Featured Major: Architecture

This month’s featured major comes from the School of Architecture, where students learn to design buildings and spaces of relevance and beauty.
Architecture students working the in Murphy Design Building.
Students working in the Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio Building.

Q&A with Khalil Bland

Did you know that you wanted to study architecture before you got to UM? If not, how did you discover it? 

I came to the University of Miami as an engineering major and switched shortly within my first year. I had friends in the School of Architecture who helped direct me and connect me with advisors. 

Why did you choose this major? 

Architecture gives me the freedom to be creative. It is an art that works with science to create places and buildings where people can live, interact, work, and play. There are a lot of opportunities to showcase creativity and art while designing structures. 

What has been your favorite class so far? 

In my second semester, I took Visual Representation II. I had a lot of fun building shapes and developing my own structure from other geometric patterns. 

What is it about this major that is exciting to you? 

The basic principles of architecture are everywhere you look—your house and school, the chair you sit in, and the shoes you wear. Everything was designed with a purpose, with a specific problem in mind to solve. And there is no definite answer on how to design or make a structure. I can explore all the techniques taught in my classes and implement them in a way that is totally unique. That is truly exciting. 

What are you planning to do once you have completed your studies?

I see a lot of paths for my future! Getting a master’s in architecture is an option. I would also love to get involved in something like set design for movies, designing immersive retail experiences, or community development. All completely different things, I know, but I’ll be taking the next two years to figure out exactly what I want to do.

Q&A with Andrey Nash

Why did you choose architecture as a major? 

From a young age, I have had a passion for residential design. Designing and building homes is a complex process that connects to city building, sustainability, and community resiliency. I wanted an education that would allow me to build an interdisciplinary understanding of the field.  

Did you know that you wanted to study this before you got to UM? If not, how did you discover it? 

I took architecture classes in high school and apprenticed for an architect in my hometown, so I knew this was something I wanted to pursue. I was lucky that going into my first year I was set on the academic and career path I wanted to follow.  

What has been your favorite class for this major? 

Architectural Photography has to be my favorite class so far. I am taking this elective right now, and even though it doesn’t touch on topics like architectural design and building methods, there is a rigid standard of work expected; I’ve picked up a lot of professional skills. 

What is it about this major that is exciting to you? 

I have been exposed to so many fields of architecture: sustainable housing design, using methods of modular construction, urban design, building in subtropical climate zones, and more. Even though my focus is residential design, there is an endless number of topics to explore. 

What are you planning to do once you have completed your studies? 

Since coming to the University of Miami, my family has relocated to New York City. A lot of traditional residential architecture firms that recruit students from the University are based in Manhattan, so after I graduate, I hope to work at one of these firms, gain experience hours, and finish a series of exams to become a licensed architect.

Q&A with Professor Carie Penabad.

What will students be learning with an architecture major? 

They will learn to design buildings and spaces of relevance and beauty.

What makes this major unique?  

In a world of hyper-specialization, architecture remains a generalist discipline. The major teaches you to think broadly and holistically about the built environment and prepares you to make meaningful contributions to the building of future cities.

What are the key characteristics you look for in a student?

Curiosity, enthusiasm, and a positive mindset.

What kind of hands-on learning can you do with this major?

UM offers a variety of hands-on learning experiences from the physical production of drawings and models in the studio to on-site travel programs and internships that immerse you in the world of architecture and its related fields.

What are the career opportunities for this major?

An architectural education immerses you in complex design challenges that require skill, innovation, and the ability to work collaboratively. These skills can be applied in a variety of careers, including architect, furniture designer, urban designer, real estate developer, entrepreneur, contractor, and product designer, just to name a few.

What is it about this major that excites you as a teacher?

As architects, we imagine a world before it exists, and we set those ideas into motion through drawings and models. I have seen firsthand how good architecture and city-making can help transform the lives of many. To be able to do this both in the classroom and in my practice is a privilege that continues to excite and challenge me each day.

Learn more about the opportunities offered at the School of Architecture.