Young encouraged independence and innovation, and built a staff with diverse ideas on architecture. In 1934 the Colleges of Engineering and Architecture jointly began to provide instruction in Regional and City Planning. The College of Architecture now had eighteen teachers and about 170 students. The strength of the program continued to grow, and by 1940 Cornell had placed twelve winners in the seventeen competitions for the Prix de Rome fellowship.

Student Work.

White Hall.

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